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being the one primordial form into which Mr. Darwin finds then the disseminating life was first breathed by the Creator”-this, and improving power, which he needs to acto say the least of it, is no common discov- count for the development of new forms in na ery-no very expected conclusion. But we ture, in the principle of “ Natural Selection," are too loyal pupils of inductive philosophy which is evolved in the strife for room to live to start back from any conclusion by reason and flourish which is evermore maintained of its strangeness. Newton's patient phi- | between themselves by all living things. losophy taught him to find in the falling apple. One of the most interesting parts of Mr. the law which governs the silent movements Darwin's volume is that in which he estabof the stars in their courses; and if Mr. Dar- lishes this law of natural selection; we say win can with the same correctness of reason- establishes, because—repeating that we difing demonstrate to us our fungular descent, fer from him totally in the limits which he we shall dismiss our pride, and avow, with the would assign to its action--we have no characteristic humility of philosophy, our un- doubt of the existence or of the importance suspected cousinship with the mushrooms, of the law itself. Mr. Darwin illustrates it
thus: “Claim kindred there, and have our claim allowed,"
“There is no exception to the rule that -only we shall ask leave to scrutinize care- organic being naturally increases at so high a
rate, that, if not destroyed, the carth would soon fully every step of the argument which has be covered by the offspring of a single pair. such an ending, and demur if at any point Linnæus has calculated that if an annual plant of it we are invited to substitute unlimited produced only two secds—and there is no plant hypothesis for patient observation, or the
so unproductive as this and their scedlings next
year produced two, and so on, then in twenty spasmodic fluttering flight of fancy for the years there would be a million plants. The el. severe conclusions to which logical accuracy cphant is reckoned the slowest breeder of all of reasoning has led the way.
known animals, and I have taken somo pains to Now, the main propositions by which Mr. increase. It will be under the mark to assume
estimate its probable minimum rate of natural Darwin's conclusion is attained are these :- that it breeds when thirty years old, and goes on “1. That observed and admitted variations three pair of young in this interval; if this bo
brccding, till ninety years old, bringing forth spring up in the course of descents from a so, at the end of the fifth century there would be common progenitor.
alive fifteen million elephants, descended from “2. That many of these variations tend to the first pair.”—P. 64. an improvement upon the parent stock.
Leaving theoretical calculations, Mr. Dar“3. That, by a continued selection of these improved specimens as the progenitors of win proceeds to facts to establish this rapid future stock, its powers may be unlimitedly increase :increased.
“Several of the plants, such as the cardoon, “4. And, lastly, that there is in nature a and a tall thistle, now most numerous over the power continually and universally working wide plains of La Plata, clothing square leagues out this selection, and so fixing and aug- of surface almost to the exclusion of all other menting these improvements.”
plants, have been introduced from Europe.”
P. 65. Mr. Darwin's whole theory rests upon the
And, again, he reasons from the animal truth of these propositions, and crumbles
world :utterly away if only one of them fail him. These therefore we must closely scrutinize.
“ The condor lays a couple of cggs and tho We will begin with the last in our series, condor may be the more numerous of the two.
