Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

The scientific genius which could have of an organism is a progress from a genenabled a man in those days thus to have eral to a special form; these and numero anticipated the temper of modern thought, ous others are instances of generalization appears to me entitled to our highest made by Aristotle, which have lasted, veneration. Here, perhaps, more than with but slight modifications of his terms, anywhere else, he showed his instinctive to the present day.* appreciation of the objective methods; and Of these generalizations the most rehere it is that the longest time has been markable is the last which I have men. taken for mankind to awaken to the truth tioned. For one of the greatest and most of his appreciation.

momentous controversies which the bisIn subsequent centuries, when Euro- tory of science has afforded is that which pean thought drifted away from science took place nearly two thousand years after into theology, the question was long and the time of Aristotle, with regard to sowarmly debated whether or not Aristotle called evolution versus epigenesis. The believed in the immortality of the soul. question was whether the germ or egg of The truth of the matter is that his deliver any organism contained the future or ances upon this question are more scarce young organism already formed in miniathan clear. The following brief passage, ture, and only requiring to be expanded in however, appears to show that he re- order to appear as the perfect organism, or garded the thinking principle, as distin- whether the process of development conguished from the animal soul, to be sisted in a progress from the indefinite to virtually independent of the corporeal or- the definite, from the simple to the comganization : “ Only the intellect enters plex, from what we call undifferentiated from without. It alone is god-like. Its protoplasm to the fully differentiated ani. actuality has nothing in common with the mal. During the seventeenth and eighcorporeal actuality.

teenth centuries, when this subject was Aristotle appears to have been the first most warmly debated, the balance of scienphilosopher who at all appreciated the im. tific opinion inclined to what is now known portance of heredity as a principle, not to be the erroneous view that the germ is only in natural history, but also in psy. merely the adult organism in miniature. chology; for he distinctly affirms that the It therefore speaks greatly in favor of children of civilized communities are capa. Aristotle's sagacity that he clearly and reble of a higher degree of intellectual cul- peatedly expressed the opinion which is tivation than are children of savages. now known to be right, viz., that the or.

Among his other more noteworthy enun. ganism develops out of its germ by a series ciations of general truths, we may notice of differentiations. And not only with the following:

reference to this doctrine of epigenesis, “The advantage of physiological di- but likewise throughout the whole course vision of labor was first set forth,” says of his elaborate treatise on generation, he Milne-Edwards, "by myself in 1827 ;;" displays such wonderful powers both of yet Aristotle had said repeatedly that it is patient observation and accurate scientific preferable when possible to have a sepa- reasoning, that this treatise deserves to rate organ for a separate office; and that be regarded as the most remarkable of all nature never, if she can help it, makes his remarkable works pertaining to biolone organ answer two purposes, as a cheap ogy. The subject-matter of it is not, how. artist makes “spit and candlestick in ever, suited to any detailed consideration one."

within the limits imposed by an article ; Again, that the complexity of life varies and therefore I will merely back the gen. with the complexity of organization; that eral opinion which I have just given by the structural differences of the alimen- quoting that of the most severe and extary organs are correlated with differences acting of all Aristotle's critics from the of the animal's alimentation ; that no ani- side of science severe and exacting, in. mal without lungs has a voice, and that no deed, to a degree which is frequently animal is endowed with more than one unjust; I mean the late George Henry adequate means of defence; that there is Lewes. This is what he says of the treatan inverse relation between the develop- ise on “ Generation : ment of horns and of teeth, as also between growth and generation; that no ancient and few modern works equal it in

It is an extraordinary production. No dipterous insect has a sting; that the em comprehensiveness of detail and profound bryo is evolved by a succession of gradual changes from a homogeneous mass into a

