One professor lectured one day on the necessi- 1 tion to great operations only, and to neglect ty of medical students being masters of Greek, all minor matters. Cases which a practibecause Hippocrates was a master of medi- tioner might see once or twice in a lifetime cine, and the next day bade his pupils learn were dwelt upon with a loving fulness, while Arabic, in order that they might read Rha- the smaller ills and hurts, the cure of which zes and Avicenna in the original. There makes up the life of a country surgeon, was no physical or chemical laboratory, no were passed over as unworthy of notice. pbysiological institute, there were none of But it was just the cure of these lesser those truly royal roads to the learning of things that Baer had come so far to learn. physical science, which are now to be found So, not without groaning, be turned to the everywhere in Germany. The university great Hildenbrand, who had just made was too new to have become well trained in himself famous by his work on fever. Here, the old ways, and the Directors had too lit- at least, said be, I shall find what I seek. tle courage and perhaps too little knowledge But alas ! Hildenbrand was that year busily to throw themselves heartily into the new engaged in carrying out what is called the ways. Here for some three years young expectant method, which means that the Baer studied, amid no little doubt and be- doctor shuts the patient's mouth to all wilderment, making real progress in Bota- medicines and opens his own eyes to see ný, but achieving scarcely anything worth what Nature will send in the way of result. the name of knowledge in anything else. No It is a method very much in vogue among wonder that on concluding his studies, after the poor and those who dislike a doctor. a short episode of practical life at Riga dur- Hildenbrand was about to write a work on ing an epidemic of fever, he took his degree catarrh, and so he was filling his wards with with the uncomfortable conviction that, picked cases and studying the “natural though now a Doctor Medicinæ in name, he history of the malady, trying to find out was as yet wholly unfit to enter upon the what it was like when not disturbed by daties of an actual healer. Dorpat, however, medicines. It was hardly worth while, could serve him no longer; he must go else- thought Baer, to have come all the way to where. He wanted to learn anatomy Vienna, and to struggle daily in the crowd that which Cichorius could never teach him. of students that followed the professor, like He wanted especially to study practical a comet's tail, in order to hear liquorice medicine. Some diseases he had seen at and barley-water prescribed for a common Dorpat, as also various kinds of treatment; cold. Hardly more satisfactory was the but the cases to which his attention had clinique of the distinguished Kern, whose been called by the professor were for the energies were, for the time being, wholly most part curious rather than common, and devoted to a war of extermination against the treatment was indiscriminate and unac. bandages and plasters; or of Boer, who countable. He wanted to learn something was daily declaiming against a meddleof the real science of medicine, to be taught some midwifery. In short, all these great some general rules which he might always lights seemed to Baer to be very busy in carry with him, to modify and apply as oc- turning on the dark shade, to be enthusiastic casion demanded. He felt that he had not in nothing save in the great art of folding got to the bottom of the matter indeed, the hands. The men of Vienna were no was beginning to ask if there were a bottom better than the men of Dorpat, perhaps in at all. Had any patient at this time asked some sense worse, for more was expected of him to recommend a doctor, he would have them. been inclined to answer, “ Choose any one

Stunned and bewildered by the discovery you please, provided it is not myself." that he had come out so far to see a shadow,

About this time several great physicians in despair at ever becoming an adept in and surgeons were making Vienna famous the medical art, or rather at ever finding as a school for practical medicine and sur- out what was that medical art in which he gery. So Baer went to Vienna, excited wished to become an adept, he wandered with the expectation of really learning the one day, as the winter session was closing art he had chosen, and mly determined to and the early summer was ming on, on a keep down, all those botanical fancies and walking excursion with a friend to a bill in longings which at times sorely tempted him the neighbourhood of the city. Coming astray, until this, the chief business, was there suddenly upon an Alpine flora, most accomplished. He threw himself with zeal of whose members were new to him, all his into all the courses of lectures. In surgery old natural history longings came back. he attended the genial Rust. Unhappily For a while he was at home and happy, and at this time Rust's custom was to pay atten- the descent back to the city seemed to be