ostrich a scorc, and yet in the same country the both because we think it the newest and the The fulmar petrel lays but ono ogg, yet it is bemost ingenious part of Mr. Darwin's whole licved to be the most numerous bird in the argument, and also because, whilst we abso-world.”—P.66. lutely deny the mode in which he seeks to This is followed by a passage which well apply the existence of the power to help him illustrates the care and cleverness of Mr, in his argument, yet we think that he throws Darwin's own observations : great and very interesting light upon the fact that such a self-acting power does actively two wide, dug and cleaned, and where thero
“On a piece of ground threo fect long and and continuously work in all creation around could be no choking from other plants, I marked
all the seedlings of our native weeds as they
came up, and, out of the three hundred and fifty- , tition has in nature to deal with such favorseven, no less than two hundred and ninety-five able variations in the individuals of any spewere destroyed, chicfly by slugs and insects. If turf which has long been mown—and thic casc
cies, as truly to exalt those individuals above would be the same with turf closely browsed by the highest type of perfection to which their quadrupedsbe let to grow, the more vigorous least imperfect predecessors attained-above, plants gradually kill the less vigorous though fully that is to say, the normal level of the spegrown plants; thus out of twenty species growing on a little plot of turf (three feet by four) cies :—that such individual improvement is, nine species perished from the other species bé- in truth, a rising above the highest level of ing allowed to grow up frcely.”—Pp. 67, 68. any former tide, and not merely the return
Now all this is excellent. The facts are in its appointed season of the feebler neap all gathered from a true observation of na- to the fuller spring-tide;—and then, next, ture, and from a patiently obtained com- we must be shown that there is actively at prehension of their undoubted and unques- work in nature, co-ordinate with the law of tionable relative significance. That such a competition and with the existence of such struggle for life then actually exists, and favorable variations, a power of accumulatthat it tends continually to lead the strong ing such favorable variation through succesto exterminate the weak, we readily admit; sive descents. Failing the establishment of and in this law we see a merciful provision either of these last two propositions, Mr. against the deterioration, in a world apt to Darwin's whole theory falls to pieces. He deteriorate, of the works of the Creator's has accordingly labored with all his strength hands. Thus it is that the bloody strifes of to establish these, and into that attempt we the males of all wild animals tend to main- must now follow him. tain the vigor and full development of their Mr. Darwin begins by endeavoring to race; because, through this machinery of prove that such variations are produced unappetite and passion, the most vigorous in- der the selecting power of man amongst dividuals become the progenitors of the next domestic animals. Now here we demur in generation of the tribe. And this law, limine. Mr. Darwin himself allows that which thus maintains through the struggle there is a plastic habit amongst domesticated of individuals the high type of the family, animals which is not found amongst them tends continually, through a similar struggle when in a state of nature. “ Under domesof species, to lead the stronger species to tication, it may be truly said that the whole supplant the weaker.
organization becomes in some degree plasThis, indeed, is no new observation : Lu- tic.” (P. 80.) If so, it is not fair to argue, cretius knew and eloquently expatiated on from the variations of the plastic nature, as its truth :
to what he himself admits is the far more Multaquc tum interiisse animantum secla ne- rigid nature of the undomesticated animal. cesse cst,
But we are ready to give Mr. Darwin this Nec potuisse propagando procudero prolem. Nam, quæcumque vides vesci vitalibus auris point, and to join issue with him on the vaAut dolus, aut virtus, aut deniquo mobilitas, riations which he is able to adduce, as havest,
ing been produced under circumstances the Ex ineunte ævo, genus id tutata reservant.”* most favorable to change. He takes for
And this, which is true in animal, is no this purpose the domestic pigeon, the most less true in vegetable life. Hardier or more favorable specimen no doubt, for many reaprolific plants, or plants better suited to the sons, which he could select, as being a race soil or conditions of climate, continually cminently subject to variation, the variations tend to supplant others less hardy, less pro- of which have been most carefully observed lific, or less suited to the conditions of veg- by breeders, and which, having been for etable life in those special districts. Thus some four thousand years domesticated, affar, then, the action of such a law as this is fords the longest possible period for the acclear and indisputable.
cumulation of variations. But with all this But before we can go a step further, and in his favor, what is he able to show? He argue from its operation in favor of a per- writes a delightful chapter upon pigeons. petual improvement in natural types, we Runts and fantails, short-faced tumblers and must be shown first that this law of compe-long-faced tumblers, long-beaked carriers
* Lucret., “ De Rer. Nat.,” lib. y. and pouters, black barbs, jacobins, and turmand par M. Gaultier de la Peyroune,” vol. i. p. 89.