* Dr. W. Ogle, in his admirable work on Aristotle,

has already alluded to these and some of the other complete organism; that the development 1 points previously noticed.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

speculative insight. We there find some of Looking to the enormous range of his the obscurest problems of Biology treated work in biology alone; remembering that with a mastery which, when we consider the in this work he had had no predecessors; condition of Science at that day, is truly aston- considering that at the same time be was ishing. I know no better eulogy to pass thus a single-handed collector of facts, and on Aristotle than to compare his work with the “Exercitations concerning Generation”

a single-minded thinker upon their import; of our immortal Harvey. The founder of it becomes evident that Aristotle would modern physiology was a man of keen insight, have been something more than human, of patient research, of eminently scientific if either bis observations or his reasonmind. His work is superior to that of Aris- ings could everywhere be justly compared totle in some few anatomical details; but it is with those of scientific genius when more so inferior to it in philosophy, that at the favorably circumstanced. But it is the present day it is much more antiquated, much glory of Aristotle that both his observaless accordant with our views.

tions and bis reasonings can stand such I have now said enough to convey a comparison as well as they do. For when general idea of the enormous range of on the one hand we remember the immen. Aristotle's work within the four corners of sity of his achievement, and on the other biology; his amazing instincts of scientific hand reflect that he was worse than destimethod, and his immense power of grasp tute of any ancestral experience of method, ing generalizations. While doing this I born into a world of mysticism, nurtured have selected instances of his accuracy in the school of Plato, therefore compelled rather than of his inaccuracy, not only be himself to forge the intellectual instrucause it is in the former that he stands in ments of research, himself to create the most conspicuous contrast with all pre very conception of scientific inquiry, ceding, and with most succeeding, philos- when we thus remember and thus reflect, ophers of antiquity; but also because it is it appears to me there can be no question here that we may be most sure of accord- that Aristotle stands forth, not only as ing justice. Where we meet with state the greatest figure of antiquity, but as the ments of fact which are accurate, we may greatest intellect that has ever appeared be satisfied that we are in immediate con- upon the face of this earth. tact with the mind of Aristotle himself; The overmastering power with which but when we meet with inaccurate state- this intellect swayed the course of subsements we must not be so sure of this. quent thought was in one respect highly Not only is it probable that in the great beneficial to the interests of science; but majority of these cases he has been misled in another respect it was no less deleteriby erroneous information supplied to him ous. It was beneficial in so far as it reby travellers, fishermen, and others; but vealed to mankind the true method of there is good reason to suppose that in science as objective and not subjective. some places his MSS. may have been It was deleterious inasmuch as the very tampered with. These were hidden un. magnitude of its force reduced the intellect derground for the better part of two cen- of Europe for centuries afterwards to a turies, and when they were eventually condition of abject slavery. Nothing is brought to light, Apellicon, into whose more deleterious to the interests of scihands they fell, “ felt no scruples in cor- ence than undue regard to authority. Be. recting what had been worm-eaten, and fore all else the spirit of science must be supplying what was defective or illegi- free; it must be unfettered by the chains

of prejudice, whether these be forged by Thus, to quote Dr. Ogle, who suggests our own minds or manufactured for us by the view here taken: "Is it possible to the minds of others. Her only allegiance is believe that the same eye that has dis. that which she owes to nature; to man she tinguished the cetacea from the fishes, owes nothing, and here, as elsewhere, it is that had detected their hidden mammæ, impossible to serve two masters. Therediscovered their lungs, and recognized fore, the only use of authority in science the distinct character of their bones, is to furnish men of less ability with sug. should have been so blind as to fancy that gestions which, as suggestions, may propthe mouth of these animals was on the erly be considered more worthy of testing under surface of the body?” And so on by the objective methods on account of with other cases.

their parentage in the minds of genius. Inaccuracies of observation, however, But it is an evil day for science when such there must have been; and there must parentage is taken as in itself a sufficient have been inaccuracies of reasoning. warrant for the truth of the ideas which See Grote's Aristotle, 1, 51.

have been born of it; for then it is that

ble." *

6.