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a return to prison. The visit was frequently again. He kept steadily working on with renewed ; and each time he breathed the widening light during the whole of the winfresh mountain air and gathered a hidden ter. Very strongly did he feel the benefiflower, the medical art and the expectant cial influence of confining himself to one method seemed more and more hopeless, line of study. Previously he had striven, and the call to a life of pure science more after the fashion of students, to drive half-aand more clear. Botany alone, however, dozen courses of lectures abreast, and had, did not offer much chance of a livelihood, as usual, found the reins very apt to get nor was it enough, by itself, to satisfy his entangled. Now one subject only occumind. Zoology looked more likely; above pied his thoughts, and his mind began to all, there floated before him visions of a range about in it with a freedom and a certain Comparative Anatomy, of which he spring unknown to him before. In the

'as yet wholly ignorant, but which summer, Christian Pander came to Würtzseemed to be full of golden though uncer- burg and began with Döllinger those retain promise. So he took up his scrip and searches on the development of the chick his staff, shook off from his feet the dust of in the egg, to which Baer was destined afterthe hospitals and the expectant method, and wards to add so much. At this time, how. started to walk through Germany, hoping ever, Baer merely looked on. He could not somewhere to find some one who would afford to give up the whole of his time to teach him this unknown science. Whilst the inquiry, and he soon found that nothing on his journey a trifling incident determined less than that would suffice to give him a his career. Stopping one day at a little inn real share in the work. Very pleasant, near Saizburg, and being requested to write nevertheless, was it for him to hear from something in the visitors' book he simply his friends how matters were going on - to expressed in a few lines his regret at not receive week by week, at their social meethaving met Dr. Hoppe, a well-known ings in Nees von Esenbeck's country house botanist residing near, to whom he wished at Sickershausen, reports of the progress to submit some botanical difficulties. A that had been made, of the difficulties that few days after, while still in the same neigh-had been cleared up, to learn how this bourhood, he was met in the street by two strange problem of the making of a bird had men, one old, the other young, who stopped become clearer in this point or in that. him and asked if he were Dr. Baer. The Towards the end of the summer he reelder was Hoppe, the younger Martius, ceived from Burdach, who had removed to since well known for his works on palms. Königsberg, an invitation to become Pros“Where can I learn Comparative Anato- ector of Anatomy, at that University. my?” cried Baer. “Go to Döllinger, in He accepted the invitation, chiefly because Würtzburg," said they;" we will give you an it offered to him the opportunity of clinging introduction." The interview in the street for a year or two longer to the skirts of lasted only five minutes, but it was long science. Great as was his love for anatomy, enough: Baer went straight to Würtzburg, the chance of its eier affording him a liveand the course of his life was decided. libood seemed dismally small; practice

Döllinger received him with open arms, loomed before him, as that to which he must took him into his study, gave him a leech, at last, in all probability, come, however showed him how to dissect it, and set him to long he might defer the fatal time. After work at once. Day by day Baer sat in the spending a winter in Berlin, running about worthy old man's study, carefully working busily from hospital to hospital, and from away at his dissection, receiving from time lecture to lecture, in order that he might, to time words of advice and solutions of if possible, make himself master of the exbis difficulties

. When he had finished the pectant method, and so be prepared for the leech, another animal was brought out for worst, he entered upon his duties at Königsexamination, and then afterwards some berg at the close of the Easter of 1817. other, and for each one Döllinger knew ex. Here he remained, with the exception of a actly what to tell him, helping him also few months spent at St. Petersburg, until with monographs and volumes of plates. the year 1834. It was here, therefore, that In less than three weeks Baer felt that he the prime of his life was spent, and the had got into the right path. Here was no greater part of his scientific work accomconfusion, but instead of it increasing clear- plished. Happily he was never called upon

Every night he went to bed with to be paid for practising the expectant the strange new sensation, that he had made method on others, and he had the mingled progress during the day. The clouds that satisfaction of looking back on his days at gathered in Vienna gradually rolled back Vienna as for the most part wasted. In