bits, coo and tumble, inflate their æsophagi, variations into well-marked species, but to and pout and spread out their tails before a return from the abnormal to the original
We learn that "pigeons have been type. So clear is this, that it is well known watched and tended with the utmost care, that any relaxation in the breeder's care efand loved by many people.” They have faces all the established points of difference, been domesticated for thousands of years in and the fancy-pigeon reverts again to the several quarters of the world. The earliest character of its simplest ancestor. known record of pigeons is in the fifth Egyp- The same relapse may moreover be traced tian dynasty, about three thousand years in still wider instances. There are many B.C., though “pigeons are given in a bill of testimonies to the fact that domesticated anifare” (what an autograph would be that of mals, removed from the care and tending the chef-de-cuisine of the day!) “in the of man, lose rapidly the peculiar variations previous dynasty” (pp. 27, 28) : and so we which domestication had introduced amongst follow pigeons on down to the days of “ that them, and relapse into their old untamed most skilful breeder Sir John Sebright,” condition. “ Plus,” says M. P. S. Pallas,* who used to say, with respect to pigeons, "je réfléchis, plus je suis disposé à croire that he would produce any given feather que la race des chevaux sauvages que l'on in three years, but it would take him six trouve dans les landes baignées par le Jaik years to produce beak and head.'”—P. 31. et le Don, et dans celles de Baraba, ne pro
Now all this is very pleasant writing, es- vient que de chevaux Kirguis et Kalmouks pecially for pigeon-fanciers ; but what step devenus sauvages,” etc. ; and he proceeds to do we really gain in it at all towards estab- show how far they have relapsed from the lishing the alleged fact that variations are type of tame into that of wild horses. Prichbut species in the act of formation, or in es- ard, in his “Natural History of Man,” retablishing Mr. Darwin's position that a well- marks that the present state of the escaped marked variety may be called an incipient domesticated animals, which, since the disspecies? We affirm positively that no single covery of the Western Continent by the Spanfact tending even in that direction is brought iards, have been transported from Europe to forward. On the contrary, every one points America, gives us an opportunity of seeing distinctly towards the opposite conclusion; how soon the relapse may become almost for with all the change wrought in appear- complete. “Many of these races have mulance, with all the apparent variation in man- tiplied (he says) exceedingly on a soil and ners, there is not the faintest beginning of under a climate congenial to their nature. any such change in what that great compar- Several of them have run wild in the vast ative anatomist, Professor Owen, calls “the forests of America, and have lost all the characteristics of the skeleton or other parts most obvious appearances of domestication.”+ of the frame upon which specific differences This he proceeds to prove to be more or less are founded.” * There is no tendency to the case as to the hog, the horse, the ass, that great law of sterility which, in spite of the sheep, the goat, the cow, the dog, the Mr. Darwin, we affirm ever to mark the hy- cat, and gallinaceous fowls. brid; for every variety of pigeon, and the Now, in all these instances we have the descendants of every such mixture, breed as result of the power of selection exercised on freely, and with as great fertility, as the origi- the most favorable species for a very long nal pair ; nor is there the very first appear- period of time, in a race of that peculiarly ance of that power of accumulating varia- plastic habit which is the result of long dotions until they grow into specific differences, mestication ; and that result is, to prove that which is essential to the argument for the there has been no commencement of any such transmutation of species ; for as Mr. Darwin mutation as could, if it was infinitely proallows, sudden returns in color, and other longed, become really a specific change. most altered appearances, to the parent stock There is another race of animals which continually attest the tendency of variations comes under our closest inspection, which not to become fixed, but to vanish, and mani- has been the friend and companion of man fest the perpetual presence of a principle leading not to the accumulation of minute *“ Voyages de M.P. S. Pallas, traduit de l'Alle*“On the Classification of Dammalia," p. 98.
† Natural History of Man,” pp. 27, 28.
certainly ever since the wandering Ulysses tion, for his own use and pleasure," and then returned to Ithaca, and of which it has been to draw from the changes introduced amongst man's interest to obtain every variation domesticated animals this caution for natuwhich he could extract out of the original caution when they deride the idea of species
ralists : “May they not learn a lesson of stock. The result is every day before us. in a state of nature being lineal descendants We all know the vast difference, which of other species ?”—P. 29. strikes the dullest eye, between, for instance, Nor must we pass over unnoticed the the short bandy-legged snub-nosed bull-dog, transference of the argument from the doand the almost aërial Italian greyhound. mesticated to the untamed animals. AssumHere again the experiment of variation by ing that man as the selector can do much in selection has been well-nigh tried out. And a limited time, Mr. Darwin argues that nawith what results? Here again with an
ture, a more powerful, a more continuous absolute absence of the first dawns of any of time, can do more.
power, working over vastly extended ranges
But why should navariety which could by its own unlimited ture, so uniform and persistent in all her prolongation constitute a specific difference. operations, tend in this instance to change ? Again there is perfect freedom and fertility why should she become a selector of varieof interbreeding; again a continual tendency ties ?. Because, most ingeniously argues Mr. to revert to the common type ; again, even
Darwin, in the struggle for life, if any variin the most apparently dissimilar specimens, cty favorable to the individual were devel
, that a really specific agreement. Hear what chance in the battle of life, would assert Professor Owen says on this point:- more proudly his own place, and, handing “No species of animal has been subject to
on his peculiarity to his descendants, would such decisive experiments, continued through so become the progenitor of an improved race; many generations, as to the influence of different and so a variety would have grown into a degrees of exercise of the muscular system, dif. species. ference in regard to food, association with man, We think it difficult to find a theory fuller and the concomitant stimulus to tho development of assumptions; and of assumptions not of intelligence, as the dog; and no domestic ani- grounded upon alleged facts in nature, but mal manifests so great a range of variety in re- which are absolutely opposed to all the facts gard to general size, to color and character of hair, and to the form of the head, as it is affected we have been able to observe. by different proportions of the cranium and face,
1. We have already shown that the variaand by inter-muscular crests superadded to the tions of which we have proof under domesticranial paricties.
cation have never, under the longest and "Yet, under the extremest mark of variety most continued system of selections we have 60 superinduced, the naturalist detects in the known, laid the first foundation of a specific dental formula and in the construction of the difference, but have always tended to relapse, cranium the unmistakable generic and specific and not to accumulated and fixed persistcharacters of the canis familiaris. Note also low unerringly and plainly the extremest varicties of
But, 2ndly, all these variations have the the dog-kind recognize their own specific relationship. How differently does the giant New- essential characteristics of monstrosity about foundland behave to the dwarf pug on a casual them; and not one of them has the characrencontre, from the way in which either of them ter which Mr. Darwin repeatedly reminds us would treat a jackal, a wolf, or a fox. Tho is the only one which nature can select, viz. damb animal might teach tho philosopher that of being an advantage to the selected indiunity of kind or of species is discoverable under vidual in the battle of life, i.e. an improvethe strangest mask of variation.” *
ment upon the normal type by raising some Nor let our readers forget over how large
individual of the species not to the highest a lapse of time our opportunities of observa- possible excellence within the species, but to tion extend. From the early Egyptian habit some excellence above it. So far from this, of embalming, we know that for four thou- every variation introduced by man is for sand years at least the species of our own the animal. Correlation is so certainly the
man's advantage, not for the advantage of domestic animals, the cat, the dog; and law of all animal existence that man can others, has remained absolutely unaltered.
Yet it is in the face of such facts as these only develop one part by the sacrifice of anthat Mr. Darwin ventures, first, to declare other. The bull-dog gains in strength and that « new races of animals and plants are swiftness but loses in strength. Even the
loses in swiftness; the greyhound gains in produced under domestication by man's methodical and unconscious
English race-borse loses much which would of selecpower
enable it in the battle of life to compete with *Owen's“ Classification of Mammalia,” p. 100. | its rougher ancestor. So;too with our prize
cattle. Their greater tendency to an earlier were happening, that there should be noaccumulation of meat and fat is counter- proof of their occurrence; yet never have balanced, as is well known, by loss of robust the longing observations of Mr. Darwin and health, fertility, and of power of yielding the transmutationists found one such inmilk, in proportion to their special develop- stance to establish their theory, and this alment in the direction which man's use of though the shades between one class and them as food requires. There is not a another are often most lightly marked. For
ow of ground for saying that man's va- there are creatures which occupy a doubtful riations ever improve the typical character post between the animal and vegetable kingof the animal as an animal; they do but by doms—half-notes in the great scale of nasome monstrous development make it more ture's harmony. Is it credible that all fauseful to himself; and hence it is that na- vorable varieties of turnips are tending to ture, according to her universal law with become men, and yet that the closest micromonstrosities, is ever tending to obliterate scopic observation has never detected the the deviation and to return to the type. faintest tendency in the highest of the Algæ
The applied argument then, from variation to improve into the very lowest Zoophyte? under domestication, fails utterly. But fur- Again, we have not only the existing ther, what does observation say as to the tribes of animals out of which to cull, it occurrence of a single instance of such fa- possible, the instances which the transmutavorable variation ? Men have for thousands tionists require to make their theory defen. of years been conversantas hunters and other sible consistently with the simplest laws of rough naturalists with animals of every class. inductive science, but we have in the earth Has any one such instance ever been dis- beneath us a vast museum of the forms covered? We fearlessly assert not one. which have preceded us.
Over so vast a Variations have been found : rodents whose period of time does Mr. Darwin extend this teeth have grown abnormally ; animals of collection that he finds reasons for believing various classes of which the eyes, from the that “it is not improbable that a longer peabsence of light in their dwellings, have riod than three hundred million years has been obscured and obliterated; but not one elapsed since the latter part of the secondary which has tended to raise the individual in (geological) period” alone. (p. 287.) Here the struggle of life above the typical condi- surely at last we must find the missing links tions of its own species. Mr. Darwin him- of that vast chain of innumerable and sepself allows that he finds none; and accounts arately imperceptible variations, which has for their absence in existing fauna only by convinced the inquirer into Nature's unthe suggestion, that, in the competition be- doubted facts of the truth of the transmutween the less improved parent-form and tation theory. But no such thing. The the improved successor, the parent will have links are wholly wanting, and the multiplicyielded in the strife in order to make room ity of these facts and their absolute rebelfor the successor ; and so both the parent lion against Mr. Darwin's theory is perhaps and all the transitional varieties will gener- his chief difficulty. Here is his own stateally have been exterminated by the very ment of it, and his mode of meeting it :process of formation and perfection of the new form” (p. 172)—a most unsatisfactory and stratum full of such intermediate links?
Why then is not every gcological formation answer as it seems to us; for why—since Geology assuredly does not reveal any such if this is nature's law these innumerable finely graduated organic chain; and this, perchanges must be daily occurring--should haps, is the most obvious and gravest objection there never be any one producible proof of which can be urged against my theory. Tho their existence ?
explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme Here then again, when subjected to the imperfection of the geological record.”-P. 280. stern Baconian law of the observation of
This“ Imperfection of the Geological Recfacts, the theory breaks down utterly ; no ord,” and the “ Geological Succession,” are natural variations from the specific type fa- the subjects of two labored and ingenious vorable to the individual from which nature chapters, in which he tries, as we think utis to select can anywhere be found. terly in vain, to break down the unanswera
But once more. If these transmutations ble refutation which is given to his theory were actually occurring, must there not, in by the testimony of the rocks. He treats some part of the great economy of nature the subject thus :-1. He affirms that only round us, be somewhere at least some in a small portion of the globe has been exstance to be quoted of the accomplishment plored with care. 2. He extends at will to of the change? With many of the lower new and hitherto unsuggested myriads of forms of animals, life is so short and gün- years the times which have elapsed between erations so rapid in their succession that it successive formations in order to account for would be all but impossible, if such changes the utter absence of every thing like a suc