authority is allowed to usurp the place of much thought and hard labor. It must be verification; instead of her true motto, looked at as a first step, and judged with in“ Prove all things,” science thus adopts dulgence. You, my readers or hearers of its very opposite · Only believe.” my lectures, if you think I have done as much Now the whole history of science has as

can fairly be required for an initiatory been more or less blotted by this baleful start, as compared with more advanced de influence of authority which even in our have achieved, and pardon what I have left

partments of theory, will acknowledge what I own days is far from having been wholly for others to accomplish. expunged. But in no part of her history

GEORGE J. ROMANES. has this influence been exerted in any degree at all comparable with that which was thrown over her, like a shadow, by Aristotle. Partly owing to the magnitude of his genius, but still more, I think, to

From The Nineteenth Century. the predominance of the spirit in the dark

THE FATHER OF ALL THE GOATS. ages which regarded submission to author- It was not the search for forgotten sites ity as an intellectual virtue ; through all or treasures of marble, a passion which these ages stood to science the name of tempts so many learned and enterprising Aristotle in very much the same relation men to visit Asia Minor, but the desire to as stood to religion the name of God. His hunt a rock-haunting ibex, dwelling on writings on purely scientific subjects were certain mountain ranges in that country, regarded as well-nigh equivalent to a reve- which took me there with two companions lation; and, therefore, the study of nature at the end of last October. Once only became a mere study of Aristotle. There during the month which we spent in those was almost a total absence of any inde- regions did we leave this absorbing, pur. pendent inquiry in any one department of suit to pay a duty visit to the lime-laden science, and even in cases where the ut. waters, pink and white terraces, and earthterances of Aristotle were obscure, the quake-riven basilicas of the ancient baths men of intellect who disputed over his of Hierapolis. These pages have there. meanings never thought of appealing to fore, po higher purpose to serve than as nature herself for a solution. They could a brief record of a hunting-trip which I only view nature through the glasses which found very interesting, even though the had been given them by Aristotle ; and, results from a sporting point of view were therefore, the only questions with which rather inadequate. they troubled themselves were those as to The Capra Ægagrus is believed by the exact meaning of their oracle.

naturalists to have deserved the title with It is, of course, only fair to add that Aris- which I have headed this article beyond totle himself was in no way responsible for any other wild type of goat. Mentioned this evil effect of his work. The spirit in by Homer as being abundant in the which his work was thus received was quite Ægæan Islands, in some of which it still alien to that in which it had been accom-exists, its habitat ranges thence at the plished; and alike by precept and example present day from the Ægæan Sea, through he was himself the most noble opponent Asia Minor and Persia, into Afghanistan, of the former that the world has ever pro- and therefore in close proximity to the duced. And therefore I doubt not that if most forward civilizations of ancient times. Aristotle could have been brought back It is thus not surprising that the various to life during the Middle Ages, he would breeds of tame goat, however modified by have made short work of the Aristotelians, man, should in many respects “favor," as by himself becoming their bitterest foe. they say in the eastern countries, this anFor listen to his voice, which upon this cestry. The scimitar horn curving over as upon so many other matters speaks the back, the black shoulder-stripe of the with the spirit of truest philosophy - old males, the beard, not worn by all spespeaks, moreover with the honesty of a cies of ibex, are its most distinguisbiog great and beautiful nature ; let us listen characteristics. to what this master mind has told us of its As an old 'urk put it to me: “Why do own labors, and with a veneration more you come all the way from England to worthy than that of the Aristotelians let shoot a little goat not worth two medjids ? " us bow before the man who said these The truest answer would perhaps be that words:

the old “billy ” of the species who is caged I found no basis prepared; no models to at the Zoo is a particular friend of mine. copy. Mine is the first step, and there- His high-bred appearance and pugnacious fore a small one, though worked out with | habits, and the fact that he is occasionally,

[ocr errors]

a

when in his tantrums, chained up to avoid a great salt lake ten miles long and five his damaging attacks on his prison - miles broad, or rather an expanse of white damaging, that is, to his own handsome salt slime, for as we saw it, at the end of a head perhaps first suggested that he long drought, but a fraction of its surface was a gentleman of character whose ac- was covered with water, and that, whatquaintance it was desirable to make. Be ever the weather on the mountain, was that as it may, a hunting expedition to always as still as glass, reflecting the obtain this goat had long been among my white cliffs of the Suut Dagh or Milk keenly desired projects.