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1819 he was made Professor of Zoology and cessantly during the whole of his stay there, Director of the Zoological Museum; and is his “ History of the Development of Anihis salary, together with other emoluments mals.” In this he extended human knowwhich gradually flowed in, saved bim from ledge, as well by the discovery of a multithe necessity of turning to other duties in tude of new facts, as by the unfolding of order to earn bis bread, and left him free many great and pregnant ideas. There is a to follow the bent of his mind. The out- theory, not uncommon among those who talk ward life of a man devoted to science, if much and know little of science, that proghe have the good fortune, rare enough in ress, especially in what are called the this country, of being able to give himself sciences of observation, is effected by two up wholly to study, and be not cruelly classes of persons; by dull, plodding drones, dragged away from his pursuits to perform who sedulously, and, as it were, blindly, all manner of heterogeneous functions, through some strange kind of instinct, gather offers but few incidents that any stranger together treasures of unmeaning facts; and would care to hear of. To the busy man of by rare brilliant spirits, who from time to the world he seems to toil all day on a tread- time, without touching the facts so much as wheel, while he himself thinks he is walking with the tips of their fingers, easily and genin a garden of roses. Every occasion on tly arrange into “ laws, and by the mere which he comes prominently before the light of their genius flood with meaning, the public, other than in his scientific capacity, obscure labours of their predecessors. Perbe it to be rewarded with honours or to baps it need hardly be said here, that no incur reproach, is to him more or less of a snch distinction is known in science itself. misfortune. He is an organ, performing There are great men and little men, men of a special function for the good of the body small and men of large ideas; every one politic, and every instance of his meddling too profits more or less by the labours of with anything else, save of course those others : but if any one thing is certain it is common duties of citizenship and manhood this, that whoever wishes to build in the which are as imperative on him as on any city of science a house that will stand, must other of his fellow organs, is either a sign or dig his own foundations, and, to a very great the cause of disease. Admirably meagre extent, make his own bricks. The man was the outer life of Baer at Königsberg. who sits aloft and runs up theories out of He married and had children; he lectured the results of other men's toil, merely wastes and otherwise ivstructed his students; be his time in erecting a structure that the laboured in the museum and in the study. next stiff breeze will bring toppling down, He moved in the town as an able Professor Von Baer was an excellent brickmaker as and as an enlightened citizen, who was well as a cunning builder. The numerous always ready to share with his fellow-towns- facts in embryology which he discovered men the knowledge he was acquiring, and are to be seen recorded in all the text-books who in times of doubt and difficulty would of physiology, while the ideas which he was come forward to throw into the scale of the first to set afloat concerning the nature right and justice the weight of a mind made of an animal's early growth, though for a just by a daily intercourse with nature, and while they failed to secure the recognition kept right by a steady pursuit of truth. they deserved, have become part and parcel And he fell of course into a few professorial of our present biological teaching, scandals and other little quarrels, such as Wespoke above of the old “nest” theory, would naturally beset a man keenly alive to which taught that the offspring, existed foolishness, and possessing an exceedingly from the very beginning in the body of the caustic tongue.

parent, fully formed and perfect as to its His inner life was proportionately rich, parts, though so small as to be almost invisand he reaped a full harvest of scientific ible. A necessary corollary further exwork. A good basketful might be made of plained how the embryo itselt also containhis mere fragments, odd bits of anatomy, ed on a still smaller scale its own embryos, and stray papers published here and there, which in turn had still smaller embryos, specimens of those broken pieces of fact, and so on ad infinitum, the originator of a which every scientific worker throws out to species actually as well as potentially. carthe world, hoping that on them, some time rying about in his body the whole family of or other, some truth may come to land. possible decendants, one generation being But his opus magnum, that by which he nested” within the other. This idea, rewill always be remembered, on which he futed by Wolff, and still further demolished bad already begun before he came to Königs- by the labours of his successors, was replaced berg, and at which he worked almost in- / by the theory, -- built on the wonderful



changes seen to follow each other in the being the last to be put on. If, while an

development of the embryo, that each egg was being moulded into a chick, an im· animal in the course of its formation runs age of it could be thrown on a screen, after

through the long chain of all the forms that the fashion of a magic lantern, so that the rank below it in what is called the scale of successive processes might be made visible creation. Thus it was maintained that a

to a company who understood what they mammal was at first an infusorium, and af- saw, one might hear the following comterwards, even if it did not show itself as a ments one after the other as the coming worm, an insect, and a mollusk, it passed creature passed into being through the through the stages of a fish, a reptile, and a phases of its growth. It is a vertebrate bird, before it achieved its final transform- animal! It is a vertebrate animal, that ation. So specious and attractive a con- cannot live without breathing air! It is a ception received, for many reasons, an en- bird ! It is a land-bird! It is a fowl! It thusiastic welcome, and became a leading is a Dorking! As it is with birds, so is it idea before the grounds on which it rested with all animals. As it is with the whole had been more than cursorily examined. animal, so is it with all parts, small or It is Von Baer's great merit to have shown great. The limbs of an animal have at first the falseness of this theory, and to have re- only the general features of stumps or placed it by one which has since been veri- buds; afterwards they gradually put on the fied by its scientific fruitfulness, and which, special characters of arms, or wings, or at the same time, has put a new life into fins. The flesh of an animal has at first the the science of zoology, by affording a new general character of a soft granular pulp; canon for the interpretation of the mutual by and bye it gains the special features of affinities of living beings. The following is nerve, muscle, and bone. This is Von the briefest possible sketch of some of his Baer's law, that in every respect and in chief doctrines.

every way the growth of a living being is a Instead of an animal passing, as in a dis- march from the general to the special -- is

, solving view, through all the organic forms to use a phrase adopted by physiologists below its own, there are certain fundamen- and naturalists, a process of differentiation. tal types of formation, or ways of being To this may be added as a corollary the formed, each one peculiar to all the mem- caution to naturalists, when speaking of a bers of one of the natural divisions of the being as high or low in the scale of creaanimal kingdom. Thus there is a verte- tion, not to confound the degree of difbrate type or way in which all vertebrate ferentiation or individualization with the animals are formed, quite different from the character of the being's fundamental type. molluscous type or way in which all mol. Thus a bee is far more highly organized, its lusks are formed. The plan on which a organs and tissues are far more specialized bird is formed is wholly unlike the plan or differentiated, than those of many fishes, on which a snail is formed, and an insect is and for that reason one might be inclined fashioned on a plan different from either. to give it the higher place in the scale; but Almost the very first step in the develop- the type of the bee, which is articulate, is ment of an animal is the sketching out and lower than the type of the fish, which is fixing, so to speak, of the fundamental vertebrate, and therefore the bee itself type. Thus, as we watch in a series of must be placed in the lower position. We hen's eggs the gradual growth of the chick, may also draw the not unimportant deducthe first things we see marked out are cer- tion, that it is quite untrue to say, as was tain folds and thickenings, by which the said during the reign of the older theory, vertebrate type is irrevocably settled. The that a man is, in one stage of his developpossibility of the chick ever taking on the ment, a fish. It would be equally true to fikeness of a mollusk, or of an insect, or of say that a fish is, in one stage of its developany other being than a vertebrate one, is ment, a man. All we have any right to say ithus in the very first scene entirely done is, that at a particular stage the embryo of away with. Similarly in the growth of the a fish cannot be distinguished from the emsnail or of the bee, the first movement is the bryo of a man.

It is only by the subseassumption of the molluscous or articulate quent development of special characters type. In other words, in the development that we are enabled to distinguish between of an animal the most general characters the fish, the reptile, the bird, and the mamare determined first.

mal. It is only at still later stages that we And as the matter begins, so it goes on. can distinguish the human embryo from "To the most general characters succeed the that of a dog or a pig. iless general, and so on, the most special | These and other closely allicd views, first



promulgated by Baer, have, with various he looked around to see what he could do; modifications and extensions, become part but alas ! on examining his finances, he of the biological teaching of to-day. It has found that all the money which had not been our purpose here merely to indicate gone in household expenses had been spent them, not to expound or to discuss them fully, in books and in his investigations. He nor to show what a light they have thrown wanted to travel to the Adriatic and there on the natural affinities of animals and the rest awhile; but he was too poor to afford distribution in time of organic forms, and it, and too proud to ask for a subsidy from how they have been the starting-point of the Government. He stood for a momeut many brilliant investigations. It is enough face to face with that beggary wbich is too to say that they have led naturalists to re- often the fate of those who love science too gard their author with profound respect as well. Just at this juncture his elder brothone of the great teachers of the present er died childless, and his sisters begged him day, as a worthy successor to the great Wolff, to come and take charge of the family as an honorable help-meet to the illustrious estate, which would in due time come to his Cuvier, of whose great labours they form as own eldest son, and which, though not it were the complement, and as, in 8 cer- large, brought in a comfortable little sum. tain sense, the forerunner of our own Dar- The management of the estate was (from win.*

its position) compatible with official duties The edifice, however - the grand edi- at St. Petersburg; and, having learnt that fice we call it — of biological doctrine, pre- the Academy of Sciences there would be sented by Von Baer's “ History of the pleased to receive him as a member, he deDevelopment of Animals," was built only at termined upon the change. Accordingly the cost of an indefatigable making of he bade good-bye to Königsberg in the bricks. No wonder, then, we find that autumn of 1824, and entered upon his dutowards the year 1834 (the History having ties in the Russian capital, where he has been published in 1828) his health began to since remained. give way. What he had already learnt There his life has been less devoted to urged him still forward, and seemed to original investigations than before: in fact, promise in the future yet happier results. he himself felt in making the change that There floated before him visions of the dis- his chief work was already done. Part of covery of grand and simple laws of organic the subsequent time has been spent in long formation. So constant was he in his work, and extensive travels, for pleasure and that one year he shut himself in his house health as well as curiosity, to Nova Zembla while the snow was on the ground, and did and to the Caspian Sea; part, in official dunot stir a hundred steps from it until the ties, as Member of the Academy, Librarian corn was in the ear. The continual stoop- of the Academic Library, and Director of ing position in which his short-sightedness Public Education, while part has been givcompelled him to work ruined his diges- en to the completion of bis old labours and tion. His nights became sleepless. He had to the quiet spreading abroad of the wisto read Walter Scott when he went to bed, dom treasured up in his old age. He was in order to drive away visions of embryos one of those who took part some years back and types, and even then the heroes and in the Congress which met in Germany to heroines often kept him awake. He felt discuss the condition of Anthropological that he was overworked and needed rest. Science, a matter in which he has always He found it impossible now to study be- taken a great interest, and many will reyond the midday, whereas in old times he member the visit he paid not long ago to used to keep working on till late at night. England, a country of which he has always He said to himself, “The laws of natural had an exalted, though perhaps too ideal creation will be discovered: whether by an opinion. Long may he continue to enyou or by some other, whether this year or joy the consciousness of having done a good in those to come, what matters it? It is life's work, and the pleasure of watching mere folly in you to sacrifice for it peace from his high position the progress of sciand health, which none can restore to you." ence and of seeing, men draw nearer and Determined to break off from his labours, nearer to that complete theory of develop

ment, of which he himself has said that the Darwin and Von Baer may at least be fairly cradle has not yet been made for the man considered as mutual interpreters. “We look at the embryo of an animal as a picture, more who is to expound it, nor indeed the seed or less obscured, of the progenitor of all the mem- sprouted which shall grow into the tree bers of the same great class.) Darwin's Origin of of whose wood that cradle shall be made. Species, 4th ed, p. 533.

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