Mountain, three leagues away. If there By dint of pertinacious inquiry from the came a shower of rain, which happened few travellers who have sought out the later, it lay in a thin sheet of water over baunts of the animal I had an accurate the whole area and transformed it for the general knowledge of the ranges where time into the semblance of a bank-full he must be sought. But this second-hand | lake. learning would not have sufficed if I had In three places at the edge were swamps, not been assisted on the spot. With such where a scanty supply of undrinkable water zeal did her Majesty's vigorous represen- oozed from the base of the mountain and tative at Smyrna second my project, that was trodden into mud. For along this one would think that my success was of strip of plain was carried not only the international importance. Unfortunately newly opened railway, but an important for the extent of my bag, the limits of my caravan route, and trains of camels, donabsence from England -a rigid six week's keys, and bullock-carts with solid wooden

– precluded me from reaching the best wheels were continually passing. The ground, which is the chain of the Taurus harsh“ klonk-klonk” of innumerable wild forming the rock-bound southern coast of geese and the plaintive notes of curlew Asia Minor. Nearly a fortnight more of and plover constantly, arose from these my scanty time would have been con- swamps, and to them also must have come sumed in the to and fro of this journey, the ibex for their only drinking place, for and the cholera creeping up that coast the whole face of the mountain was as introduced an element of uncertain delay dry as a captain's biscuit. On one occasion which I could not afford to risk. I had, one of our followers saw some drinking therefore, to aim at the second best, which there in broad daylight. I knew to be a certain find. This was At sunrise a faint unpleasant odor al. called the Maimun Dagh or Monkey ways came up from these marshes, sug. Mountain, a small but isolated range on gestiog a liberal use of quinine; but we the Aidin railway, and about two hundred were assured that at this elevation - bemiles from the coast. I hoped that, once tween two thousand and three thousand on the spot, I should be able to hear of feet — we need not fear fever. While alternative ranges inhabited by this goat, pitching our camp, we were engaged in but, except to a very limited extent, this clearing the projecting stones from the did not prove to be so.

sites of the tepts. One of my followers The railway kings of Smyrna can do was busy over a particularly obstinate one most things that they wish, and, thanks to with his heavy iron-shod alpenstock, and their friendly co-operation, we reached at length turned up, with much labor, a Cbardak, a station close to one end of the large living, tortoise, which had buried mountain, five minutes under the week itself there for the winter. It lay on its from London, travelling via Athens; and back, meekly kicking its legs in the air, the return journey by Constantinople was while the Frenchman blushed up to the accomplished almost exactly in the same roots of his hair with surprise and dis. time. Here we were at one end of a pre. gust. Above, on the bigher rocks, were cipitous range seven or eight miles in great quantities of eagles and vultures. length. These cliffs rose abruptly from On one occasion I counted nine circling the plain to a height of about fifteen hun. close to me, and high above them a great dred feet, and at their base we pitched our crane wheeling in similar fashion, with his camp: An apgle in the rocks made an long legs sticking out behind as her excellent fireplace, and a little cave a con. ons at home are wont to carry theirs. The venient cellar where we kept our supply vultures had a curious habit of diving of water. This had to be brought to us straight into deep fissures in the cliffs and daily írom the nearest village, five miles disappearing with a clumsy plunge of off, for the mountain was, at the time of wings. Then they would waddle to the our visit, waterless. In front, a narrow outer edge and stretch out their cadaverstrip of plain divided us from the basin of ous white necks. Great quantities of LIVING AGE.

3778

[ocr errors]

VOL, LXXIII.

[ocr errors]

room.

partridges lived on the lower cliffs. Dur: broidered and sleeveless cloak that hung ing the heat of the day they lay close, and down his shoulders, that as the train drew were perfectly silent; but about an hour along the platform we “spotted ” him inbefore sunset they would all wake sud- stantly among the crowd, most of whom denly into life, as if at a given signal, could have played the stage-villain at a and begin strutting and talking so that moment's notice. Whatever Bouba's you might think it was No. 15 committee. crimes may have been — and they would

certainly have filled a book since bis Besides our three selves, my party com- wind got short, and for other reasons, he prised Celestin, my, constant companion had become a reformed if not a repentant on such trips, who has appeared before in character. We found him a solid and these pages, and Benjamin – both hailing reliable person, and good company withal. from the Pyrenees. Our following, as A popular favorite throughout that coudhappens on these trips, was rather a large try, his moral weight would certainly carry one, and the commissariat required some him in at the head of the poll if there were foresight and generalship, for the country a school board election. I never found does not produce much that is acceptable out his real name

“ Bouba

means fa. to European palates.

ther, and is simply a familiar term of affecOur cook, who was distinguished by the tion, much as you say “Grand Old Man." title of Hadji, having once visited Mecca, He would sit all day smoking cigarettes in seemed to think that all further effort in the teot, with a benign smile on his face, life was unnecessary, and that Providence but any little emergency galvanized the would send whatever it was fated that we phlegmatic cavass into an energetic leader should receive ; but his manners, I must of men whose word was law with high and say, were beautiful, and he had a sweet, low, and he never failed us. His Martini responsive smile. Omar, a fine young rifle was rarely laid aside, and he would Turk from the neighboring village, knew without doubt have used it in our behalf something about hunting, and I got very if necessary. It would have taken bim fond of him, though our communications some time to use up all his cartridges, were confined to dumb.crambo. During which he carried in an enormous belt right the whole trip. I only encountered one round his rather stout person. Turk whose behavior was rough. In. When he got to know us pretty well I deed, he was a Yuruk. The genuine Turk drew his story from him one night, with had nearly always the manners of a court the assistance of the Greek station-master. ier. This exception was Meflut, another He told it in a matter-of-fact style, without hunter of repute from Chardak, whom we apparent regret, and at the same time employed for certain drives, and whose without affectation or “side.” It was whole manner expressed the rooted opin- confirmed by people of authority ; besides, ion that dogs of Christians were oniy fit I never knew him to tell a lie. Very to act as stops for the likes of him; but likely he minimized his little escapades. even he softened to the diplomatic flat. “Why did you take to the mountains, teries of F., who addressed him persever. Bouba ?"" He gave a fat chuckle. “It irgly as “my pet lamb," my sucking- was because of a woman.

There was a dove."

My preconceived notions of girl that I was intimate with — I was very Christian and Turk received a rude shock. fond of her. A man came and took her Up here there were scarcely any native away. I went after him to his house and Christians, but nearer the coast they struck him.” (He did not say what be abounded. A more villainous-looking lot struck him with). “Two days after he I never saw, but it was 'probably only the happened to die. Then the authorities scum that gathered at the railway-sta- tried to catch me, but I was always escaptions, and one should not generalize in this ing out of the back door and coining back way.

at night. So when they found they could But I have still to describe the most not catch me they put my father in prison, important member of my staff. I had and then my brother; and I thought I had heard before my arrival that a “retired better go quite away. I was for one year brigand” had been secured for our ser- by myself about the mountains, picking vice and protection. This description was up what I could get. I could not at first literally true, but we had no reason to find any companions that were any good regret the selection. We picked up old for that sort of work. Then came the “ Bouba ” at a station on our journey in time for the conscription. Many ran away land; and so true to the character was his to escape being drawn, so I got some appearance and dress, including his em- good men. There were nine of us, and

[ocr errors]

" it

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »