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Title: Omphalos - An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot
Author: Gosse, Philip Henry
Language: English
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     [Greek: Auxanetai de ta zôa panta, osa echei omphalon, dia tou

     ARIST.; _Hist. Anim._ vii. 8.




"You have not allowed for the wind, Hubert," said Locksley, in
"Ivanhoe;" "or that had been a better shot."

I remember, when I was in Newfoundland, some five-and-twenty years ago,
the disastrous wreck of the brig _Elizabeth_, which belonged to the firm
in which I was a clerk. The master had made a good observation the day
before, which had determined his latitude some miles north of Cape St.
Francis. A thick fog coming on, he sailed boldly by compass, knowing
that, according to his latitude, he could well weather that promontory.
But lo! about midnight the ship plunged right against the cliffs of
Ferryland, thirty miles to the south, crushing in her bows to the
windlass; and presently went down, the crew barely saving their lives.
The captain _had not allowed for the polar current_, which was setting,
like a sluice, to the southward, between the Grand Bank and the land.

When it was satisfactorily ascertained that the heavenly body, now known
as Uranus, was a planet, its normal path was soon laid down according to
the recognised law of gravitation. But it would not take this path.
There were deviations and anomalies in its observed course, which could
in nowise be referred to the operation of any known principle.
Astronomers were sorely puzzled to explain the irregularities, and to
reconcile facts with laws. Various hypotheses were proposed: some denied
the facts; that is, the observed places of the planet, boldly assuming
that the observers had been in error: others suggested that perhaps the
physical laws, which had been supposed to govern the whole celestial
machinery, did not reach so far as Uranus's orbit. The secret is now

In each of these cases the conclusions were legitimately deduced from
the recognised premises. Hubert's skilled eye had calculated the
distance; his experience had taught him the requisite angle at which to
shoot, the exact amount of force necessary, and every other element
proper to insure the desired result, _except one_. There was an element
which he had overlooked; and it spoiled his calculations. _He had
forgotten the wind._

The master of the ill-fated brig had calculated his latitude correctly;
he knew the rate of his vessel's speed; the compass had showed him the
parallel on which to steer. These premises ought to have secured a safe
conclusion; and so they would, but for an unrecognised power that
vitiated all; he was not aware of the silent and secret current, that
was every hour setting him to the south of his supposed latitude.

The path of Uranus had been calculated by the astronomers with
scrupulous care, and every known element of disturbance had been
considered; not by one, but by many. But for the fact that the planet
had been previously seen in positions quite inconsistent with such a
path, it would have been set down as beyond controversy correct.
Stubborn fact, however, would not give way; and hence the dilemma, till
Le Verrier suggested the unseen antagonist.

I venture to suggest in the following pages an element, hitherto
overlooked, which disturbs the conclusions of geologists respecting the
antiquity of the earth. Their calculations are sound on the recognised
premises; _but they have not allowed for the Law of Prochronism in

The enunciation of this principle will lie in a nut-shell; the reader
will find it at p.124; or p.347. All the rest of the book is

I do not claim originality for the thought which I have here endeavoured
to work out. It was suggested to me by a Tract, which I met with some
dozen years ago, or more; the title of which I have forgotten: I am
pretty sure it was anonymous, but it was published by Campbell, of 1,
Warwick Square. Whether it is still in print I do not know; I never saw
another copy. If the author is alive, and if he should happen to cast
his eye on this volume, he will doubtless recognise his own bantling,
and accept this my acknowledgment.

The germ of the argument, however, I have found, since these pages were
written, in "The Mineral and Mosaical Geologies," of Granville Penn
(1822). The state of physical science when he wrote did not enable him
to press the argument to a demonstration, as I have endeavoured to do;
for he could not refer to structural peculiarities as sensible records
of past processes, _inseparable from newly created organisms_.

I would not be considered as an opponent of geologists; but rather as a
co-searcher with them after that which they value as highly as I do,
TRUTH. The path which I have pursued has led me to a conclusion at
variance with theirs. I have a right to expect that it be weighed; let
it not be imputed to vanity if I hope that it may be accepted.

But what I much more ardently desire is, that the thousands of thinking
persons, who are scarcely satisfied with the extant reconciliations of
Scriptural statements and Geological deductions,--who are silenced but
not convinced,--may find, in the principle set forth in this volume, a
stable resting-place. I have written it in the constant prayer that the
God of Truth will deign so to use it; and if He do, to Him be all the

P. H. G.


_October, 1857_.




     Evidence of the Senses often delusive--Deductions of Reason
     fallible--Essentials sometimes overlooked--Discrepancy
     between Scripture and Geological Conclusions--Painful
     Dilemma--Efforts to escape from it--Supremacy of
     Truth--Various Attempts at Reconciliation--Denouncers--Opinions
     of Brown--Blackwood--Macbrair--Ure--Penn--Young--Cockburn--
     Conybeare--Hitchcock--Pye Smith--"Protoplast"--Babbage--
     Powell--"Vestiges"--Amplitude of Choice                    _Page_ 1-29



     A Court of Inquiry--The Witnesses--Testimony of One--Strata
     of Thames Tunnel--of Hertfordshire--of Yorkshire--of the
     Globe--Granite--Granitic Strata--Organic Remains--Silurian
     System--Corals--Trilobites--Mollusks--Devonian System--Old
     Red Sandstone--Its Formation--Fishes--Carboniferous
     System--Coral Limestone--Millstone Grit--Coal--Predominance
     of Carbonic Acid--Extent and Thickness of
     Coal-Fields--Formation of Coal--Conjecture as to its
     Age--Antediluvian Theory untenable--Sauroid Fishes--Earliest
     Reptiles--Footprints of Frogs                                    30-53


THE SAME--(_continued_.)

     Disturbances of Strata--Internal Heat--Changes of Land and
     Sea--New Red Sandstone--Footprints--Labyrinthodon--Lias
     Archipelago--Oolitic Formation--Cycads--Megalosaur--
     Mammal--Chalk Formation--Infusoria--Diatomaceæ--Their
     Minuteness and Numbers--Chambered Cephalopods--Mosasaur--End
     of Secondary Formations--Convulsions--Basalt--Uprearing of
     Mountain Chains--London Clay--Plants and
     of Europe--Dinotherium--Mastodon--Mammoth--Trees--Crag
     Formation--Tertiary Fauna--Bone Caves--Kirkdale--Erratic
     Beaches--Human Period--Moho--Present Cosmical
     Operations--River Deltas--Coral Beefs--Volcanoes--Changes of
     Level--Earthy Deposits--Stalagmite--Shells--Recapitulation.     54-101



     Grandeur of the Evidence--Proposed Line of Objection--It is
     but circumstantial--Example of Confusion of
     Thought--Analysis of the Reasoning---Dependent on the
     exhaustive Power of Observation--Relation of Precedence and
     Sequence--Of Cause and Effect--Force of my Position.           102-109



     The Creation of Matter--The Persistence of Species.            110-112



     The Course of Nature a Circle--Illustrations--Scarlet
     of the Law--Creation an Irruption into a Circle--False
     Witness to Past Processes--Prochronism and
     Diachronism--Phenomena illusory--Recapitulation                113-126




     Ideal Tour on Creation-Day--Chronological
     Investigations--Queried Age of a Tree-fern--Data for the
     Inquiry--Development of the Leaves--Leaf-scars--Report--Its
     manifest Error--Selaginella--Bamboo--
     Palm--Areca--Rattan--Agave--Traveller's Tree--Butterfly
     of the Inquiry--Uniform Testimony to Untruth                  127-181



(_Invertebrate Animals._)

    Resumption of the Examination--SeaPen--Millepore--
    Venus--Scorpion Stromb--Tiger Cowry--Thorny Murex--Pearly
    Nautilus--Cuttlefish                                            182-239



(_Vertebrate Animals._)

     Examination of the Vertebrata--Sword-fish--Gilt-head--
     Laminæ of Scales--Shark--Arrangement of Teeth--Their
     Crocodile--Tortoise--Laminæ of Plates--Skull of
     Cassowary--Peacock--Humming-bird--Trogon--Structure and
     Growth of Feathers--Whalebone of Whale--Horn of Ibex--Horn
     of Stag--Teeth of Horse--Of Babiroussa--Of
     Hippopotamus--Tusk of Elephant--Molars of Elephant             240-273




     Examination of Primal Man--Blood--Its Formation--Its
     Oxygenation--Nails--Hair--Bones--Teeth--All formed by
     successive Processes--Stature--Thyroid
     Cartilage--Beard--Development of Teeth--Proportion of
     Bloods--Condition of Skeleton--Navel--False Conclusion         274-291




     Assumption of adult Development at Creation--Its
     Reasonableness--The Position waived--Assumption of the
     Germ-Hypothesis--Double Cocoa-nut--Coral
     Tree--Tulip--Earth-pea--Mangrove--Medusa--Connexion of Germs
     with Parent--In Echinoderms--In Annelids--In Insects--Egg of
     Butterfly--Of Nut Weevil--Of Bots--Of Ichneumon--Of Pill
     Chafer--Of Gall-fly--Of Lace-fly--Of Spider--Of Gipsy
     Moth--Of Coccus--Of Saw-fly--Of Cockroach--Of
     Dirt-dauber--Metamorphosis of Star-fish--Eggs attached to
     Brachionus--Viviparous Progeny of Rotifer--Of Asplanchna--Of
     Daphnia--Egg-purse of Shark--Economy of Surinam Toad--Egg of
     Fowl--Foetus of Kangaroo--Umbilicus                            292-334



     Uniformity of Results--Prochronism of Organic
     Nature--Phenomena inadequate to settle Chronology--Historic
     Testimony alone oracular--Familiar Illustration--Objections
     met--Analogy between an Organism and a World--Illustration
     from a Tree--Analogy between the Life of a Species and that
     of an Individual--History Divinely Projected--Grand Plan of
     Nature--Diachronic Existence not necessary--Deceptive
     Phenomena inseparable from Created Organisms--Illustrations
     abundant--Hypothesis of the Life-history of the
     Globe--Supposition of 1857 being the Era of Creation--What
     its State?--Minuteness and Verity of Proofs of Life present
     no Difficulty--Coprolites--Fæcal Residua in newly-created
     Animals--_Cyclical_ not _Organic_ Condition the Test of
     Prochronism--Illustrations from the inorganic
     World--Rivers--Ocean Currents--Celestial Bodies--Velocity of
     Light--Records of Entities actually passed--"No Tree has
     Leaves"--Plates of Testudinaria--Leaf-scars of Palm--Column
     of Nerita--Spines of Murex--Madreporic Plate of
     Cribella--Hilum of Seed--Navel of Mammal--Argument of "Great
     and Small"--Old Hypothesis of _Lusus Naturæ_--Demonstration
     of a Law--Effect of this Principle on the Study of
     Geology--Summing up                                            335-372



Geological Section of Yorkshire                                       35
Calymene Blumenbachii                                                 41
Cephalaspis                                                           44
Labyrinthodon                                                         57
Snake-necked Marine Lizards                                           59
Megalosaurus Bucklandi                                                61
Bat-lizards                                                           62
Hylæosaurus armatus                                                   63
Mammoth                                                               74
Moho                                                                  84
Germination of Scarlet-runner                                        114
Diagram of Bean                                                      116
"  Fern                                                              117
"  Hawkmoth                                                          119
"  Polype                                                            120
"  Cow                                                               121
Leaf-scars of Tree-fern                                              132
Roots of Iriartea                                                    139
Traveller's Tree                                                     148
Corm of Gladiolus                                                    153
Section of Lily-bulb                                                 157
Testudinaria                                                         159
Encephalartos                                                        162
Twig of Tulip-tree                                                   167
Young Plant of Loranthus                                             171
Silk-cotton Tree                                                     175
Section of Exogenous Tree                                            179
Muricated Madrepore                                                  185
Organ-pipe                                                           187
Comatula and Young                                                   194
Serpula                                                              200
Goliath Beetle and Pupa case                                         206
Larva of Case-fly                                                    209
Melicerta                                                            210
Lepas                                                                218
Botryllus                                                            224
Clavagella                                                           226
Dione Veneris                                                        228
Murex tenuispina                                                     233
Scale of Gilt-head                                                   242
Plates of Tortoise                                                   251
Growth of a Feather                                                  254
Horns of Stag                                                        258
Skull of Babiroussa                                                  262
Skull of Hippopotamus                                                265
Skull of Elephant                                                    267
Growth of Hair                                                       278
Section of Human Tooth                                               282
Garden Tulip                                                         298
Germination of Earth-pea                                             300
Seed of Mangrove                                                     303
Lace-fly and Eggs                                                    312
Brachionus with Eggs                                                 322
Pregnant Asplanchna                                                  323
Hen's Egg                                                            329
Gyroceras                                                            371




"Is there not a cause?"--1 SAM. xvii. 29.

An eminent philosopher has observed that "nothing can be more common or
frequent than to appeal to the evidence of the senses as the most
unerring test of physical effects. It is by the organs of sense, and by
these alone, that we can acquire any knowledge of the qualities of
external objects, and of their mutual effects when brought to act one
upon another, whether mechanically, physically, or chemically; and it
might, therefore, not unreasonably be supposed, that what is called the
evidence of the senses must be admitted to be conclusive, as to all the
phenomena developed by such reciprocal action.

"Nevertheless, the fallacies are numberless into which those are led who
take what they consider the immediate results of sensible impressions,
without submitting them to the severe control and disciplined analysis
of the understanding."[1]

If this verdict is confessedly true with regard to many observations
which we make on things immediately present to our senses, much more
likely is it to be true with respect to conclusions which are not "the
immediate results of sensible impressions," but are merely deduced by a
process of reasoning from such impressions. And if the direct evidence
of our senses is to be received with a prudent reserve, because of this
possibility of error, even when we have no evidence of an opposing
character, still more necessary is the exercise of caution in judging of
facts assumed to have occurred at a period far removed from our own
experience, and which stand in contradiction (at least apparent, _primâ
facie_, contradiction) to credible historic testimony. Nay, the caveat
acquires a greatly intensified force, when the testimony with which the
assumed facts are, or seem to be, at variance, is no less a testimony
than His who ordained the "facts," who made the objects of
investigation; the testimony of the Creator of all things; the testimony
of Him who is, from eternity to eternity, "[Greek: HO APSEUDÊS THEOS]"!

I hope I shall not be deemed censorious in stating my fear that those
who cultivate the physical sciences are not always sufficiently mindful
of the "_Humanum est errare_." What we have investigated with no little
labour and patience, what we have seen with our eyes many many times, in
many aspects, and under many circumstances, we naturally believe firmly;
and we are very prone to attach the same assurance of certainty to the
inferences we have, _bonâ fide_, and with scrupulous care to eliminate
error, deduced from our observations, as to the observations themselves;
and we are apt to forget that some element of error may have crept into
our actual investigations, and still more probably into our deductions.
Even if our observations be so simple, so patent, so numerous, as
_almost_ to preclude the possibility of mistake in them, and our process
of reasoning from them be without a flaw, still we may have overlooked a
principle, which, though perhaps not very obvious, ought to enter into
the investigation, and which, if recognised, would greatly modify our

In this volume I venture to suggest such a principle to the
consideration of geologists. It will not be denied that Geology is a
science that stands peculiarly in need of being cultivated with that
salutary self-distrust that I have above alluded to. Though a strong and
healthy child, it is as yet but an infant. The objects on which its
senses have been exercised, its [Greek: ta blepomena], are indeed plain
enough and numerous enough, when once discovered; but the inferences
drawn from them, its [Greek: bebaia], find their sphere in the most
venerably remote antiquity,--an antiquity mensurable not by years or
centuries, but by _secula seculorum_. And the dicta, which its votaries
rest on as certitudes, are at variance with the simple literal sense of
the words of God.

I am not assuming here that the Inspired Word has been rightly read; I
merely say that the plain straightforward meaning, the meaning that lies
manifestly on the face of the passages in question, is in opposition
with the conclusions which geologists have formed, as to the antiquity
and the genesis of the globe on which we live.

Perhaps the simple, superficial sense of the Word is not the correct
one; but it is at least that which its readers, learned and unlearned,
had been generally content with before; and which would, I suppose,
scarcely have been questioned, but for what appeared the exigencies of
geological facts.

Now while there are, unhappily, not a few infidels, professed or
concealed, who eagerly seize on any apparent discrepancy between the
works and the Word of God, in order that they may invalidate the truth
of the latter, there are, especially in this country, many names of the
highest rank in physical (and, among other branches, in geological)
science, to whom the veracity of God is as dear as life. They cannot
bear to see it impugned; they know that it cannot be overthrown; they
are assured that He who gave the Word, and He who made the worlds, is
One Jehovah, who cannot be inconsistent with Himself. But they cannot
shut their eyes to the startling fact, that the records which _seem_
legibly written on His created works do flatly contradict the statements
which _seem_ to be plainly expressed in His word.

Here is a dilemma. A most painful one to the reverent mind! And many
reverent minds have laboured hard and long to escape from it. It is
unfair and dishonest to class our men of science with the infidel and
atheist. They did not rejoice in the dilemma; they saw it at first
dimly, and hoped to avoid it.[2] At first they believed that the mighty
processes which are recorded on the "everlasting mountains" might not
only be harmonized with, but might afford beautiful and convincing
demonstrations of Holy Scripture. They thought that the deluge of Noah
would explain the stratification, and the antediluvian era account for
the organic fossils.

As the "stone book" was further read, this mode of explanation appeared
to many untenable; and they retracted their adherence to it. To a mind
rightly constituted, Truth is above every thing: there is no such thing
as a pious fraud; the very idea is an impious lie: God is light, and in
Him is no darkness at all; and that religion which can be maintained
only by dissembling or denying truth, cannot proceed from "Him that is
Holy, Him that is True," but from him who "is a liar, and the father of

Many upright and ardent cultivators of the young science felt that truth
would be compromised by a persistence in those explanations which had
hitherto passed current. The discrepancy between the readings in Science
and the hitherto unchallenged readings in Scripture, became manifest.
Partisans began to array themselves on either side; some, jealous for
the honour of God, knew little of science, and rushed into the field
ill-prepared for the conflict; some, jealous for science, but little
conversant with Scripture, and caring less for it, were willing to throw
overboard its authority altogether: others, who knew that the writings
were from the same Hand, knew therefore that there must be some way of
reconciling them, and set themselves to find it out.

Have they succeeded? If I thought so, I would not publish this book.
Many, I doubt not, have been convinced by each of the schemes by which
the discrepant statements have been sought to be harmonized. Each of
them has had sufficient plausibility to convince its propounder; and,
probably, others too. And some of them have attained a large measure of
public confidence. Yet if any one of them is true, it certainly has not
commanded universal assent. Let us examine how far they agree among
themselves, who propose to reconcile Scripture and Science, "the Mosaic
and the Mineral Geologies."

And first, it is, perhaps, right to represent the opinions of those who
stand by the literal acceptation of the Divine Word. There have been
some, indeed, who refuse to entertain the question of reconciliation,
taking the high ground that, as the Word of God is and must be true, it
is impious to set any evidence in competition with it. I cannot but say,
my sympathies are far more with these than with those who, at the
opposite pole of the argument, would make scientific deduction
paramount, and make the Word go to the wall. But, then, we ought to be
quite sure that we have got the very Word of God; and, so far from being
impious, it seems highly proper and right, when conflicting evidence
appears to flow out of what is indubitably God's _work_, to examine
afresh the witnesses on both sides, that we may not make either testify
what it does not.

Those good men who merely _denounce_ Geology and geologists, I do not
quote. There are the facts, "written and engraven in stones," and that
by the finger of God. How can they be accounted for?

Some have recourse to the assumption that the natural processes by
which changes in the earth's surface are now going on, may have operated
in antediluvian times with a rapidity and power of which we can form
little conception from what we are cognisant of. The Rev. J. Mellor
Brown takes this ground, adducing the analogies of steam-power and
electricity, as effecting in a few moments or hours, what formerly would
have required several days or weeks to accomplish.

"God's most tremendous agencies may have been employed in the beginning
of his works. If, for instance, it should be conceded that the granitic
or basaltic strata were once in a state of fusion, there is no reason
why we should not call in the aid of supposition to produce a _rapid_
refrigeration. We may surround the globe with an atmosphere (not as yet
warmed by the rays of the newly kindled sun) more intensely cold than
that of Saturn. The degree of cold may have been such as to cool down
the liquid granite and basalt in a few hours, and render it congenial to
animal and vegetable life; while the gelid air around the globe may have
been mollified by the abstracted caloric."[3]

A writer in Blackwood (xli. 181; xlii. 690), in like manner, adheres to
the literal sense of Genesis and the Decalogue, and alludes to
"the great agencies--the magnetic, electrical, and ethereal
influences--probably instrumental in all the phenomena of nature," as
being far more powerful than is generally suspected.

Mr. Macbrair--who does not, however, appear, from the amount of his
acquaintance with science, competent to judge of the physical
evidence--supposes stratification to have proceeded with immense
rapidity, because limestone is now deposited in some waters at the rate
of six inches per annum. Because a mass of timber, ten miles in length,
was collected in the Mississippi, in thirty-eight years, he considers
that a "capital coal field" might be formed in a single century.
Alluvial strata are mud lavas ejected from volcanoes. The whole
difficulty of fossil remains is got rid of by ignoring the distinctions
of species, and assuming that the ancient animals and the recent ones
are identical. The Pterodactyle and the Plesiosaurus he does not allude

According to Dr. Ure,--"The demiurgic week ... is manifestly composed of
six working days like our own, and a day of rest, each of equal length,
and, therefore, containing an evening and a morning, measured by the
rotation of the earth round its axis.... Neither reason nor revelation
will justify us in extending the origin of the material system beyond
six thousand years from our own days. The world then received its
substance, form, and motions from the volition of the Omnipotent."

His theory of the stratification extends over the whole antediluvian
era. He supposes that successive irruptions of the central heat broke up
the primitive strata and deposited the secondary and tertiary. "The
basaltic or trap phenomena lead to the conclusion that such upheavings
and subversions were not confined to one epoch of the antediluvian
world, but that, coeval with its birth, they pervaded the whole period
of its duration.... The Deluge--that universal transflux of the
ocean--was the last and greatest of these terraqueous convulsions."[5]

Another class of this school of interpreters refers the stratification
of the earth, either to the deluge alone, or to that convulsion
conjoined with the one which is considered to have taken place on the
third day of the Mosaic narrative. Perhaps the most eminent writer of
this class is Mr. Granville Penn, whose opinions may be thus condensed.

He supposes that this globe has undergone only two revolutions. The
first was the violent rupture and depression of the surface to become
the bed of the sea, and the simultaneous elevation of the other portion
to become dry land,--the theatre of terrestrial existence. This first
revolution took place before the creation of any organized beings. The
second revolution was at the Noachic Flood, when the former bed of the
sea was elevated to become the dry land, with all its organic
accumulations of sixteen centuries, while the former land was
correspondingly depressed and overflowed. "The earth must, therefore,
necessarily exhibit manifest and universal evidences of the vast
apparent ruin occasioned by its first violent disruption and depression;
of the presence and operation of the marine fluid, during the long
interval which succeeded; and of the action and effects of that fluid in
its ultimate retreat."[6]

Mr. Fairholme[7] so nearly agrees with the above, that I need not quote
his opinions in detail.

Another class, represented by Dr. Young and the Rev. Sir W. Cockburn,
Dean of York, have maintained with considerable power, backed by no mean
geological knowledge, that the deluge is a sufficient _vera causa_ for
the stratification of the globe, and for the fossilization of the
organic remains.

Dr. Young supposes that an equable climate prevailed all over the globe
in the antediluvian period. "Were the highest mountains transferred to
the equatorial regions, the most extensive oceans removed towards the
poles, and fringed with a border of archipelago,--while lands of
moderate height occupied most of the intermediate spaces, between these
archipelagos and the equatorial mountains; then a temperature, almost
uniform, would prevail throughout the world." This "perpetual summer"
would account for the prodigious quantities of animal and vegetable
remains:--every region teemed with life.

At the Flood, "the bed of the ocean must have been elevated, and the dry
land at the same time depressed," an expansive force acting from below
to heave up the ocean's bed. To this agency are attributed the vast
masses of granite, gneiss, basalt, and other rocks of igneous origin,
which seem to have been forced upwards in a state of fusion, into their
present lofty stations. The ancient bed of the ocean may have consisted
of numerous layers of sand, clay, lime, and other substances, including
corals and marine shells,--to a certain degree consolidated into rocks.
By the progressive rising of the waters and the currents so made, fresh
materials would be conveyed to the depths of the ocean, so that the
magnesian limestone, the saliferous beds, the lias, &c., would be

The Dean of York, in like manner, considers that the convulsions
produced by the Deluge, are sufficient to account for all the
stratification and fossil remains. That the gradual rise of the waters,
and their penetration into the recesses of the rocks, would cause
successive volcanic eruptions; the earlier of which would inclose marine
fishes and reptiles; then others in turn, the pachyderms and great
reptiles of the plains; and, finally, the creatures more exclusively
terrestrial. That these repeated heavings of mighty volcanoes raised
great part of what had been the bottom of the sea, above its level, and
that hence the present land had been for sixteen centuries under water.
That the animals which entered the ark, were not selected till after
many species had already perished in the earlier convulsions, and hence
the number of extinct species now exhumed.[9]

My reader will kindly bear in mind that I am not examining these
opinions; I adduce them as examples of the diversity of judgment that
still prevails on a question which some affect to consider as settled
beyond the approach of doubt.

A totally different solution of the difficulty has been sought in the
hypothesis, that the six "days" of the Inspired Record signify six
successive periods of immense though of undefined duration. This opinion
is as old as the Fathers at least,[10] and not a few able maintainers of
it belong to our own times. It has been put forth, however, with most
power, by a late lamented geologist, whose wonderful vigour of
description and felicity of illustration, have done, perhaps, more than
the efforts of any other living man, to render his favourite science

Perhaps I can scarcely set his views in a more striking light than he
himself has done in his own peculiarly graphic report of a conversation,
which he sustained with some humble inquirers in the Paleontological
Gallery of the British Museum.

"I last passed," says Mr. Hugh Miller, "through this wonderful gallery
at the time when the attraction of the Great Exhibition had filled
London with curious visitors from all parts of the empire; and a group
of intelligent mechanics, fresh from some manufacturing town in the
midland counties, were sauntering on through its chambers immediately
before me. They stood amazed beneath the dragons of the Oolite and Lias;
and, with more than the admiration and wonder of the disciples of old,
when contemplating the huge stones of the Temple, they turned to say, in
almost the old words, 'Lo! master, what manner of great beasts are
these?' 'These are,' I replied, 'the sea-monsters and creeping things of
the second great period of organic existence.' The reply seemed
satisfactory, and we passed on together to the terminal apartments of
the range appropriated to the tertiary organisms. And there, before the
enormous mammals, the mechanics again stood in wonder, and turned to
inquire. Anticipating the query, I said, 'And these are the huge beasts
of the earth, and the cattle of the third great period of organic
existence; and yonder in the same apartment, you see, but at its farther
end, is the famous fossil Man of Guadaloupe, locked up by the
petrifactive agencies in a slab of limestone.' The mechanics again
seemed satisfied; and, of course, had I encountered them in the first
chamber of the suite, and had they questioned me respecting the
organisms with which _it_ is occupied, I would have told them that they
were the remains of the herbs and trees of the _first_ great period of
organic existence. But in the chamber of the mammals we parted, and I
saw them no more."[11]

A large and influential section of the students of Geology regard this
hypothesis as untenable. Generally they may be described as holding that
the history which is recorded in the igneous and fossiliferous strata
does not come into the sacred narrative in any shape. As, however, that
narrative commences with "the beginning," and comes down to historic
times, the facts so recorded must find their chronology within its
bounds. Their place is accordingly fixed by this school of
interpretation between the actual primordial creation (Gen. i. 1), and
the chaotic state (ver. 2).

Let us hear an able and eloquent geologist, Professor Sedgwick, on the
hypothesis just mentioned of the elongation of the six days:--

"They [certain excellent Christian writers on the subject of Geology]
have not denied the facts established by this science, nor have they
confounded the nature of physical and moral evidence; but they have
prematurely (and, therefore, without an adequate knowledge of all the
facts essential to the argument) endeavoured to bring the natural
history of the earth into a literal accordance with the Book of Genesis;
first, by greatly extending the periods of time implied by the six days
of creation; and secondly, by endeavouring to show that under this new
interpretation of its words, the narrative of Moses may be supposed to
comprehend, and to describe in order, the successive epochs of Geology.
It is to be feared that truth may, in this way, receive a double injury;
and I am certain that the argument just alluded to has been
unsuccessful."--"We must consider the old strata of the earth as
monuments of a date long anterior to the existence of man, and to the
times contemplated in the moral records of his creation."[12]

Many able theologians, who, though well acquainted with natural science,
can scarcely be considered as geologists, have been satisfied with this
solution of the problem.

Thus Sharon Turner:--

"What interval occurred between the first creation of the material
substance of our globe, and the mandate for light to descend upon it,
whether months, years, or ages, is not in the slightest degree noticed
[in the Sacred Record]. Geology may shorten or extend its duration, as
it may find proper."[13]

Thus the present Archbishop of Canterbury:--

"We are not called upon to deny the possible existence of previous
worlds, from the wreck of which our globe was organized, and the ruins
of which are now furnishing matter for our curiosity."[14]

Thus Dr. Chalmers:--

"The present economy of terrestrial things was raised about six thousand
years ago on the basis of an earth then without form and void; while,
for aught of information we have in the Bible, the earth itself may
before this time have been the theatre of many lengthened processes, the
dwelling-place of older economies that have now gone by, but whereof the
vestiges subsist even to the present day, both to the needless alarm of
those who befriend Christianity, and the unwarrantable triumph of those
who have assailed it."[15]

Thus Dr. Harris:--

"The first verse of Genesis was designed to announce the absolute
origination of the material universe by the Almighty Creator; and,
passing by an indefinite interval, the second verse describes the state
of our planet immediately prior to the Adamic creation; and the third
verse begins the account of the six days' work."[16]

Thus Mr. Gray:--

"That an antecedent state of the earth existed before the recorded
Mosaical epoch, will clearly come out to view by the consideration of
the terms used in the second verse. There was at that period, according
to the express Mosaic record, anterior to the six days' reduction into
order, _existing earth_ and _existing water_."[17]

Probably the majority of our ablest geologists, men who have devoted
their lives to the study and elucidation of geological phenomena, are to
be found among those who advocate this scheme of reconciling those
phenomena with the statements of the Holy Scriptures. Thus one of the
earliest cultivators of the science, the Rev. Dr. Conybeare:--

"I regard Gen. i. 1 as an universal proposition, intended to contradict
all the heathen systems which supposed the eternity of matter or
polytheism; and ver. 2 I regard as proceeding to take up our planet in a
state of ruin from a former condition, and describing a succession of
phenomena effected in part by the laws of nature (which are no more
than our expression of God's observed method of working), and in part by
the immediate exercise of Divine power in directing and creating."[18]

Dr. Hitchcock, President of Amherst College, U.S., gives in his adhesion
to this principle. After summing up the evidence in favour of the
earth's high antiquity, he inquires, "Who will hesitate to say that it
ought to settle the interpretation of the first verse of Genesis, in
favour of that meaning which allows an intervening period between the
creation of matter and the creation of light? This interpretation of
Genesis is entirely sufficient to remove all apparent collision between
Geology and revelation. It gives the geologist full scope for his
largest speculations concerning the age of the world. It permits him to
maintain that its first condition was as unlike to the present as
possible, and allows him time enough for all the changes of mineral
constitution and organic life which its strata reveal. It supposes that
all these are passed over in silence by the sacred writers, because
irrelevant to the object of revelation; but full of interest and
instruction to the men of science who should afterwards take pleasure
in exploring the works of God.

"It supposes the six days' work of creation to have been confined
entirely to the fitting up the world in its present condition, and
furnishing it with its present inhabitants. Thus, while it gives the
widest scope to the geologist, it does not encroach upon the
literalities of the Bible; and hence it is not strange that it should be
almost universally adopted by geologists, as well as by many eminent

Dr. Pye Smith, accepting the immense undefined interval between the
event of the first verse, and the condition chronicled in the second,
held the somewhat remarkable opinion that the term "earth" in that
verse, and throughout the whole description of the six days, is
"designed to express the part of our world which God was adapting for
the dwelling of man and the animals connected with him." And that
portion he conceived to have been "a part of Asia, lying between the
Caucasian ridge, the Caspian Sea, and Tartary on the north, the Persian
and Indian Seas on the south, and the high mountain ridges which run at
considerable distances on the eastern and western flank."

The whole of the six days' creation was confined, on this hypothesis, to
the re-stocking, with plants and animals, of this limited region after
an inundation caused by its subsidence. The flood of Noah was nothing
more than a second overflowing of the same region, by "an elevation of
the bed of the Persian and Indian Seas, or a subsidence of the inhabited
land towards the south."[20]

The author of "The Protoplast" has made the very original suggestion,
that the geological periods may have occurred during the paradisaical
condition of man, which he thinks was of an indefinitely protracted
duration, human chronology commencing at the Fall.

"We have no data in Scripture from which to gather certain information,
and Adam may have lived unfallen _one day_, or _millions of years_." The
years of the first man's mortal life began to be reckoned when his
immortality ceased. He was nine hundred and thirty years _old_:[21] he
had been nine hundred and thirty years gradually decaying, slowly

"It may, indeed, be said that no man could have survived those
convulsions of nature, of which traces have been discovered in the
earth's crust. I would reply to this;--First, that we have no reason to
suppose that these changes affected the whole globe _at once_; they may
have been _partial and successive_; and the world's Eden may have been a
spot peculiarly exempted from their influence. Secondly, that Adam's
body before the fall was not constituted as ours now are; it was
incorruptible and immortal: physical phenomena could have had no
deleterious effect upon him." "Why should we find any difficulty in
supposing that the geological changes which appear to have passed upon
the globe, _after_ its creation, and _before_ its curse, were to the
first man sources of ever-renewing admiration, delight, and advantage?

"Inclining to the belief that both the animal fell and the animal curse
were considerably antecedent to the sin of Adam, I see no difficulty in
the admission, that animal death may also have prevailed prior to that

While all those writers whose opinions I have cited, feel it more or
less incumbent on them to seek a reconciliation between the words of
Inspiration and the phenomena of Geology, there are not a few who
decline the task altogether. Some eminent in science seem, by their
entire avoidance of the question, to allow judgment to go by default.
Others more boldly deny that the two can be accommodated.

Mr. Babbage appears to think the archaic Hebrew so insuperably obscure a
language, that no confidence can be put in our constructions of its
statements; an opinion which, if true, would make the revelation of God
to us, with all its glorious types, and promises, and prophecies, more
dubious than the readings of Egyptian papyri, or the decipherment of
Assyrian cuneiforms.

On this notion, however, Dr. Pye Smith observes:--"All competent
scholars, of whatever opinions and parties they may be in other
respects, will agree to reject any imputation of uncertainty with
respect to the means of ascertaining the sense of the language."

Others find no difficulty in understanding the Hebrew, but in believing

Professor Baden Powell sees in the plain, unvarnished narrative of the
Holy Spirit, only myth and poetry: it "was not intended for an
historical narrative" at all; and he thinks (I hope incorrectly), that
there is a pretty general agreement with his views.

"Most rational persons," he says, "now acknowledge the failure of the
various attempts to reconcile the difficulty [between Geology and
Scripture] by any kind of verbal interpretation; they have learnt to see
that the 'six days of thousands of years' have, after all, no more
correspondence with anything in Geology than with any sane
interpretation of the text. And that the 'immense period at the
beginning,' followed by a recent literal great catastrophe, and final
reconstruction in a week, is, if possible, more strangely at variance
with science, Scripture, and common sense. Yet while they [viz. the
'rational persons,'] thus view the labours of the Bible-geologists as
fruitless attempts, they often do not see--," &c. &c.[23]

Of course this gives up the authority of Scripture altogether; and,
consistently enough, the author is severe upon the prevalent
"indiscriminate and unthinking Bibliolatry." "If in any instance the
letter of the narrative or form of expression may be found
_irreconcilably at variance with physical truth_,[24] we may allow, to
those who prefer it, the alternative of understanding them either as
religious truths, represented under sensible images, or as descriptions
of events according to the preconceptions of the writers, or the
traditions of the age."

The author of "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" propounds a
theory of organic origin much more worthy of God, than that "mean view,"
which supposes Him "to come in on frequent occasions with new fiats or
special interferences." Coolly bowing aside His authority, this writer
has hatched a scheme, by which the immediate ancestor of Adam was a
Chimpanzee, and his remote ancestor a Maggot!

       *       *       *       *       *

In reviewing this array of opinions, is there not sufficient ground for
regarding with caution the claim to certainty which has been boldly put
forth for the conclusions of Geology? It cannot be denied that there is
here room for a very considerable amplitude of choice among discordant
hypotheses. All cannot be true, unless on the principle which was
claimed for the Church by the Council of Trent--"_Cum enim ecclesia
duarum expositionum ubertate gaudeat, non esse eam ad unius penuriam
restrigendam!_" I do not for a moment intend to put all these hypotheses
and assumptions on the same level. They vary widely as to their
tenableness, and as to their prevalence. But if we leave out of view the
fears of those who, from insufficient acquaintance with science, are not
competent to adjudicate on its positions, and those who despise or
decline Biblical authority altogether on this subject, we have still a
somewhat wide range to choose from. Shall we accept the _antediluvian_,
or the _diluvian_ stratification? the six _ages_ or the six _days_ of
creation? the irruptions of internal fire that occurred chiliads _before
Man was made_--those during his protracted _paradisaic state_, or those
at the time _of the Flood_?--the extension of the Mosaic record _to
universal nature_, or its limitation to a region of _south-western

I am not blaming, far less despising, the efforts that have been made
for harmonizing the teachings of Scripture and science. I heartily
sympathise with them. What else could good men do? They could not shut
their eyes to the facts which Geology reveals: to have said they were
not facts would have been simply absurd. Granting that the whole truth
was before them--the whole evidence--they could not arrive at other
conclusions than those just recorded; and, therefore, I do not blame
their discrepancy _inter se_. _The true key has not as yet been applied
to the wards._ Until it be, you may force the lock, but you cannot open
it. Whether the key offered in the following pages will open the lock,
remains to be seen.



     "You shall well and truly try, and a true deliverance
     make,... and a true verdict give, according to the
     evidence."--(_Jury Oath._)

A High Court of Inquiry has been sitting now for a good many years,
whose object is to determine a chronological question of much interest.
It is no less than the age of the globe on which we live. Counsel have
been heard on both sides, and witnesses have been called, and most of
the judges have considered that an overwhelming preponderance of
testimony is in favour of an immeasurably vast antiquity. A single
Witness on the other side, however, has deposed in a contrary sense:
and, though he has said but little, some of those who have heard the
cause attach such weight to his testimony, that they do not feel
satisfied to let it be overborne. Counsel on the former side have,
indeed, cross-examined the Witness, and dissected his testimony with
much skill, and they contend that what he said has been misunderstood by
the minority; and that, as his words may at least bear a sense which
would not contradict those of the opposing witness, the clear, copious,
and unvarying deposition previously made, ought to command the verdict
of the Court.

The minority are silenced, but not satisfied; they know not how to give
up the Witness on whose veracity they have been wont to rely; but they
are unable to answer the arguments brought against him.

Counsel for the Brachy-chronology speaks. "We respectfully ask the Court
for another hearing. Will our learned brother permit his witness briefly
to recapitulate his testimony, and we will endeavour to examine it once
more; for we think we shall be able to detect some flaw in it?" Rule


The following, then, is the substance of what the witness deposes. He is
not a living witness; his testimony, therefore, is not oral, but
written--lithographed, in fact. It consists of a number of documents,
which are couched in a language and character not to be understood
without some previous study, but yet very capable of translation--very
clear and unmistakeable. The following, I say, is a condensed summary of
the leading points.

If a curious person had watched the process of making the excavations
that were preliminary to the boring of the Thames Tunnel, he would have
observed that the labourers exposed successive layers of earth,
differing much in colour, consistency, and general character. First, an
accumulation of soil, consisting of decayed vegetable and animal matter,
mingled with broken pottery, and other rubbish of man's production, was
removed; then a layer of sand, gravel, and river mud; then a bed of
reddish clay; then a layer of clay, mixed with silt or fine sandy mud;
then a thin layer of silt, much filled with shells; then a stratum of
stiff blue clay; then a layer of clay of more mottled character,
containing a portion of silt, and some shells; then a stratum of very
firm clay, so solid that it required to be broken with wedges; then a
bed of gravel and sand of a green colour; and finally, a similar layer,
but of a coarser texture.

In the course of the hundred feet or so of perpendicular depth thus
exposed, he would have seen a succession of layers, apparently deposited
upon one another. But as yet he would have formed a very inadequate
notion of the stratification of the earth's crust.

With the knowledge thus gained, however, let him now make a little
excursion into Hertfordshire; we will suppose at the time when the
cuttings for the Great Northern Railway were being made. When he came
near Cheshunt, he would see that the London clay, which he found
underlying the Thames, crops out, or disappears by the stratum coming
obliquely to the surface. He would see, however, another bed of
clay--the plastic clay--beneath this, which now forms the superficial
stratum, and continues to do so, till he gets beyond Hertford. There
this stratum crops out; and the chalk, which for some time he has seen
to underlie the plastic clay, now comes to the surface.

Business or pleasure calls him to Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast;
and he determines to make a pedestrian tour across the diameter of
England to Whitehaven. He soon recognises the chalk, which constitutes
the Wolds, and rises to about 800 feet above the sea level. Below its
escarpment he traces the Kimmeridge clay, the uppermost of a series of
strata more than 2,000 feet in thickness, that constitute the Oolitic
system--including, among others, the coralline oolite, the calcareous
grit, the cornbrash, thin, but rich in fossils; the lower sandstone and
coal of the Cleveland hills, the alum shale, the marlstone, and the
lower lias shale.

Then comes a stratum of the saliferous system or the new red sandstone,
with the red marls, perhaps not much short of a thousand feet deep.
Below them the observer finds the strata of the magnesian limestone
formation, for nearly 400 feet, resting on the great coal formations of
vast depth. Of these the coal field of the West Riding is not less than
4,000 feet in depth, and beneath it lie the millstone grit, and the
mountain limestone, 2,500 feet more, the latter displayed in noble
grandeur on the faces of those wall-like precipices that inclose the
romantic dales of the Swale and the Ure, and that subsequently tower in
magnificent altitude on the sides of Pennygant and Ingleborough.


On the western escarpment of the Pennine ridge, just as the traveller is
entering Westmoreland, he would detect the bottom of the limestone; and
here he would have an opportunity of seeing, what is rare in these
parts, a stratum of the old red sandstone, lying between the former and
the slaty rocks of the Cumbrian formations. And here at length, in the
wild and magnificent scenery of these mountains, he sees the primitive
and transition series, the greenstone, the sienite, and the granite,
each of which is discernible in succession on the face of one or other
of the lofty Fells of Cumberland.

Our traveller now comes home, and, musing on what he has seen, counts up
some thirty or more distinct strata lying in regular succession one on
another. But he has not seen all the world, nor even all England; but he
reads the results of many independent observations, and finds that
while, for the most part, the strata which he has seen are common to the
whole surface of the globe, and while the order of their superposition
is invariable everywhere, others are in some parts added, while perhaps
some of those which he has observed are locally absent. Thus he is able
to form a more distinct idea of the stratification of the earth's crust
as a whole. It is composed of about forty distinct formations, generally
increasing in thickness as we go downwards, so that the whole cannot be
much less than ten miles in depth, supposing them in any locality to be
all present, and to be lying in the horizontal plane.

Mathematicians have satisfactorily determined that the mean density of
the globe is about five-and-a-half times that of water, or about twice
that of granite, a fact inconsistent with any other supposition than
that the interior is occupied by substances maintained in a fluid state
by intense heat. The lowest point that has yet been patent to human
observation is occupied by the granite, a compound rock, which bears
evident marks of having been once in a state of fusion, and of having
cooled slowly, and that under immense pressure, contracting and
crystallizing as it parted with its heat. There is every reason to
believe that the granite is not defined at its inferior surface, but
that it merges into the molten mass, probably still solidifying.

After the outer portion of the granite had cooled sufficiently to become
solid, there is evidence that it was covered by water, agitated by
powerful currents, and probably in a heated state. The action of these
currents disintegrated the rock, and deposited the constituent
substances at the bottom of the sea--on the surface, and in the hollows,
of the granite. For there is reason to think that the contraction of the
primitive rock in the process of cooling, produced irregular undulations
or crumplings of the surface, and frequent fractures and dislocations,
elevating some parts and depressing others. The gneiss, the mica-schist,
and the clay-slate, which are found immediately overlying the granitic
rock in strata of vast thickness, are but the components of granite,
separated and rearranged. "If we imagine common granite coarsely
pounded, and thrown into a vessel of water, it will arrange itself at
the bottom of the vessel in a condition very much like that of gneiss,
which is indeed nothing else than stratified granite. If the water in
which the pounded rock is thrown is moving along at a slow rate, and the
clayey portion of the granite, called _felspar_, happens to be somewhat
decomposed, as it often is, then the felspar (which is so truly _clay_
that it makes the best possible material for the use of the potteries)
and the thin shining plates of mica, will be carried further by the
water than the lumps of white quartz or flint sand, which, with the
other two ingredients, made up the granite; and the two former will be
deposited in layers, which, by passing a galvanic current through them,
would in time become mica-schist. If the mica were absent, or if the
clay were deposited without it, owing to any cause, then a similar
galvanic current would turn the deposit into something like

The deposition of these strata, being formed out of granite, supposes
the pre-existence of that rock; and as they occur in vast thicknesses,
even of many thousand feet, then separation, deposition, and
reconsolidation must have occupied, however rapidly we may suppose the
processes to have been accomplished, considerable periods of time.

In these lower rocks, no trace of organic remains has been found. The
shoreless ocean that covered the cooling surface of the earth's crust,
harboured no polype or sponge, no rhizopod or infusorium, and the angles
and clefts of the granite were fringed by no fucus, or conferva: all was
waste and void. And if certain parts were elevated above the waters, the
bleak and barren points were not clothed with grass, or moss, or even a
lichen, and no animal wandered over their ridges. Or, if such did exist,
either in land or water, all vestiges of their presence have been
destroyed by the agency of the intense heat that subsequently prevailed.

But, in the numerous strata that overlie the rocks of granitic origin,
there are found, in varying abundance, proofs that, when they were
deposited, the surface of our earth had become the abode of organic
life. Zoophytes lived in the ocean, some of which were engaged in
secreting lime from the water, and depositing it in coral-reefs; stalked
and jointed Star-fishes waved like lilies of stone from the submerged
rocks; Sea-worms twined over the mud; mailed Crustaceans swam to and
fro; and Mollusks, both bivalve and univalve, crawled over the ledges or
reposed in the crevices. The remains of these occur in the Silurian
rocks that lie immediately on the primitive granitic formations of
Cumberland and North Wales. The construction of the coral-reefs of that
deposit, in particular, must have occupied a lengthened period,
continuing to go on, "month after month, year after year, century after
century, until at length the depth changed, in which they could most
conveniently live, or, owing to some other cause, their labours were
brought to a close, and they disappeared from amongst existing

[Illustration: A TRILOBITE.

(_Calymene Blumenbachii._)

_a._ extended; back view. _b._ rolled up; side view. _c._ rolled up;
front view.]

Not a single species, or even a single genus of those early strata, is
identical with any that exists now. The Coral-polypes, for instance,
while allied to ours, are quite distinct from them, though endowed with
similar powers and habits, so that we may reason from analogy on the
laws of their deposits. The Trilobites were allied to the tiny
water-fleas (_Entomostraca_) of the present day: like the _Oniscidæ_
(wood-lice, buttons, &c.) of our gardens, they had the habit of rolling
their plated bodies into a ball. These are found in great numbers, their
remains often heaped on one another. The Mollusca of those seas were
chiefly of the class _Cephalopoda_--one of the least populous
now-a-days, but then existing in vast number and variety; the
Brachiopoda, Conchifera, and Gastropoda, were, however, well represented

Such were the inhabitants of the sea during the Silurian period, in
which a series of solid deposits were made, the aggregate, probably,
exceeding 50,000 feet in thickness. Each deposit, though not more than a
few inches in depth, "is provided with its own written story, its sacred
memoranda, assuring us of the regularity and order that prevailed, and
of the perfect uniformity of plan."

Over all these, however, we see laid the strata of the Devonian system,
especially the old red sandstone, which in some places attains a
thickness of 10,000 feet. It is composed of a coarse agglomeration of
broken fragments of the old granitic rocks, rolled and tossed about,
apparently by the ever-breaking waves of shingle-beaches, until the
hardest stones are worn into rounded pebbles by long and constant

An examination of the old red sandstone, as is seen in Herefordshire,
will aid us in forming a notion of the time required for its production.
It is composed of fragments obtained by the disintegration of more
ancient rocks, which, by a long process of rolling together in a
breaking sea, or in the bed of a rapid current, have lost all their
angles. The pebbles, thus worn, have at length settled,--the heaviest
lowest,--and the whole has been consolidated into firm rock. "In many
places," says Dr. Pye Smith, "the upper part of this vast formation is
of a closer grain, showing that it was produced by the last and finest
deposits of clayey and sandy mud, tinged, as the whole is, with oxides
and carbonates of iron, usually red, but often of other hues. But,
frequently, the lower portions, sometimes dispersed heaps, and,
sometimes, the entire formation, consist of vast masses of conglomerate,
the pebbles being composed of quartz, granite, or some other of the
earliest kinds; and thus showing the previous rocks, from whose
destruction they have been composed. Let any person first acquire a
conception of the extent of this formation, and of its depth, often many
hundreds, and, sometimes, two or three thousand feet; (but such a
conception can scarcely be formed without actual inspection;) then let
him attempt to follow out the processes which the clearest evidence of
our senses shows to have taken place; and let him be reluctant and
sceptical to the utmost that he can, he cannot avoid the impression that
ages innumerable must have rolled over the world, in the making of this
single formation."[27]

Here, Fishes are added to the Invertebrate Animals. A sort of Shark with
the mouth terminal, instead of beneath the head, was the earliest
representative of this class. But closely following on this, were some
curious species, enveloped in plate mail, and remarkable for the
singularity of their forms, as the _Cephalaspis_ and the _Pterichthys_.

[Illustration: CEPHALASPIS.]

This great period passed away, and was succeeded by that of the
Carboniferous deposits, indicative of a vast change in the physical
character of the earth's surface and atmosphere. This change of
character may be briefly summed up as consisting of an immense abundance
of lime in the ocean, and of an equally vast charge of carbonic acid in
the atmosphere.

Strata of limestone, 2,500 feet in thickness, were accumulated in the
ocean by the labours of Coral-polypes, allied to, but totally distinct
from, those which had previously existed in the primary system. On the
floor of a shallow sea, which then occupied the middle of what is now
England, the coral reefs rose perpetually towards the day, atom by atom,
the strata on which they were founded slowly and steadily sinking ever
to a lower level, while successive generations of the industrious
zoophytes wrought upwards, to maintain their position within reach of
the light and warmth. What period of time was requisite for the
aggregation of coral structure to the perpendicular thickness of 2,500

While this was going on, other Invertebrata were living in the shallow
seas, mostly differing from the older species, which had become by this
time extinct. Encrinites and Sea-urchins existed; some _Foraminifera_
were astonishingly abundant; the _Cephalopoda_ and the _Brachiopoda_
presented a vast variety of species; and about seventy sorts of Fishes,
mostly Sharks, characterised the age.

On the coral limestone lies a sort of conglomerate, known as the
millstone grit; and on this is laid that source of Britain's eminence,
the _coal_. The coal measures of South Wales are estimated at 12,000
feet in thickness. The profusion of vegetable life that must have
combined to make the coal in these, has no parallel in this age; no, not
in the teeming forests of South America, or the great isles of the
Oriental Archipelago. The circumstances which favoured this enormous
development of plants, seem never to have been repeated in subsequent
ages, since the coal measures which are found in the later strata are
thin and inconsiderable, compared with those we are considering.

M. Adolphe Brogniart suggests that in this period, from some source or
other, carbonic acid was generated in vast abundance; or, at least, that
it existed in the air, in a far greater proportion than it does now; and
it is singularly confirmatory of his view, that terrestrial animals, to
which this gas is fatal, have left almost no traces of their existence,
during the age of these vast forests--a circumstance otherwise strange
and unaccountable.

"Those parts," says Mr. Ansted, "of the great carboniferous series which
generally include the beds of coral, consist of muddy and sandy beds,
alternating with one another, and with the coal itself. Some of them
would appear to be of fresh-water, and some of marine origin; and they
abound, for the most part, with remains of the leaves of Ferns and
fern-like trees, together with the crushed trunks of these and other
trees, whose substance may have contributed to form the great
accumulations of bituminised and other vegetable carbon obtained from
these strata.

"It is not easy to communicate such an idea of beds of coal as shall
enable the reader to understand clearly the nature of the circumstances
under which they may have been deposited, and the time required for this
purpose. The actual total thickness of the different beds in England
varies considerably in different districts, but appears to amount, in
the Lancashire coal-field, to as much as 150 feet. In North America
there is a coal-field of vast extent, in which there appears at least as
great a thickness of workable coal as in any part of England; while in
Belgium and France the thickness is often much less considerable,
although the beds thicken again still further to the east.

"But this account of the thickness of the beds gives a very imperfect
notion of the quantity of vegetable matter required to form them; and,
on the other hand, the rate of increase of vegetables, and the quantity
annually brought down by some great rivers, both of the eastern and
western continents, is beyond all measure greater than is the case in
our drier and colder climate. Certain kinds of trees which contributed
largely to the formation of the coal, seem to have been almost entirely
succulent, and capable of being squeezed into a small compass during
partial decomposition. This squeezing process must have been conducted
on a grand scale, both during and after the formation of separate beds;
and each bed in succession was probably soon covered up by muddy and
sandy accumulations, now alternating with the coal in the form of shale
and grit-stone. Sometimes, trunks of trees caught in the mud would be
retained in a slanting or nearly vertical position, while the sands were
accumulating round them; sometimes the whole would be quietly buried,
and soon cease to exhibit any external marks of vegetable origin.[28]

"To relate the various steps in the formation of a bed of coal, and the
gradual superposition of one bed upon another, by which at length the
whole group of the coal-measures was completed, would involve an amount
of detail little adapted to these pages; and when it is remembered that
the woody fibres, after being deposited, had to be completely changed,
and the whole character of the vegetable modified, before it could be
reduced to the bituminous, brittle, almost crystalline mineral now dug
out of the earth for fuel, it will rather seem questionable whether the
origin of coal was certainly and necessarily vegetable, than reasonable
to doubt the importance of the change that has taken place, and the
existence of extraordinary means to produce that change. Nothing,
however, is more certain than that all coal was once vegetable; for in
most cases woody structure may be detected under the microscope; and
this, if not in the coal in its ordinary state, at least in the burnt
ashes which remain after it has been exposed to the action of heat, and
has lost its bituminous and semi-crystalline character. This has been
too well and too frequently proved by actual experiment, to require more
than the mere statement of the fact."[29]

An eminent practical geologist thus essays to guess the age of the
coal-fields, and of the sandstone that underlies it.

"The great tract of peat near Stirling has demanded [for its formation]
two thousand years; for its registry is preserved by the Roman works
below it. It is but a single bed of coal. Shall we multiply it by 100?
We shall not exceed,--far from it,--did we allow 200,000 years for the
production of the coal-series of Newcastle, with all its rocky strata. A
Scottish lake does not shoal at the rate of half a foot in a century;
and that country presents a vertical depth of far more than 3,000 feet
in the single series of the oldest sandstone. No sound geologist will
accuse a computer of exceeding, if he allow 600,000 years for the
production of _this series alone_. And yet what are the coal deposits,
and what the oldest sandstone, compared to the entire mass of the

The conjecture, that the whole of the vegetable material now
constituting the coal, was the growth of the antediluvian centuries, and
that it was floated away and deposited by the flood, is untenable. In
not a few instances trunks are found broken, and worn by water-action;
but the great mass warrants the conclusion that trees of vast dimensions
and of close array--dense, majestic forests, such as now occur only in
the most humid regions of the tropics--were submerged in their native
abodes, lying where they fell, and where they have left the impressions,
side by side, on the upper and under surfaces of the shale, of their
delicate peculiarities of structure, which would have been totally
obliterated, if the trees had been sea-borne and shore-rolled, as
pretended. The result of a careful and minute examination of the
phenomena of coal, by Mr. Binney, is, that the vegetable matter now
forming coal had grown in vast _marine_ swamps, subjected to a series of
_subsidences_ with long intervals of repose; that the trees, and perhaps
smaller plants, were submerged under _tranquil_ water, in the places of
their growth; and that very inconsiderable portions, if any, of the
beds, are owing to drifting.[31]

While the coal was in process of deposition, the sea was occupied with
Invertebrata, not widely differing from those which had marked the
previous eras.

Fishes, however, were advancing in development; and several new and
strange forms, some of them of gigantic dimensions and formidable
armature, were introduced. These were chiefly remarkable for their
affinities with Reptiles (whence they are often called _Sauroid_
Fishes); and one of them--_Megalichthys_--was famished with jaws of
serried teeth, surpassing those of the crocodile. With these were
associated other and more ordinary Fishes; and swarms of Sharks of many
species, and varying much in size, roved through the sea, maintaining
the same pirate character as their representatives of our modern
seas--fierce, subtle, voracious, and powerful.

At this time, too, appeared the earliest Reptiles, chiefly of the
Amphibia sub-class. Some of these are known only by their foot-prints;
and the late Hugh Miller has graphically described the appearance of
some of these, which, he met with marking the roof of a coal-mine, four
hundred feet below the surface. These must have been _Batrachia_ of
large size, as the fore feet were thirteen inches apart across the
breast.[32] They will be alluded to again.

With these exceptions, remains of terrestrial animals are, as has
already been observed, rare in this formation.




     "Always distrust very plain cases: beware lest a snake
     suddenly start out upon you, in the shape of some concealed
     and utterly unexpected difficulty."--WARREN: _Law Studies_.

We have hitherto been considering the strata as if they had remained
permanent when once deposited, subject to no change, save the successive
superposition of other strata upon them. But this is very far from being
true. Enormous displacements, upheavings, contortions, and fractures,
are observed in the strata, which tell of mighty forces having been at
work upon them after their formation. The explanation of these phenomena
is due to the internal heat, which ever and anon seems to concentrate
its action on some special point, seeking and finding vent for itself by
some alteration in the already consolidated crust.

Sometimes, the mode of action has been the transmission of undulations
through the crust, producing earthquakes, cracking and forcing apart
strata already petrified, and bending and variously contorting those
that have but partially become solid. Sometimes, the fiery impulse is
sufficiently concentrated to break through the superincumbent materials,
forcing a passage for the molten and incandescent rock, which then flows
forth from the surface, penetrates into the cracks and fissures of the
fractured strata, and frequently spreads into the hollows and over the
summits of the latest formations.

It is owing to such causes as these, that we find the rocky layers so
often inclined at various angles to the horizon, instead of being
parallel to it, as they would be of course deposited; occasionally
standing quite perpendicularly, and even to a small extent reversed. The
outcropping of formations, the long lines of cliff running across a
country in parallel series, ("crag and tail,") the dipping of strata
from some central point or ridge, and the non-correspondence between the
bottom of one stratum and the top of the underlying one,--are all
phenomena of this sort of powerful action, which has been more or less
energetic at all periods.

After the deposit of the Old Red Sandstone, the internal fire appears to
have enjoyed a lull of its energy, if not a complete cessation, until
the Coal Measures were complete. Then the long tranquility was again
broken, and concussions so extensive and violent ensued, that hardly a
single square mile of country can anywhere be found which is not full of
fractured and contorted strata, the record of subterranean movements,
which mostly occurred between the Carboniferous and the Premian

The effects of these convulsions were manifest in the changed relations
of land and sea, existing continents and islands being dislocated,
severed, and swallowed up, while others were elevated from the depths of
the previous ocean.

It was from the wave-worn materials thus obtained from pre-existing
strata, that the New Red Sandstone was consolidated. It consists chiefly
of sand and mud, with few organic remains; and the hiatus thus found, in
animals and vegetables, seems to be almost a complete one between the
organisms of the preceding and the succeeding periods.

The most interesting traces of the earth's tenants during the New Red
formation, consist of foot-tracks impressed by the progress of animals
along the yielding mud between the ranges of high and low tide. They
afford a remarkable example (not, I think, sufficiently dwelt on) of the
extreme rapidity with which deposits were consolidated; since the tracks
must have been made, and the material consolidated, during the few
hours, _at most_, that intervened between the recess and the reflux of
the tide; since, if the mud had not so soon become solid, the flow of
the sea would have instantly obliterated such marks, as it does now on
our shores.


The principal animal, whose foot-prints have been identified, was an
enormous Frog (_Labyrinthodon_), as big as a hippopotamus, but
apparently allied, in its serried teeth, and in the bony plates with
which it was covered, to the Crocodiles, which were its associates.

It is curious that marks in the same material have chronicled the
serpentine trail of a Sea-worm, the scratchings of a Crab, the ripple of
the wavelets, and even the drops of a passing shower; the last
revealing, by their margins, the direction of the wind by which the
slanting rain was driven.

If the Triassic formations display but little evidence of organic
existence, the lack is supplied by the abundance of such records, which
is contained in the Oolitic system, and specially in its lowest
component,--the Lias. Animals now existed in profusion, but of species
which were for the most part peculiar. The coral-making Polypes existed
not (or very rarely) in the seas of that age, but lime was secreted by
an unusual number of Crinoid Echinoderms, which seem to have fringed the
rocks and floating pieces of timber, much as Barnacles do now.

Among the Mollusca now began to appear the inhabitants of those very
elegant shells, the _Ammonites_, allied to the Nautilus of our Southern
seas, which may be considered as the lingering representative of those
swarms of shelled Cephalopoda. They were accompanied by their near
relations, the _Belemnites_, more resembling a Cuttle, with a long
internal, pointed shell.

Fishes, chiefly belonging to a curiously armed tribe of Sharks, together
with some enclosed in bony-mail like pavement, were present in the
shallows, where the Lias was probably deposited.


_Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus_ and _P. macrocephalus_.]

But the most characteristic animals were great marine Reptiles, of
strange and uncouth forms, to which the present world presents us no
known analogy. One of these was the _Ichthyosaurus_, which closely
resembled a porpoise in form, but thirty or forty feet in length, with
a vertical fish-like tail, and two pairs of paddles; a mouth set with
stout crocodilian teeth, and enormous eyes. Another form was that of the
_Plesiosaurus_, scarcely less in size than its fellow, which in the
outline of its body it resembled: it was distinguished, however, by an
extraordinary length of neck, slender and swan-like, consisting of
thirty or forty vertebræ.

It adds to the interest of these great marine Reptiles, that around
their fossil skeletons are preserved pellets of excrement (known as
Coprolites) containing fragments of bone, teeth, and scales of fishes,
which clearly reveal the nature of their food. In some instances, the
stomach and intestines of these great carnivorous creatures, filled with
half-digested food, have left indubitable traces of their presence _in

Again, the geography of the Globe changed. New lands arose from the sea,
and old lands partially or wholly sank. The German Ocean, and part of
Western Europe, of our maps, were a great group of islands. The Oolitic
formation was deposited. The general character of the organization of
this period differed little from that of the Lias. New forms of plants,
such as _Cycadeæ_, were abundant, with, considerable numbers of Corals,
Encrinites, Sea-urchins and Mollusks. Macrurous Crustacea, much like
those of our times (but essentially different in species), inhabited the
sea, and some Beetles and Flies represented the Insects of the land. The
Fishes and Marine Reptiles were pretty much the same with those of the
Lias, though they received some important additions.


It is, however, among the terrestrial Vertebrata that we must look for
the characteristic organisms of this age. And these are, still,
Reptiles. The huge _Megalosaurus_, with a body as big as an elephant's,
stood high on his legs, and stretched open a pair of gaping jaws, set
with jagged teeth. The _Pterodactyles_ flew about,--carnivorous
lizards, with the body and wings of bats,[33] except that the membrane
was stretched upon the enormously developed little finger;--creatures,
perhaps, the most unlike to anything familiar to us, of all fossil
forms. And, in the marshy margins of the great river valley which formed
the Wealden of our South-eastern districts, the giant _Iguanodon_, and
his fellow, the _Hylæosaurus_, waged their peaceful warfare on the
succulent plants that became their unresisting prey.

[Illustration: BAT-LIZARDS.

_Pterodactylus crassirostris_, and _P. brevirostris_.]


The circle of animal life was completed in this epoch, thus far, that
every class was represented by some one or more of its constituent
species. No fossil skeletons of Birds have, indeed, been found so low as
the Oolite, but numerous foot-prints of some of the Grallatores are
found in a sandstone of this period; and in the Stonesfield slate,
which is contemporary with it, a genus of Mammalia has been
discovered,--a small Marsupial, allied to the Opossums of America.

The duration of the Oolitic period must have been considerable. "The
lias sea-bottom was succeeded first by a sandy, and then by a calcareous
deposit, and the animals were modified accordingly." The deposit of
carbonate of lime, which took place under circumstances that caused it
to attract around its nodules the organic particles, whence the name
_oolite_ (egg-stone) is derived, was not continuous, but repeated at
intervals. The shells of Mollusks were developed in great abundance, and
accumulations of these formed thick bands, which consolidated into
layers of shell-limestone. Three hundred feet of strata, largely
composed of organic remains, were formed before the clay was deposited
which made the Stonesfield and contemporaneous slates.

Once more the dry land sank, probably by slow successive subsidences,
and the sea flowed many fathoms deep above the great European
archipelago. And upon its quiet bottom settled down, first a few sandy
and clayey beds, and then the great layer of the Chalk.

Creatures of very minute size and low grades of organization were now
playing a very important part. A large portion of the lime that was
deposited, in the form of a pure carbonate, was doubtless supplied by
the Coral structures, which, were exceedingly numerous; the polypidoms
being gnawed down by strong-jawed fishes that fed upon the Zoophytes.
_Foraminifera_ also were abundant, and contributed to the supply.

Nodules of flint exist in the Chalk, sometimes scattered, sometimes
arranged in bands. Two sources are indicated for this substance. One is
Sponge, the most common kinds of which are composed of skeletons of
siliceous spicula; and these can be discerned with the microscope in the
interior of the chalk-flints. But millions upon millions of Infusoria
swam through the waters, and many of these were encased in siliceous
loricæ, while the rocks and sea-weeds were fringed with as incalculably
numerous examples of siliceous _Diatomaceæ_, whose elegant forms are
recognisable without difficulty throughout the Chalk. The inconceivable
abundance of these forms may be illustrated by the often-cited fact,
that whole strata of solid rock appear to be so exclusively composed of
their solid remains, that a cube of one-tenth of an inch is computed by
Ehrenberg to contain five hundred millions of individuals.

The increase of these organisms is very rapid, and their duration
proportionately short; but allowing for this, what period would elapse
before the successive generations of entities, of which forty-one
thousand millions are required to make a cubic inch, would have
accumulated into solid strata fourteen feet in thickness?

Without pausing to examine the whole Cretaceous fauna, we may observe
that the Mollusca with chambered shells--the Ammonites and their
allies--were developed in singular variety and profusion during this
period, after which they suddenly disappeared from the ocean. The Fishes
present little that is remarkable; of Birds, few, and of Mammals, no
remains exist; and the Reptiles, while not absolutely extinct, are few
and rare. One great marine form, however, the _Mosasaurus_, was added to
their number.

At length the sea ceased to deposit chalk, and its bed appears to have
been slowly elevated, until all the animals that had inhabited the
waters of that formation were destroyed; so that their race and
generation perished.[34] The grand epoch of Secondary Formations was

It was followed by an extensive disruption of the then existing strata,
and by changes and modifications so great as to alter the whole face of
nature. "It would appear that a long period of time elapsed before newer
beds were thrown down, since the chalky mud not only had time to harden
into chalk, but the surface of the chalk itself was much rubbed and
worn." During this protracted period, eruptions of molten rock occurred
of enormous extent, producing the Basaltic formation which covers the
Chalk in the north of Ireland, and in some of the Hebrides. In the south
of Europe the Pyrenees were elevated, and the Apennines and Carpathians
were pushed to a greater altitude than before, if they were not then
formed. The Alps and the Caucasus also experienced a series of upward
movements, continuing through a considerable range of the Tertiary

The rich collections of vegetable remains--chiefly fruits and
seeds--that have been made from the London Clay, show that the earliest
land of this period was clothed with a great abundance and variety of
plants; and these are of such alliances as would now require a tropical
climate. Many species of Palms, Screw-pines, Gourds, _Piperaceæ_,
_Mimoseæ_, and other _Leguminosæ_, _Malvaceæ_, and _Coniferæ_, dropped
their woody pods and fruits where now these pages are written; and the
animals manifest no less interesting an approximation to existing forms
than the plants. The Zoophytes, the Echinoderms, the Foraminifera, the
Worms, the Crustacea, the Mollusca, the Fishes and the Reptiles of the
Eocene beds, exhibit a great preponderance of agreement with those that
now exist, _so far as genus is concerned_, though the _species_ are
still almost wholly distinct. The approximation is particularly marked
in the Molluscous sub-kingdom, by the almost entire disappearance of the
hitherto swarming Brachiopod and Cephalopod forms, and the progressive
substitution for them of the _Conchifera_ and _Gastropoda_, which had,
however, throughout the Secondary epoch, been gradually coming forward
to their present predominance in nature.

Among the Fishes, the Placoid type was diminished in number; and those
that were produced were mostly Sharks and Rays, of modern genera; but
the chief difference was the paucity of those mailed forms (Ganoids),
which were so abundant during the Oolitic period. On the other hand, the
Ctenoid and Cycloid forms, which had begun to make their appearance in
small numbers in the Chalk, are well represented. In both this
deficiency and this plenitude, there is a very decided approach to
existing conditions; for the Ganoids are almost unknown with us, while
the last-named two orders are abundant. Representatives of our Perches,
Maigres, Mackerels, Blennies, Herrings, and Cods, were numerous;
_distinct, however, from the present species_. But not a single member
of the great Salmon family was yet introduced.

The great Saurian Reptiles had entirely disappeared, and were quite
unrepresented in the tertiary beds, except by a Crocodile or two, and a
small Lizard. Turtles were, however, numerous, both of the marine and
lacustrine kinds; and there is an interesting stranger, in the form of a
large Serpent, allied to our Pythons, some twenty feet in length.

Birds and Mammals began now to assume their place on the land. The
London Clay presents us with a little Vulture; and the Paris basin
contains remnants of species representing the Raptores, the Rasores, the
Grallatores, and the Natatores.

The Quadrupeds came in in some force; not developed from the lowest to
the highest scale of organization; for the Monkey and the Bat occur in
sands, certainly not later, if not earlier, than the London Clay,
contemporaneously with the Racoon, and before the existence of any
Rodent or Cetacean. Some Carnivora, as the Wolf and the Fox, roamed the
woods, but the character of the epoch was given by the Pachyderms.

These, however, were not the massive colossi that browse in the African
or Indian jungles of our days; no Elephant, no Rhinoceros, no
Hippopotamus was as yet formed. But several kinds of Tapir wallowed in
the morasses; and a goodly number of largish beasts, whose affinities
were with the Pachydermata, while their analogies were with the
Ruminantia, served as substitutes for the latter order, which was wholly
wanting. These interesting quadrupeds, forming the genus
_Anoplotherium_, were remarkable for two peculiarities,--their feet were
two-toed, and their teeth were ranged in a continuous series, without
any interval between the incisors and the molars. They varied in size
from that of an ass to that of a hare.

The physical conditions of our earth, when it was tenanted by these
creatures, is thus described:--"All the great plains of Europe, and the
districts through which the principal rivers now run, were then
submerged; in all probability, the land chiefly extended in a westerly
direction, far out into the Atlantic, possibly trending to the south,
and connecting the western shores of England with the volcanic islands
off the west coast of Africa. The great mountain chains of Europe, the
Pyrenees, the Alps, the Apennines, the mountains of Greece, the
mountains of Bohemia, and the Carpathians, existed then only as chains
of islands in an open sea. Elevatory movements, having an east and west
direction, had, however, already commenced, and were producing important
results, laying bare the Wealden district in the south-east of England.
The southern and central European district, and parts of western Asia,
were the recipients of calcareous deposits (chiefly the skeletons of
_Foraminifera_), forming the Apennine limestone; while numerous islands
were gradually lifted above the sea, and fragments of disturbed and
fractured rock were washed upon the neighbouring shallows or
coast-lines, forming beds of gravel covering the Chalk. The beds of
Nummulites and Miliolites, contemporaneous with those containing the
Sheppey plants and the Paris quadrupeds, seem to indicate a deep sea at
no great distance from shore, and render it probable that there were
frequent alternations of elevation and depression, perhaps the result of
disturbances acting in the direction already alluded to.

"The shores of the islands and main land were, however, occasionally low
and swampy, rivers bringing down mud in what is now the south-east of
England, and the neighbourhood of Brussels, but depositing extensive
calcareous beds near Paris. Deep inlets of the sea, estuaries, and the
shifting mouths of a river, were also affected by numerous alterations
of level not sufficient to destroy, but powerful enough to modify, the
animal and vegetable species then existing; and these movements were
continued for a long time."[35]

After the elevation of the mountain summits of Europe above the sea, and
while the same causes were still in operation, deposits were being made
in the narrow intervening seas of the Archipelago, such as the present
south of France, the valleys of the Rhine and Danube, the eastern
districts of England and Portugal. These deposits were partly marine and
partly lacustrine; the former consisting largely of loose sands, mingled
with shells and gravel. In Switzerland is a thick mass of conglomerate;
and in the district around Mayence, there is a series of fresh-water
limestones, and sandstones charged with organic remains.

The changes which took place during this comparatively recent epoch
were not sudden, but gradual; the results of operations which were
probably going on without intermission, and perhaps have not yet ceased.
The land was more and more upheaved, till at length, what had been an
archipelago of islands became a continent, and Europe assumed the form
which it bears on our maps.

The most interesting addition to the natural history of the Miocene, or
Middle Tertiary period, was the _Dinotherium_--a huge Pachyderm, twice
as large as an elephant, with a tapir-like proboscis, and two great
tusks curving downward from the lower jaw. It was, doubtless, aquatic in
its habits, and possibly (for its hinder parts are not known), it may
have been allied to the Dugong and Manatee, those whale-like Pachyderms,
with a broad horizontal tail, instead of posterior limbs.

Other great herbivorous beasts roamed over the new-made land. The
Mastodons, closely allied to the Elephant, had their head-quarters in
North America, but extended also to Europe. And the Elephants
themselves, of several species, were spread over the northern
hemisphere, even to the polar regions. The Hippopotamus, the
Rhinoceros, and other creatures, now exclusively tropical, were also
inhabitants of the same northern latitudes.

[Illustration: MAMMOTH.]

From some specimens of Elephants and Rhinoceroses of this period, which
seem to have been buried in avalanches, and thus to have been preserved
from decomposition, even of the more transitory parts, as muscle and
skin, we learn something of the climate that prevailed. The very fact of
their preservation, by the antiseptic power of frost, shows that it was
not a tropical climate in which they lived; and the clothing of thick
wool, fur, and hair, which protected the skin of the Mammoth, or
Siberian Elephant, tends to the same conclusion. At the same time, those
regions were not so intensely cold as they are now. For the district in
which the remains of Elephants and their associates are found, in almost
incredible abundance, is that inhospitable coast of northern Asia which
bounds the Polar Sea.

The trees of a temperate climate--the oak, the beech, the maple, the
poplar, and the birch--which now attain their highest limit somewhere
about 70° of north latitude, and there are dwarfed to minute shrubs,
appear then to have grown at the very verge of the polar basin; and that
in the condition of vast and luxuriant forests, perhaps occupying
sheltered valleys between mountains whose steep sides were covered with
snow, already become perennial, and ever and anon rolling down in
overwhelming avalanches, such as those which now occasionally descend
into the valleys of the Swiss Alps.

The coast of Suffolk displays a formation known as the Crag--a local
name for gravel--which rests partly on the chalk; but, as it lies in
other parts over the London Clay, it is assigned to the later Tertiary,
or what is called the Pleiocene period. It is divided into the
_coralline_ and the _red_ crag, the latter being uppermost where they
exist together, and therefore being the more recent. The Coralline Crag
is nearly composed of corals and shells, the former almost wholly
extinct now; but the latter containing upwards of seventy species still
existing in the adjacent seas. The Red Crag contains few zoophytes, but
is remarkable for the remains of at least five species of Whales. Other
Mammalia occur in this formation, among which are the red deer and the
wild boar of modern Europe.

The gradual but rapid approximation of the Tertiary fauna to that of the
present surface is well indicated by Mr. Lyell's table (1841) of recent
and fossil species in the English formations:--

                                              Per-centage   No. of
Periods.             Localities.                  of        fossils
                                                recent.    compared.

Eocene           {London and Hampshire     }    1 or   2       400
Miocene          {Red and Coralline        }   20 to  30       450
                 {  Crag, Suffolk          }
Older Pleiocene  {Mamaliferous or Norwich  }   60 to  70       111
                 {  Crag                   }
Newer Pleiocene  {Marine strata near       }   85 to  90       160
                 {  Glasgow                }
Post Pleiocene   {Fresh-water of the valley}   99 to 100        40
                 {  of the Thames          }

It is to this period that are assigned the animals whose bones are found
in astonishing numbers in limestone caverns, as, for example, that
notable one at Kirkdale, in Yorkshire, which was examined by Professor

This is a cave in the Oolitic limestone, with a nearly level floor,
which was covered with a deposit of mud, on which an irregular layer of
sparry stalagmite had formed by the dripping of water from the low roof,
carrying lime in solution. Beneath this crust the remains were found.

Of the animals to which the bones belonged, six were _Carnivora_, viz.
_hyæna_, _felis_, bear, wolf, fox, weasel; four _Pachydermata_, viz.
elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, horse; four _Ruminantia_, viz. ox,
and three species of deer; four _Rodentia_, viz. hare, rabbit,
water-rat, mouse; five Birds, viz. raven, pigeon, lark, duck, snipe.

The bones were almost universally broken; the fragments exhibited no
marks of rolling in the water, but a few were corroded; some were worn
and polished on the convex surface; many indented, as by the canine
teeth of carnivorous animals. In the cave the peculiar excrement of
hyænas (_album græcum_) was common; the remains of these predacious
beasts were the most abundant of all the bones; their teeth were found
in every condition, from the milk-tooth to the old worn stump; and from
the whole evidence Dr. Buckland adopted the conclusion, in which almost
every subsequent writer has acquiesced, that Kirkdale Cave was a den of
hyænas during the period when elephants and hippopotami (not of existing
species) lived in the northern regions of the globe, and that they
dragged into it for food the bodies of animals which frequented the

Thus in these spots we find, observes Professor Ansted, "written in no
obscure language, a portion of the early history of our island after it
had acquired its present form, while it was clothed with vegetation, and
when its plains and forests were peopled by many of the species which
still exist there; but when there also dwelt upon it large carnivorous
animals, prowling about the forests by night, and retiring by day to
these natural dens."

In our own country, and in many other parts of the world, we find
fragments of stone distributed over the surface, sometimes in the form
of enormous blocks, bearing in their fresh angles evidence that they
have been little disturbed since their disruption, but sometimes much
rubbed and worn, and broken into smaller pieces, till they form what is
known as gravel. In many cases the original rock from which these
masses have been separated does not exist in the vicinity of their
locality; and it is not till we reach a distance, often of hundreds of
miles, that we find the formation of which they are a component part.

Various causes have been suggested for the transport of these erratic
blocks, of which the most satisfactory is the agency of ice, either as
slow-moving glaciers, or as oceanic icebergs.

"The common form of a glacier," says Professor J. Forbes, "is a river of
ice filling a valley, and pouring down its mass into other valleys yet
lower. It is not a frozen ocean, but a frozen torrent. Its origin or
fountain is in the ramifications of the higher valleys and gorges, which
descend amongst the mountains perpetually snow-clad. But what gives to a
glacier its most peculiar and characteristic feature is, that it does
not belong exclusively or necessarily to the snowy region already
mentioned. The snow disappears from its surface in summer as regularly
as from that of the rocks which sustain its mass. It is the prolongation
or outlet of the winter-world above; its gelid mass is protruded into
the midst of warm and pine-clad slopes and green-sward, and sometimes
reaches even to the borders of cultivation."[37]

The glacier moves onward with a slow but steady march towards the mouth
of its valley. Its lowest stratum carries with it numerous fragments of
rock, which, pressed by the weight of the mighty mass, scratch and
indent the surfaces over which they move, and sometimes polish them.
These marks are seen on many rock-surfaces now exposed, and they are
difficult to explain on any other hypothesis than that of glacial

But the alternate influence of summer and winter--the percolation of
rain into the mountain fissures, and the expansion of freezing--dislodge
great angular fragments of rock, which fall on the glacier beneath.
Slowly but surely these then ride away towards the mouth of the valley,
till they reach a point where the warmth of the climate does not permit
the ice to proceed; the blocks then are deposited as the mass melts. But
if the climate itself were elevated, or if the surface were lowered so
as to immerse the glacier in the sea, it would melt throughout its
course, and then the blocks would be found arranged in long lines or
_moraines_, such as we see now in many places.

If the glacier-valley debouch on the sea, the ice gradually projects
more and more, until the motions of the waves break off a great mass,
which floats away, carrying on its surface the accumulation of
boulders, gravel, and other _débris_ which it had acquired during its
formation. It is now an iceberg, which, carried by the southern
currents, approaches a warmer climate, melts, and deposits its cargo,
perhaps hundreds of leagues from the valley where it was shipped, and as
fresh as when its component _frusta_ were detached from the primitive

If the abundance of such erratic blocks and foreign gravel seem to
require a greater amount of glacial action than is now extant, it has
been suggested that the volcanic energy which elevated Europe may have
been succeeded by a measure of subsidence before the land attained its
present permanent condition. Hence there may have been, during the
Tertiary epoch, mountain chains of great elevation, sufficient to supply
the glaciers, which, on their subsidence, melted on the spot where they
were submerged, or floated away as icebergs on the pelagic currents,
till they grounded on the bays and inlets of other shores, which were
subsequently elevated again.

Thus a large portion of the animals which then inhabited these islands
(up to that time, perhaps, united to the continent) would be drowned,
and many species quite obliterated, a few alone remaining to connect our
present fauna with that of the submerged area, when the land rose again
to its existent state.

It would not materially augment the force of the evidence already
adduced on the question of chronology, to examine in detail the fossil
remains of South America, Australia, and New Zealand. The gigantic
Sloths[38] of the first, the gigantic Marsupials of the second, and the
gigantic Birds of the third, however interesting individually, and
especially as showing that a prevailing type governed the fauna in each
locality then as now--are all formations of the Tertiary period, and
some of them, at least, seem to have run on even into the present epoch.
Indeed, it is not quite certain that the enormous birds of New Zealand
and Madagascar are even yet extinct.

The phenomenon of raised sea-beaches is one of great interest, and seems
to be connected with the alternate elevations and depressions of the
Tertiary epoch, perhaps marking the successive steps of the upheaval of
the land. In several parts of England the coast-line exhibits one or
more shelves parallel with the existing sea-beach, and covered with
similar shingle, sand, and sea-shells. And the same phenomenon is
exhibited on a still more gigantic scale in South America. Mr.
Darwin[39] found that for a distance of at least 1,200 miles from the
Rio de la Plata to the Straits of Magellan on the eastern side, and for
a still longer distance on the west, the coast-line and the interior
have been raised to a height of not less than 100 feet in the northern
part, but as much as 400 feet in Patagonia. All this change has taken
place within a comparatively short period; for in Valparaiso, where the
effect is most considerable, modern marine deposits, with human remains,
are seen at the height of 1,300 feet above the sea.

At what exact point, geologically, the period of human history begins,
it is impossible to say. No evidence of Man's presence has occurred
older than the latest Tertiary deposits, which insensibly merge into
the Alluvial. It seems certain that human remains have been found in
chronological association with those of animals long extinct, and there
appears no reason to doubt that some species of animals, as the Irish
Deer, the Moa of New Zealand, and the Dodo of the Mauritius, have
disappeared from creation within a period of a few centuries.[40] It is
not improbable that the last of the Moho race may have lived only long
enough to grace the pages of the "Birds of Australia."

[Illustration: THE MOHO.]

It is as important as it is interesting, to observe that the same kinds
of physical operations have been, within the present epoch, and are
still, going on, as those whose results are chronicled in the rocks.
Strata of alluvium are constantly being formed on a scale which, though
it does not _suddenly_ affect the outline of coasts, and therefore
appears small, yet is great in reality.

The Ganges is estimated to pour into the Indian Ocean nearly 6,400
millions of tons of mud every year; and its delta is a triangle whose
sides are two hundred miles long. The delta of the Mississippi is of
about the same size, and it advances steadily into the Gulf of Mexico at
the rate of a mile in a century.

The accumulation of river-mud is gradually filling up the Adriatic Sea.
From the northernmost point of the Gulf of Trieste to the south of
Ravenna, there is an uninterrupted series of recent accessions of land,
more than a hundred miles in length, which, within the last twenty
centuries, have increased from two to twenty miles in breadth.

The coral-polypes are working still with great energy. Mr. Darwin
mentions two or three examples of the rate of increase, one of which
only I shall cite. In the lagoon of Keeling Atoll, a channel was dug for
the passage of a schooner built upon the island, through the reef into
the sea; in ten years afterward, when it was examined, it was found
almost choked up with living coral.

Volcanic action is busy in many parts of the earth, pouring forth clouds
of ashes and torrents of molten rock; and instances are not wanting in
which new islands have been raised from the bed of the ocean by this
means, within the sphere of history.

Slow and permanent changes of level are still being produced on the
earth's crust. The bottom of the Baltic has been, for several centuries
at least, in process of continuous elevation, the effects of which are
palpable. Many rocks formerly covered are now permanently exposed;
channels between islets, formerly used, are now closed up, and beds of
marine shells have become bare. On the other hand, the whole area of the
Pacific Polynesia seems subsiding.

Deposits are being made by waters which hold earthy substances in
solution. The principal of these is _lime_. Several remarkable examples
of this kind are quoted by Sir Charles Lyell, in one of which there is a
thickness of 200 or 300 feet of travertine of recent deposit, while in
another a solid mass thirty feet thick was deposited in about twenty
years. He also states that there are other countless places in Italy
where the constant formation of limestone may be seen, while the same
may be said of Auvergne and other volcanic districts. In the Azores,
Iceland, and elsewhere, _silica_ is deposited often to a considerable
extent. Deposits of _asphalt_ and other bituminous products occur in
other places.[41]

The floors of limestone caverns are frequently strewn with fossil bones,
which are imbedded in stalagmite, and this incrustation is still in
progress of formation. It is remarkable that in this deposit alone we
obtain the bones of Man in a fossil condition. The two creations,--the
extinct and the extant,--or rather the prochronic and the
diachronic--here unite. But there is no line of demarcation between
them; they merge insensibly into each other. The bones of Man, and even
his implements and fragments of pottery, are found mingled with the
skeletons of extinct animals in the caves of Devonshire, in those of
Brazil,[42] and in those of Franconia. In Peru, some scores of human
skeletons have been found in a bed of travertine, associated with marine
shells; the stratum itself being covered by a deep layer of vegetable
soil, forming the face of a hill crowned with large trees.

From a very interesting paper by M. Marcel de Serres, it appears
indubitable that the existing shells of the Mediterranean are even now
passing in numbers into the fossil state, and that not in quiet spots
only, but where the sea is subject to violent agitations. Specimens of
common species, "completely petrified, have been converted into
carbonate of lime at the same time that they have lost the animal matter
which they originally contained. Their hardness and solidity are greater
than those of some petrified species from tertiary formations."

"In the collection of M. Doumet, Mayor of Cette, there exists an anchor
which exhibits the same circumstances, and which is also covered with a
layer of solid calcareous matter. This contains specimens of _Pecten_,
_Cardium_, and _Ostrea_, completely petrified, and the hardness of which
is equal to that of fossil species from secondary formations. On the
surface of the deposit in which the anchor is imbedded, there are
_Anomiæ_ and _Serpulæ_, which were living when the anchor was got out of
the sea; these present no trace of alteration."[43]

Thus we have brought down the record to an era embraced by human
history, and even to individual experience; and we confidently ask, Is
it possible, is it imaginable, that the whole of the phenomena which
occur below the diluvial deposits can have been produced within six
days, or seventeen centuries? Let us recapitulate the principal facts.

1. The crust of the earth is composed of many layers, placed one on
another in regular order. All of these are solid, and most are of great
density and hardness. Most of them are of vast thickness, the aggregate
not being less than from seven to ten miles.

2. The earlier of these were made and consolidated before the newer were
formed; for in several cases, it is demonstrable that the latter were
made out of the _débris_ of the former. Thus the compact and hard
granite was disintegrated grain by grain; the component granules were
rolled awhile in the sea till their angles were rubbed down; they were
slowly deposited, and then consolidated in layers.

3. A similar process goes on again and again to form other strata, all
occupying long time, and all presupposing the earlier ones.[44]

4. After some strata have been formed and solidified, convulsions force
them upward, contort them, break them, split them asunder. Melted matter
is driven through the outlets, fills the veins, spreads over the
surface, settles into the hollows, cools and solidifies.

5. After the outflowing and consolidation of these volcanic streams, the
action of running water cuts them down, cleaving beds of immense depth
through their substance. Mr. Poulett Scrope, speaking of the solidified
streams of basalt, in the volcanic district of Southern France,

     "These ancient currents have since been corroded by rivers,
     which have worn through a mass of 150 feet in height, and
     formed a channel even in the granite rocks beneath, since
     the lava first flowed into the valley. In another spot, a
     bed of basalt, 160 feet high, has been cut through by a
     mountain stream. The vast excavations effected by the
     erosive power of currents along the valleys which feed the
     Ardèche, since their invasion by lava-currents, prove that
     even the most recent of these volcanic eruptions belong to
     an era incalculably remote."[45]

6. A series of organic beings appears, lives, generates, dies; lives,
generates, dies; for thousands and thousands of successive generations.
Tiny polypes gradually build up gigantic masses of coral,--mountains and
reefs--microscopic foraminifera accumulate strata of calcareous sand;
still more minute infusoria--forty millions to the inch--make slates,
many yards thick, of their shells alone.

7. The species at length die out--a process which we have no data to
measure,[46] though we may reasonably conclude it very long. Sometimes
the whole existing fauna seems to have come to a sudden violent end; at
others, the species die out one by one. In the former case suddenly, in
the latter progressively, new creatures supply the place of the old. Not
only do species change; the very genera change, and change again. Forms
of beings, strange beings, beings of uncouth shape, of mighty ferocity
and power, of gigantic dimensions, come in, run their specific race,
propagate their kinds generation after generation,--and at length die
out and disappear; to be replaced by other species, each approaching
nearer and nearer to familiar forms.

8. Though these early creatures were unparalleled by anything existing
now, yet they were animals of like structure and economy essentially. We
can determine their analogies and affinities; appoint them their proper
places in the orderly plan of nature, and show how beautifully they
fill hiatuses therein. They had shells, crusts, plates, bones, horns,
teeth, exactly corresponding in structure and function to those of
recent animals. In some cases we find the young with its milk-teeth by
the side of its dam with well-worn grinders. The fossil excrement is
seen not only dropped, but even in the alimentary canal. Bones bear the
marks of gnawing teeth that dragged them and cracked them, and fed upon
them. The foot-prints of birds and frogs, of crabs and worms, are
imprinted in the soil, like the faithful impression of a seal.[47]

9. Millions of forest-trees sprang up, towered to heaven, and fell, to
be crushed into the coal strata which make our winter fires. Hundreds
of feet measure the thickness of what were once succulent plants, but
pressed together like paper-pulp, and consolidated under a weight
absolutely immensurable. Yet there remain the scales of their stems, the
elegant reticulated patterns of their bark, the delicate tracery of
their leaf-nerves, indelibly depicted by an unpatented process of
"nature-printing." And when we examine the record,--the forms of the
leaves, the structure of the tissues, we get the same result as before,
that the plants belonged to a flora which had no species in common with
that which adorns the modern earth. Very gradually, and only after many
successions, not of individual generations, but of the cycles of
species, genera, and even families, did the vegetable creation conform
itself to ours.[48]

10. At length the species both of plants and animals grew,--not by
alteration of their specific characters, but by replacement of species
by species--more and more like what we have now on the earth, and
finally merged into our present flora and fauna, about the time when we
find the first geological traces of MAN.

11. During the course of these successive cycles of organic life, the
map of the world has changed many times. Up to a late period the ocean
washed over Mont Blanc and Mount Ararat; the continent of Europe was a
wide sea; then it was a Polynesia, then an Archipelago of great islands,
then a Continent much larger than it is now, with England united to it,
and the solid land stretching far away into the Atlantic;--then it sank
again, and was again raised, not all at once, but by several stages,
each of which has left its coast line, and its shingle beach. All these
changes must have been the work of vast periods of time.

"Excepting possibly, but not certainly, the higher parts of some
mountains, which at widely different epochs have been upheaved, and made
to elevate and pierce the stratified masses which once lay over them,
there is scarcely a spot on the earth's surface which has not been many
times in succession the bottom of the sea, and a portion of dry land.
In the majority of cases, it is shown, by physical evidences of the most
decisive kind, that each of those successive conditions was of extremely
long duration; a duration which it would be presumptuous to put into any
estimate of years or centuries; for any alteration, of which vestiges
occur in the zoological state and the mineral constitution of the
earth's present surface, furnishes no analogy (with regard to the nature
and continuance of causes), that approaches in greatness of character to
those changes whose evidences are discernible in almost any two
continuous strata. It is an inevitable inference, unless we are disposed
to abandon the principles of fair reasoning, that each one of such
changes in organic life did not take place till after the next preceding
condition of the earth had continued through a duration, compared with
which six thousand years appear an inconsiderable fraction of time."[49]

12. The climate of our atmosphere has undergone corresponding mutations.
At one time the Palms, the Treeferns, the Cycads of the tropical jungles
found their congenial home here: the Elephant, the Rhinoceros, and the
Tiger roamed over England; nay, dwelt in countless hosts on the
northern shores of Siberia: then the climate gradually cooled to a
temperate condition: then it became cold, and glaciers and icebergs were
its characteristic features: finally it became temperate again.

13. The icebergs and the glaciers were the ships and railways of past
epochs; they were freighted with their heavy but worthless cargoes of
rock-boulders and gravel, and set out on their long voyages and travels,
over sea and land, sometimes writing their log-books in ineffaceable
scratches on the rocky tables over which they passed, and at length
discharging their freights in harbours and bays, on inland plains, on
mountain sides and summits, where they remain unclaimed, free for any
trader in such commodities, without the ceremony of producing the
original bill of lading.

Let the remainder be told in the words of one of our most eloquent and
able geologists, Professor Sedgwick.

"The fossils demonstrate the time to have been _long_, though we cannot
say _how_ long. Thus we have generation after generation of shell-fish,
that have lived and died on the spots where we find them; very often
_demonstrating_ the lapse of _many years_ for a few perpendicular inches
of deposit. In some beds we have large, cold-blooded reptiles,
creatures of long life. In others, we have traces of ancient forests,
and enormous fossil trees, with concentric rings of structure, marking
the years of growth. Phenomena of this kind are repeated again and
again; so that we have three or four distinct systems of deposit, each
formed at a distinct period of time, and each, characterised by its
peculiar fossils. Coeval with the Tertiary masses, we have enormous
lacustrine deposits; sometimes made up of very fine thin laminæ, marking
slow tranquil deposits. Among these laminæ, we can find sometimes the
leaf-sheddings and the insects of successive seasons. Among them also we
find almost mountain-masses of the _Indusioe tubulatoe_ [the cases
of _Phryganeoe_], and other sheddings of insects, year after year.
Again, streams of ancient lava alternate with some of these lacustrine
tertiary deposits.

"In central France, a great stream of lava caps the lacustrine
limestone. At a _subsequent period_ the waters have excavated deep
valleys, cutting down into the lacustrine rock-marble many hundred feet;
and, at a newer epoch, anterior to the authentic history of Europe, new
craters have opened, and fresh streams of lava have run down the
existing valleys. Even in the Tertiary period we have thus a series of
demonstrative proofs of a long succession of physical events, each of
which required a long lapse of ages for its elaboration.

"Again, as we pass downwards from the bottom Tertiary beds to the Chalk,
we instantly find new types of organic life. The old species, which
exist in millions of individuals in the upper beds, disappear, and new
species are found in the chalk immediately below. This fact indicates a
long lapse of time. Had the chalk and upper beds been formed
simultaneously at the same period [as the supporters of the diluvial
theory represent], their organic remains must have been more or less
mixed; but _they are not_. Again, at the base of the Tertiary deposits
resting on the Chalk, we often find great masses of conglomerate or
shingle, made up of chalk-flints rolled by water. These separate the
Chalk from the overlying beds, and many of the rolled flints contain
certain petrified _chalk_-fossils. Now, every such fossil proves the
following points:--

     "1. There was a time when the organic body was alive at the
     bottom of the sea.

     "2. It was afterwards imbedded in the cretaceous deposit.

     "3. It became petrified; a very slow process.

     "4. The Chalk was, by some change of marine currents, washed
     away, or degraded, [_i. e._ worn away under the atmosphere
     by the weather and casualties, a process slow almost beyond
     description,] and the solid flints and fossils [thus
     detached from their imbeddings], were rolled into shingles.

     "5. Afterwards, these shingles were covered up, and buried
     under Tertiary deposits.

     "In this way of interpretation, a section of _a few
     perpendicular feet_ indicates a LONG lapse of time, and the
     co-ordinate fact of the entire change of organic types,
     between the beds above and those below, falls in with the
     preceding inference, and shows the lapse of time to have
     been VERY LONG."[50]



     "When the fact itself cannot be proved, that which comes
     nearest to the proof of the fact is the proof of the
     circumstances that necessarily and usually attend such
     facts; and _these are called presumptions, and not proofs_,
     for they stand instead of the proofs of the fact, till the
     contrary be proved."--GILBERT; LAW OF EVIDENCE.

Such, then, is the evidence for the macro-chronology. I hope I have
summed it up fairly; of course, many details I have been forbidden to
adduce by want of space, but they would have been of the same kind as
those brought forward. I am not conscious of having in any degree
cushioned, or concealed, or understated a single proof which would have
helped the conclusion.

A mighty array of evidence it certainly is, and such as appears at first
sight to compel our assent to the sequent claimed for it. I must confess
that I have no sympathy with the _reasonings_ of those, however I honour
their design, who can find a sufficient cause for these phenomena in the
natural operations of the Antediluvian centuries, or in the convulsion
that closed them.

But is there no other alternative? Am I compelled to accept the
conclusions drawn from the phenomena thus witnessed unto, as undeniable
facts, since they refuse to be normally circumscribed within the limits
of the historic period? I verily believe there is another, and a
perfectly legitimate solution.

My first business is to examine, and, if I can, to disprove this
testimony. If I can show the witness to be liable to error; if I can
adduce a principle which invalidates all his proofs; if I can make it
undeniably manifest that, in a case precisely parallel, similar
conclusions, deduced from exactly analogous phenomena, would be
notoriously false; if I can do this, I think I have a right to demand
that the witness be bowed out of court, as perfectly nugatory and
worthless _in this cause_.

In the first place, there is nothing here but _circumstantial_ evidence;
there is no _direct_ testimony to the facts sought to be established.
Let it not seem unfair to make this distinction; it is one of great
importance. No witness has deposed to actual observation of the
processes above enumerated; no one has appeared in court who declares
he actually saw the living _Pterodactyle_ flying about, or heard the
winds sighing in the tops of the _Lepidodendra_. You will say, "It is
the same thing; we have seen the skeleton of the one, and the crushed
trunk of the other, and therefore we are as sure of their past existence
as if we had been there at the time." No, it is not the same thing; it
is not _quite_ the same thing; NOT QUITE. Strong as is the evidence, it
is not _quite_ so strong as if you had actually seen the living things,
and had been conscious of the passing of time while you saw them live.
It is only by a process of reasoning that you infer they lived at

The process is something like this. Here is an object in a mass of
stone, which has a definite form,--the form of the bone of a beast. The
more minutely you examine it, the more points of resemblance you find;
you say, If this is a bone, it ought to have so and so--condyles, scars
for the attachment of muscles in particular spots, a cavity for the
reception of marrow, a mark for the insertion of the ligament; you look
for each of these, and find all in the very conditions you have
prescribed; it is not only a bone, but a particular bone, the
thigh-bone, for instance. Here in the same block of stone is another
object: you work it out; it is another bone; its joint accurately fits
the preceding; it answers precisely to the tibia of a mammal. Other
bones at length appear, and you have got a perfect skeleton, no part
redundant, none wanting; the most minute, the most elaborate, the most
delicate portions of the osseous frame of a mammal are present, and
every one exactly correspondent to the rest in size, in maturity, _in
fit._ Each bone, out of the scores, displays exactly those characters,
and no other, which an anatomist would have said beforehand it ought to
have. Allowing for the difference of species, the skeleton, when worked
out of its matrix, and set up, is precisely like that of the little
beast at whose death you were actually present, whose bones you cleaned
with your own hands, and mounted for your own museum. It would be as
reasonable to deny that the one is the skeleton of a real animal as the

Thus far there is matter of fact--observed, witnessed fact; you have
found in a stone a real skeleton.

You immediately infer that this skeleton once belonged to a living
animal, that breathed, and fed, and walked about, exactly as animals do
now. This conclusion seems so obvious and unavoidable, that we naturally
conclude it to rest on the same foundation as the fact that the object
_is_ a skeleton, or that _it was_ in the stone. But really it rests on a
totally different foundation; it is a conclusion deduced by a process of
reasoning from certain assumed premises.

Myriads, perhaps millions of skeletons of animals like this one have
come at different times under human observation, which have been
obviously referrible to creatures that, within the same sphere of
observation, had been alive. No similar skeleton has ever come within
the range of recorded observation that could be referred to any other
source than that of a quondam living animal. On these premises you build
the conclusion that a skeleton must, at some time or other, have
belonged to a living animal. And it may seem an impregnable position;
but yet its validity altogether depends on the exhaustive power of human
observation. If I could show, to your satisfaction, that a skeleton
might have existed; still more, if I could show you that a skeleton
_must_ have existed; still more, if I could prove that myriads of
skeletons, precisely like this, must have existed, without ever having
formed parts of antecedent living bodies; you would yourself acknowledge
that your conclusions were untenable. The utmost you could affirm, would
be, that possibly, perhaps probably, the skeleton you had found in the
stone had at some time belonged to a living animal, but that, so far as
any recognised premises exist, there was no certainty about it.

But the premises have not been fairly stated. There is more than the
relation of precedence and sequence in what we know of the connexion
between skeletons and living animals; there is the relation of cause and
effect. It is not only that universal experience has declared the _fact_
that every skeleton was once part of a living body; it has shown that
the very structure and nature of the skeleton _implied_ living body. The
skeleton, in every part, displays a regard for the advantages of the
living animal; it is built expressly for it; by itself it is nothing--a
machine without any object; its joints, its cavities, its apophyses, its
processes, all have special reference to tissues and organs which are
not here now, but which belong to the living body.

And then experience has shown that the skeleton is made in a particular
manner. The bone is deposited, atom by atom, in living organic cells,
which are formed by living blood, which implies a living animal. The
microscopic texture of your stone-girt skeleton does not differ from
that of the skeleton which you cleaned from the muscles with your own
hands; and therefore you infer that it was constructed in the same way,
namely, by the blood of a living body.

Well, I come back, notwithstanding, to my position,--that your right to
_affirm_ this must altogether depend on the exhaustive power of that
experience on which you build. And it will be overthrown, if I can show
that skeletons have been made in some other way than by the agency of
living blood.

Can I do this? I think I can. At least I think I can show enough greatly
to diminish, if not altogether to destroy, the confidence with which you
inferred the existence of vast periods of past time from geological
phenomena. I can adduce a principle, having the universality (within its
proper sphere) of LAW, hitherto unrecognised, whose tendency is to
invalidate the testimony of your witness.



"A little philosophy inclineth a man's mind to atheism; but depth in
philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion; for while the mind of
man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them,
and go no farther; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate
and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity."--BACON.

     "'What was the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wildfowl?'
     'That the soul of our grand-dam might haply inhabit a bird.'
     'What thinkest thou of his opinion?'
     'I think nobly of the soul, and in nowise receive his opinion.'"


As without some common ground it is impossible to reason, I shall take
for granted the two following principles:--



I. If any geologist take the position of the necessary eternity of
matter, dispensing with a Creator, on the old ground, _ex nihilo nihil
fit_,--I do not argue with him. I assume that at some period or other in
past eternity there existed nothing but the Eternal God, and that He
called the universe into being out of nothing.

II. I demand also, in opposition to the development hypothesis, the
perpetuity of specific characters, from the moment when the respective
creatures were called into being, till they cease to be. I assume that
each organism which the Creator educed was stamped with an indelible
specific character, which made it what it was, and distinguished it from
everything else, however near or like. I assume that such character has
been, and is, indelible and immutable; that the characters which
distinguish species from species _now_, were as definite at the first
instant of their creation as now, and are as distinct now as they were
then. If any choose to maintain, as many do, that species were gradually
brought to their present maturity from humbler forms,--whether by the
force of appetency in individuals, or by progressive development in
generations--he is welcome to his hypothesis, but I have nothing to do
with it. These pages will not touch him.

I believe, however, there is a large preponderance of the men of
science,[52] at least in this country, who will be at one with me here.
They acknowledge the almighty _fiat_ of God, as the energy which
produced being; and they maintain that the specific character which He
then stamped on his organic creation remains unchangeable.



     "----[Greek: ton trochon tês geneseôs]."--JAMES iii. 6.

The course of nature is a circle. I do not mean the _plan_ of nature; I
am not speaking of a circular arrangement of species, genera, families,
and classes, as maintained by MacLeay, Swainson, and others. Their
theories may be true, or they may be false; I decide nothing concerning
them; I am not alluding to any _plan_ of nature, but to its _course_,
_cursus_,--the way in which it _runs on_. This is a circle.

Here is in my garden a scarlet runner. It is a slender twining stem some
three feet long, beset with leaves, with a growing bud at one end, and
with the other inserted in the earth. What was it a month ago? A tiny
shoot protruding from between two thick fleshy leaves scarcely raised
above the ground. A month before that? The thick fleshy leaves were two
oval cotyledons, closely appressed face to face, with the minute
plumule between them, the whole enclosed in an unbroken,
tightly-fitting, spotted, leathery coat. It was a bean, a seed.


     _a._ The ripe bean, showing the hilum at *;
     _b._ The same bean, with one cotyledon removed, to show the plumule.
     _c._ A similar bean, twenty-four hours after planting.
     _d._ The same, on the sixth day after planting.
     _e._ The same, on the twelfth day.
     _f._ The same, on the fourteenth day.

N.B. From _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_, the front cotyledon has been cut away, to
show the progress of the plumule.]

Was this the commencement of its existence? O no! Six months earlier
still it was snugly lying, with several others like itself, in a green
fleshy pod, to the interior of which it was organically attached. A
month before that, this same pod with its contents was the centre of a
scarlet butterfly-like flower, the bottom of its pistil, within which,
if you had split it open, you would have discerned the tiny beans, whose
history we are tracing backwards, each imbedded in the soft green
tissue, but no bigger than the eye of a cambric needle.

But where was this flower? It was one of many that glowed on my garden
wall all through last summer; each cluster springing as a bud from a
slender twining stem, which was the exact counterpart of that with which
we commenced this little life-history.

And this earlier stem,--what of it? It too had been a shoot, a pair of
cotyledons with a plumule, a seed, an integral part of a carpel, which
was a part of an earlier flower, that expanded from an earlier bud, that
grew out of an earlier stem, that had been a still earlier seed, that
had been--and backward, _ad infinitum_, for aught that I can perceive.

The course, then, of a scarlet runner is a circle, without beginning or
end:--that is, I mean, without a natural, a normal beginning or end. For
at what point of its history can you put your finger, and say, "Here is
the commencement of this organism, before which there is a blank; here
it began to exist?" There is no such point; no stage which does not look
back to a previous stage, on which _this_ stage is inevitably and
absolutely dependent.

To some of my readers this may be rendered more clear by the
accompanying diagram:----

[Illustration: legume--reed--cotyledons--shoot--stem--bud--flower--carpel]

[Illustration: theca--spore--prothallus--sporal
frond--tuft--caudex--fertile frond--sorus]

See that magnificent tuft of Lady-fern on yonder bank, arching its
exquisitely cut fronds so elegantly on every side. A few years ago this
ample crown was but a single small frond, which you would probably not
have recognised as that of a Lady-fern. Somewhat earlier than this, the
plant was a minute flat green expansion (_prothallus_), of no definite
outline, very much like a Liverwort. This had been previously a
three-sided spore lying on the damp earth, whither it had been jerked by
the rupture of a capsule (_theca_). For this spore, though so small as
to be visible only by microscopic aid, had a previous history, which may
be traced without difficulty. It was generated with hundreds more, in
one of many capsules, which, were crowded together, beneath the oval bit
of membrane, that covered one of the brown spots (_sori_), which were
developed in the under surface of the fronds of an earlier Lady-fern.
That earlier individual had in turn passed through the same stages of
sporal frond, prothallus, spore, theca, sorus, frond, prothallus, spore,
theca, sorus, frond, prothallus, &c.--_ad infinitum_.

This sounding-winged Hawkmoth, which like a gigantic bee is buzzing
around the jasmine in the deepening twilight, hovering ever and anon to
probe the starry flowers that make the evening air almost palpable with
fragrance,--this moth, what "story of a life" can he tell? Nearly a year
of existence he has spent as a helpless, almost motionless pupa, buried
in the soft earth, from whence he has emerged but this evening. About a
twelvemonth ago he was a great fat green caterpillar with an arching
horn over his rump, working ever harder and harder at devouring poplar
leaves, and growing ever fatter and fatter. But before that he had one
day burst forth a little wriggling worm, from a globular egg glued to a
leaf. Whence came the egg? It was developed within the ovary of a parent
Hawkmoth, whose history is but an endless rotation of the same
stages,--pupa, larva, egg, moth, pupa, larva, &c. &c.

[Illustration: larva--pupa--moth--egg]

Behold this specimen of _Plumularia_, a shrub-like zoophyte, comprising
within its populous branches some twenty thousand polypes. Every
individual cell, now inhabited by its tentacled Hydra, has in its turn
budded out from a branch, which was itself but a lateral process from
the central axis. And this was but the prolongation of what was at first
a single cell, shooting up from a creeping root-thread. A little earlier
than this, there was neither cell nor root-thread, but the organism
existed in the form of a _planule_, a minute soft-bodied, pear-shaped
worm, covered with cilia, that crawled slowly over the stones and
sea-weeds. Whence came it? A few hours before, it had emerged from the
mouth of a vase-like cell, one of the ovarian capsules, which studded
the stem of an old well-peopled Plumularia-shrub, and which had been
gradually developed from its substance by a process analogous to
budding. And then if we follow the history of this earlier shrub
backward, it will only lead us through exactly correspondent stages,
primal cell, planule, ovarian capsule, stem, and so on interminably.

[Illustration: primal cell--axis--branch--polype--capsule--planule]

Once more. The cow that peacefully ruminates under the grateful shadow
of yonder spreading beech, was, a year or two ago, a gamesome heifer
with budding horns. The year before, she was a bleating calf, which
again had been a breathless foetus wrapped up in the womb of its
mother. Earlier still it had been an unformed embryo; and yet earlier,
an embryonic vesicle, a microscopically minute cell, formed out of one
of the component cells of a still earlier structure,--the germinal
vesicle of a fecundated ovum. But this ovum, which is the remotest point
to which we can trace the history of our cow as an individual, was,
before it assumed a distinct individuality, an undistinguishable
constituent of a viscus,--the ovary,--of another cow, an essential part
of _her_ structure, a portion of the tissues of _her_ body, to be traced
back, therefore, through all the stages which I have enumerated above,
to the tissues of another parent cow, thence to those of a former, and
so on, through a vista of receding cows, as long as you choose to follow

[Illustration: embryo--foetus--calf--heifer--cow--ovum--germ.
vesicle--embr. vesicle]

This, then, is the order of all organic nature. When once we are in any
portion of the course, we find ourselves running in a circular groove,
as endless as the course of a blind horse in a mill. It is evident that
there is no one point in the history of any single creature, which is a
legitimate beginning of existence. And this is not the law of some
particular species, but of all: it pervades all classes of animals, all
classes of plants, from the queenly palm down to the protococcus, from
the monad up to man: the life of every organic being is whirling in a
ceaseless circle, to which one knows not how to assign any
commencement,--I will not say any certain or even probable, but any
_possible_, commencement. The cow is as inevitable a sequence of the
embryo, as the embryo is of the cow. Looking only at nature, or looking
at it only with the lights of experience and reason, I see not how it is
possible to avoid one of these two theories, the development of all
organic existence out of gaseous elements, or the eternity of matter in
its present forms.

Creation, however, solves the dilemma. I have, in my postulates, begged
the fact of creation, and I shall not, therefore, attempt to prove it.
Creation, the sovereign fiat of Almighty Power, gives us the commencing
point, which we in vain seek in nature. But what is creation? It is _the
sudden bursting into a circle_. Since there is no one stage in the
course of existence, which, more than any other affords a natural
commencing point, whatever stage is selected by the arbitrary will of
God, must be an unnatural, or rather a preter-natural, commencing point.

The life-history of every organism commenced at some point or other of
its circular course. It was created, called into being, in some definite
stage. Possibly, various creatures differed in this respect; perhaps
some began existence in one stage of development, some in another; but
every separate organism had a distinct point at which it began to live.
Before that point there was nothing; this particular organism had till
then no existence; its history presents an absolute blank; _it was not_.

But the whole organisation of the creature thus newly called into
existence, looks back to the course of an endless circle in the past.
Its whole structure displays a series of developments, which as
distinctly witness to former conditions as do those which are presented
in the cow, the butterfly, and the fern, of the present day. But what
former conditions? The conditions thus witnessed unto, as being
necessarily implied in the present organisation, were non-existent; the
history was a perfect blank till the moment of creation. The past
conditions or stages of existence in question, can indeed be as
triumphantly inferred by legitimate deduction from the present, as can
those of our cow or butterfly; they rest on the very same evidences;
they are identically the same in every respect, except in this one, that
they were _unreal_. They exist only in their results; they are effects
which never had causes.

Perhaps it may help to clear my argument if I divide the past
developments of organic life, which are necessarily, or at least
legitimately, inferrible from present phenomena, into two categories,
separated by the violent act of creation. Those unreal developments
whose apparent results are seen in the organism at the moment of its
creation, I will call _prochronic_, because time was not an element in
them; while those which have subsisted since creation, and which have
had actual existence, I will distinguish as _diachronic_, as occurring
during time.

Now, again I repeat, there is no imaginable difference to sense between
the prochronic and the diachronic development. Every argument by which
the physiologist can prove to demonstration that yonder cow was once a
foetus in the uterus of its dam, will apply with exactly the same
power to show that the newly created cow was an embryo, some years
before its creation.

Look again at the diagram by which I have represented the life-history
of this animal. The only mode in which it can begin is by a sudden
sovereign act of power, an irruption into the circle. You may choose
_where_ the irruption shall occur; there must be a bursting-in at some
point. Suppose it is at "calf;" or suppose it is at "embr. vesicle." Put
a wafer at the point you choose, say the latter. This then is the real,
actual commencement of a circle, to be henceforth ceaseless. But the
embryonic vesicle necessarily implies a germinal vesicle, and this
necessitates an ovum, and the ovum necessitates an ovary, and the ovary
necessitates an entire animal,--and thus we have got a quarter round the
circle in back development; we are irresistibly carried along the
prochronic stages,--the stages of existence which were before existence
commenced,--as if they had been diachronic, actually occurring within
our personal experience.

If I know, as a _historic fact_, that the circle was commenced where I
have put my wafer, I may begin it there; but there is, and can be,
nothing in the _phenomena_ to indicate a commencement there, any more
than anywhere else, or, indeed, anywhere at all. The commencement, as a
fact, I must learn from testimony; I have no means whatever of inferring
it from phenomena.

       *       *       *       *       *

Permit me, therefore, to repeat, as having been proved, these two


Creation is a violent irruption into the circle of nature.




     "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
     declare, if thou hast understanding."--JOB xxxviii. 4.

Since every organism, considering it, throughout its generations, as an
unit, has been created, or made to commence existence, it is manifest
that it was created or made to commence existence at some moment of
time. I will ask some kind geological reader to imagine that moment, and
to accompany me in an ideal tour of inspection among the creatures,
taking up each for examination at the instant that it has been called
into existence. Do not be alarmed! I am not about to assume that the
moment in question was six thousand years ago, and no more; I will not
rule the actual date at all; you, my geological friend, shall settle the
chronology just as you please, or, if you like it better, we will leave
the chronological date out of the inquiry, as an element not relevant to
it. It may have been six hundred years ago, or six thousand, or sixty
times six millions; let it for the present remain an indeterminate
quantity. Only please to remember that the date _was_ a reality, whether
we can fix it or not; it _was_ as precise a moment as the moment in
which I write this word.

Well then, like two of those "morning stars" who, when "the foundations
were fastened," "shouted for joy," we will, in imagination, take our
stand on this round world at exactly ---- minutes past ---- o'clock, on
the morning of the ----th of ----, in the year B.C. ----. The noble
Tree-fern before us (_Alsophila aculeata_) has this instant been called
into being by the creating voice of God. Here it stands, lifting up its
columnar stem, and spreading its minutely fretted fronds all around, in
a vaulted canopy above our heads, through the filagree work of whose
expanse the sunbeams play in a soft green radiance. It has this instant
been created.

But I will suppose, further, that we have the power to call into our
council some experienced botanist; who is not acquainted, as we are,
with the fact of this just recent creation, and whom we will ask to
give us his opinion on the age of this beautiful plant.

_The Botanist._--"You wish to ascertain the age of this _Alsophila_. I
know of no data by which this can be determined with precision, but I
can indicate it approximately. Let us take it in order. The most recent
development is the growing point in the centre of the arching crown of
leaves. Around this you would see, if your eyes were above the plane,
close ring-like bodies, or, perhaps, more like snail-shells, protruding
from the growing bud; then young leaves, partially opened in various
degrees, but coiled up scroll-wise at their tips, and around these the
elegant fretted fronds, which expand broadly outwards in a radiating
manner, and arch downwards.

"Now every one of these broad fronds was at first a compactly coiled
ring; but it has, in the course of development, uncoiled itself, growing
at the same time from its extremity, and from the extremity of each of
its formerly wrapped-up pinnæ and pinnules, until at length it has
attained the expanse you behold. This process has certainly occupied
several days.

"But let us look farther. The outermost fronds that compose this
exquisite cupola, you see, are nearly naked; indeed, the extreme
outermost are quite naked, being stripped of their verdant honours,
their pinnæ and pinnules, and left mere dry and sapless sticks,--the
long and taper midribs of what were once green fronds, as graceful as
those that now surmount them. Some of them, you see, are hanging
downward, almost detached from the stem, and ready to drop at the first
breath of wind. Now remember, each of these brown unsightly sticks was
once a frond, that had passed through all the steps of uncoiling from
its circinate condition. This whole process has certainly occupied
several months.

"Look, now, below these withered midribs, lifting up the most drooping
of them. The stem is marked with great oval scars; and see, this old
frond-rib has come off in my hand, leaving just such a scar, and adding
one more to the number that were there before. And look down the stem;
it is studded all over with these oval scars. There are a hundred and
fifty at least; but I cannot count them nearly all, for towards the
lower part they become more undefined, and the growth of the stem has
thrown them further apart; and besides, there is, as you observe, a
matted mass of tangled rootlets, like tarred twine, which, springing
from between the lower scars, increases downwards, till the whole
inferior extremity of the stem is encased in the dank and reeking mass.

"You can have no doubt that every one of these scars indicates where a
leaf has grown, where it has waved its time, and whence, after death and
decay, it at length sloughed away. The form of the uppermost, which are
not distorted by age, agrees exactly with the outline of the bulging
base of the candelabrum-like frond; the arrangement of the scars is that
of the fronds; and you may notice in every scar marks where the
horseshoe-shaped plates of woody fibre have been broken off, which once
passed into the interior of the stem from the midrib of the frond.

"These scars, then, are ocular demonstrations of former fronds; we may
no more doubt that fronds were once growing from these spots, than we
may that the green and leafy arches were once coiled up in a circinate
vernation. They are the record of the past history of this organism, and
they evidently reach far back into time. The periodic ratio of
development of new fronds may be, perhaps, roughly estimated at six in
the course of a year. Now there are about a dozen unfolded or unfolding,
as many withering midribs, and about a hundred and fifty leaf-scars
that we can count with ease, not reckoning such as are indistinct, nor
such as are concealed beneath the tangled drapery of roots.

[Illustration: LEAF-SCARS OF TREE-FERN.]

"I have no hesitation, then, in pronouncing this plant to be thirty
years old; it is probably much older, but it is, at least, as old as

Such is the report of our botanical adviser; such is his argument; and
we cannot but admit that it is invulnerable; his conclusion is
inevitable, but for one fact, which he is not aware of. There is one
objection, however, to which it is open--a fatal one; you and I know
that the Tree-fern is not five minutes old, _for it was created but this

Here is another act of creation. It may be the same day as that of the
Tree-fern, or one as remote as you please from it, before or after. A
few moments ago this was a great mass of rough, naked limestone, but by
creative energy it has been suddenly clothed with a luxuriant mantle of
_Selaginella_. How exquisitely beautiful the aggregation of flattened
branching stems, studded with their tiny imbricated leaflets of tender
green, bloomed with blue! and how thick and soft the carpet that thus
conceals the angles and points and crevices of the unsightly stone!
Broad as is this expanse of verdure, covering many square yards without
a flaw, and rooted as it is at ten thousand points of its creeping stem,
we shall yet find that it is one unbroken structure. Our friend the
botanist would infer unhesitatingly that every part of this widespread
ramification has originally proceeded from one central shoot, and that
several years' growth must have concurred to form this compact mass.

Yet _we_ know that such an inference would be false. The plant has been
this instant called into being.

On the summit of this rounded hill is a very different plant from the
last. Beautiful it also is, but grandeur and majesty are its leading
attributes. It is a dense and massive clump of the Tulda Bamboo. How
noble these straight-jointed stems, cylinders of polished green,
shooting their points right upwards, and towering to a height of eighty
feet! The numerous panicles of tufty blossom are gracefully bending from
the summits, and from the tip of every branch, nodding in the breeze.
There are scores of the tall stems, as straight as an arrow, beset at
every joint with diverging horizontal branches, crossing and recrossing
in inextricable confusion. And see, amidst the crowd, there are others
as thick and tall, but without a single side-shoot, clothed, however, to
atone for the deficiency, in swaddling-clothes peculiarly their own.

These swathed stems are infant shoots,--vigorous and promising children,
indeed; these brown triangular sheaths, covered with down, are the
clothing of infancy; they increase in number, and are closer together
towards the summit of the shoot, where the growing point is rapidly
extending. When the stems have attained their full height, these
sheaths will fall off, the polished shafts will stand revealed in their
glossy beauty, and the lateral pointed branches will at once start forth
from every joint, and pierce horizontally through the dense tangled

Now these young shoots do not bear testimony to so great an age as you
would suppose. The whole seventy feet of their altitude have been
attained within thirty days! But then their massive size and vigour
indicate a mature age in the clump. For all the hundred stems that are
crowded together in this dense Bamboo-clump are organically united; they
are parts of one and the same plant, the root-stock of which has been
creeping to and fro year after year, sending up in constant succession
its arrowy stems, until it has attained the present magnificence. Many
years must have elapsed between the present condition of the grove, and
that of the slender blade that shot up from the tiny seed in this spot.

Yes, so you may think. But it is not so, for the great Bamboo-clump has
been created in its pride and glory this very hour!

Yonder is a considerable area of land covered with the green blades of
young wheat, and very healthy and strong it looks. No, it is
Couch-grass! The whole green sward which we see is a single plant; the
creeping stem of which has spread its ramifications in all directions
beneath the surface of the soil; and still the long succulent shoots are
extending in every direction, as shewn by the green leaf-blades. This is
a rapidly growing plant, it is true; yet still there must be an
accumulated growth of many months here, if not years! No, it was created
this morning.

Contrasting with this humble grass, observe that luxuriant Screw-pine.
See its singular crown of foliage at the summit of its equally singular
stem. Its great prickle-edged stiff leaves grow in long diagonal rows,
each sheathing its successor, and alternating with those of the next
row. How rich and fragrant an odour is diffused from its crowded

Every one of those sword-like leaves is, of course, the record of a
period of time. A tree of this size makes a "screw," or imperfect spire,
of leaves in about three years; and there are about sixteen pairs of
leaves in each screw, which will give us nearly eleven leaves for the
development of each season. Now, on the trunk, there are numerous waved
lines quite covering its surface, which are the traces of old leaves
that have in succession been produced and decayed away;--the trunk is,
in fact, composed of these leaf-bases. By counting these, we may obtain
then an approximate notion of the age of this plant;--an _approximate_
notion only, because in its young stages the development of leaves
probably took place more rapidly than it does now. There are then on
this trunk about one hundred and fifty horizontal rows of scars, and
each row numbers four leaf-bases, so that the trunk is inscribed with an
autographic record of six hundred leaves. If then we reckon eleven
leaves as the produce of a single season, and add the four screws which
are still flourishing, we shall obtain a result of about fifty-five
years as the age of this _Pandanus_. This, for the reason just assigned,
would probably be considerably too much; perhaps, forty years would be
nearer the truth.

There are, however, other marks of age here, though they are less
definite. The great hardness of the surface-wood, which we perceive on
trying to indent it, is an indication of age, as it is produced by the
successive bundles of woody fibre, which, year after year, have passed
down from each leaf, curving, in their descent, towards the
circumference of the stem, and, therefore, constantly augmenting the
density of the outer portions.

Another very curious proof of age is seen in the number of aerial roots
which descend from various points of the trunk towards the soil. You
would at first be inclined to think them posts, which a carpenter had
set to "shore up" the tree, as props to prevent its being blown down.
And truly this is their purpose; but they are natural adjuncts, not
artificial. These thick rods, some of which have not yet reached the
ground, have been shot forth in turn from the stem, in order to afford
it additional support in the loose sandy soil. And mark, by the way, a
beautiful contrivance here. Because the growing tender extremity of the
root has to pass through the sun-parched air in its progress towards the
earth, there is a curious exfoliation of its extremity, forming a sort
of cup, which, collecting the scanty dews, retains sufficient moisture
for the refreshment of the spongy rootlet. Now, I say, these supporting
roots, since they must have originated from the trunk, after the latter
had attained a considerable height, are so many evidences--and
cumulative evidences--of age, though their testimony cannot be so well
made to bear on a known period as that of the leaf-bases.

Should we not then be amply warranted in asserting this Screw-pine to be
many years old, if we were not assured that, as a fact, it has been
this instant created?

[Illustration: ROOTS OF IRIARTEA.]

A phenomenon analogous to that which we have just observed is presented
by yonder Pashiuba Palm (_Iriartea exorhiza_). Its straight arrowy stem
has shot up to the height of fifty feet, like a slender iron column. On
the summit there is the usual divergent crown of leaves that
distinguishes this most graceful and queenly tribe; and at the foot, a
tall open cone of roots, strangely supporting the column on its apex.

"But what most strikes attention in this tree, and renders it so
peculiar, is, that the roots are almost entirely above ground. They
spring out from the stem, _each one at a higher point than the last_,
and extend diagonally downwards till they approach the ground, when they
often divide into many rootlets, each of which secures itself in the
soil. As fresh ones spring out from the stem, _those below become rotten
and die off_; and it is not an uncommon thing to see a lofty tree
supported entirely by three or four roots, so that a person may walk
erect beneath them, or stand with a tree seventy feet high growing
immediately over his head."

"In the forests where these trees grow, numbers of young plants of every
age may be seen, all miniature copies of their parents, except that they
seldom possess more than three legs, which gives them a strange and
almost ludicrous appearance."[53]

This tall Pashiuba before us, however, is supported on several scores
of roots, in various stages of development, some descending through the
air, some already fixed in the soil. As the presence of these, moreover,
implies the decay and disappearance of earlier ones, their number and
height may be accepted as a fair testimony to the age of the tree;
independent of what we might have deduced from the trunk and other
sources. (My reader will bear in mind, that, throughout this chapter, I
am supposing that we have the opportunity of seeing each organism at the
moment following that of its creation.) The _Iriartea_ before us, then,
notwithstanding its marks of maturity, is but--a new-born infant, I was
about to say, rather--a new-made adult.

Another and more massive Palm appears, where a moment ago there was
nothing but smooth ground and empty air. It is the Sugar Palm (_Saguerus
saccharifer_), remarkable in its appearance for the swathes of what
looks to be _sackcloth of hair_, in which its stem is enveloped. Each of
its great pinnate leaves forms with the dilated base of its midrib a
broad sheath, which springs out of a loose fold of this coarse cloth
that is wrapped around it. And not only the bases of the still
flourishing leaves are swathed in this natural textile fabric, but the
dead and dry leaf-bases of the former leaves, which may be traced all
down the stem. But let us look at this strange cloth: what is it? It is
composed of the exterior fibres of the leaf-bases themselves, which in
process of growth have partially separated themselves, and from which
the parenchyma and the lamina have decayed away. The appearance of a
woven fabric is deceptive; there is no interlacing; but its semblance is
produced by the fibres lying in layers one over the other, and by some
of them having a direction at right angles to the others. Originally all
the fibres were parallel and longitudinal, but as they have been, in the
growth of the leaf, pulled out laterally, the main fibres, which are
indefinitely divisible, have adhered to each other at various parts, and
the result has been that innumerable constituent fibrillæ have been
stretched across from fibre to fibre.

Every square inch, then, of this sackcloth tells of the lapse of time;
these horse-hair-like fibres were once green and vascular, enclosing a
soft pulp; in short, they were a part of a verdant leaf; the reduction
of each congeries of veins to this condition was a work of time, and
this has been effected by many leaf-bases in succession.

An examination of this _gomuti_, as it is called, does not indeed help
us to identify the actual interval lapsed in the history of the plant;
but we may arrive at this from other considerations. The great sheathing
bases themselves remain in numbers attached to the upper portion of the
stem, though the greater portion of the midrib with the pinnæ has
decayed and fallen; and in the lower part, where even the bases have
disappeared, still broad lateral scars are left, marking off the stipe
into horizontal rings, which are not less conclusively certain evidences
of the former existence of similar bases, and therefore, still earlier,
of leaves.

The Sugar Palm developes and matures on an average six leaves every
year.[54] On counting the dry leaf-bases, and the scars, I find on this
trunk, a hundred and twenty: besides which there are about a dozen
expanded leaves, and two visible, which are not unfolded. A hundred and
thirty-four leaves then have left proofs of their existence here; which
divided by six, gives about twenty-two years as the age of this Palm.
This is the age of this tree, however, since it began to form a stem;
but several years of infancy must be added to the sum, during which its
fronds sprang in succession from the surface of the soil.

Look at this _Areca_. By-and-by it will grow to the loftiest stature
attained by any of its tribe, and its noble crown of leaves will wave on
the summit of a slender pillar a hundred and fifty feet in height. But
at present it has no stem at all; the widely arching leaves diverge from
a central point which is below the surface of the soil. Here, then, are
no dead leaf-bases; here are no old historical scars:--have we any
evidence of past time here? Yes, surely. See this fully developed leaf.
It is composed of a stout midrib, along the two opposite edges of which
grow, like the beards of a feather, narrow sword-like leaflets,
separated from each other by intervals of about two inches. But this
pinnate condition,--which is so inseparable from the developed leaf of a
great division of the Palm tribe, that our idea of a palm-leaf almost
always is that of an enormous feather,--is by no means the original
state. Observe this young leaf which is not yet thoroughly expanded; the
leaflets are, indeed, separated everywhere, except that the tips of all
are connected by a very narrow ribbon of the common green lamina, which
runs from one to another. In the fully opened leaves, this has been torn
apart and is not distinguishable.

But, let us carefully open this still younger leaf, which is protruding
like a thin green rod, or rather like a closed fan, from the centre of
the crown. We must handle it delicately, for it is very tender. Now you
see it is not pinnate at all; the leaf is as entire as a _Musa_ leaf,
which, indeed, it much resembles, except that each half is folded
transversely, and then these transverse folds are packed one on another
longitudinally, fan-fashion. Each of the transverse folds answers to a
future leaflet. It is the development of the midrib in length that tears
asunder the divisions of the lamina, and converts them into separate,
and by-and-by remote, pinnæ.

It is manifest then that every leaflet on the midrib of a pinnate-leaved
Palm is a record of past time, as real as the leaf-bases on the trunk,
inasmuch as, in each case, there is ocular proof that the conditions of
existence are different from what they have been. And yet in this case,
the evidences are fallacious, since the _Areca_ before us has even now
been created.

Here is an extraordinary plant. Though no thicker than your little
finger, it will be found almost a quarter of a mile in length.[55] This
is a kind of Cane (_Calamus_); its slender jointed and polished stem is
encased in the closely-sheathing and tubular bases of the leaves, which
are spiny on their midribs, spiny on their pinnæ, and horridly spiny on
the long and tough whip-lash in which the point of each leaf terminates.
This lengthened cord is studded, at intervals of a few inches, with
whorls of stout and acute prickles which are hooked backwards, and
performs an important part in the economy of the plant. We see how it
sprawls along the ground a few yards, then climbs up a tall tree, runs
over the summit, descends on the opposite side to the ground, mounts
over another tree, and thus pursues its wormlike course. Now as the
pinnate leaves are put forth at every joint, the formidably armed
flagellum affords a secure holdfast to the climbing stem, which
otherwise would be liable to be blown prostrate by the first gust of
wind; the recurved hooks, however, catch in the leaves and twigs of the
trees, and effectually maintain the domination of the prickly intruder.

It is obvious that every inch sprawled over by this trailing stem
supposes all the previous inches of its lengthening course; that every
successive joint implies the existence of all the earlier joints; that
every whorl of spines involves the development of every former whorl.
Yet our reasoning is at fault; there has been as yet no succession; the
development has been simultaneous, for it is the development, not of
growth, but of creation.

Enough of Palms. Look at this _Agave_. Its thick, fleshy, glaucous
leaves, with spinous margins and pointed ends, are arranged in many
whorls on the summit of a stem, which is scarcely visible, as it barely
rises above the soil. From the centre of the crown springs the stately
flower-stalk, itself a tree of forty feet in stature, having a cluster
of yellow blossoms at the extremities of its candelabra-like branches.

Have we here any clue to the past history of the plant? The tall
flower-stalk, it is true, is of rapid growth, its whole stature having
been attained within three or four weeks. But those massive leaves! Each
of these lasts many years, and their development is as slow as that of
the flower-stalk is rapid. Certainly we cannot assign to this
individual, in the very vigour of its inflorescence, an antiquity less
than half a century, and perhaps it may be considerably more.

You are altogether wrong; for it is but just called into existence.

[Illustration: TRAVELLER'S TREE.]

We pass on, and pause before a noble example of one of the stateliest of
plants,--the Traveller's Tree (_Urania speciosa_). It is a great
Musaceous plant, resembling one of those fans which in the Southern
States of America are made by ladies out of the broad tail-feathers of a
turkey. Its leaves, of vast size, consist of a broad oblong lamina of
the most brilliant green hue, divided equally by a midrib which descends
in a smooth cylindrical petiole, much longer than the lamina (which is
itself eight feet or more in length). Each leaf-stalk terminates below
in a great demi-sheath, out of which springs another, in a zigzag or
distichous fashion, the whole diverging, as they rise, in the same

Below the alternately-sheathing leaves, of which there are but eight at
present existing, there are the bases of others, now dead, which, when
alive, evidently followed the same arrangement; and these give place yet
lower to rings, each partly surrounding a massive conical stem.

I fear we have no criterion for determining the exact age of such a
plant as this from actual observations on its rate of growth. From the
fewness of its existing leaves they probably endure a considerable time;
but at all events here are indubitable evidences of successive
generations of leaves which are now past and gone; some of which are
represented by withered rib-bases, while older ones have left but the
scars which indicate the positions on the trunk where once they stood.
Here are distinct testimonies to the lapse of a considerable period of
time since the magnificent _Urania_, began its existence. Yet we should
err egregiously by giving credence to them, since these developments are
all _prochronic_.

"What a lovely butterfly!" Nay, it is a flower: though it dances in the
air with an insect's fluttering flight, and seems to present in its
broad wings of yellow and orange, and in its long and slender members,
an insect's form and hues, it is but a flower fixed at the end of a
lengthened stalk, which hangs from, a mass of leaves and bulbs, seated
in the fork of this huge mahogany-tree.

We will neglect the flower, curious and beautiful as it is, and examine
this crowded mass of roots and fleshy leaves and oval bulbs.

Tracing the slender lengthened footstalk to its origin, we see that it
springs from the lower part of a flat, ovate, or nearly round, ridged,
pseudo-bulb, of a purplish-green hue, of which there are many, much
crowded together. The point of issue of the flower-stalk is concealed by
an enveloping husky scale, which is the withered condition of a former
leaf. From the base of another bulb a thick obtuse cone is pushing
forth, which is the commencement of a new leaf-shoot; and here is one
considerably advanced. In this latter there is nothing very remarkable;
it is a thick, growing shoot, formed by fleshy leaves nearly doubled
together, each sheathed by its predecessor. But soon this will cease to
grow, and the point will dilate into an oval bulb, which will be a
reservoir of nutriment for the future flower. In fact it will add
another to the matted mass of bulbs which are already accumulated,
crowned with two great thick, leathery, ovate, brown-spotted leaves, and
marked with the scars of the leaves which are now growing, but which
will then have sloughed away.

In this _Oncidium_, then, we have evidently a record of many bygone
processes. Before the flower could open, the flower-stalk must have been
developed; before this, the pseudo-bulb must have been formed; before
this, there must have been a well-formed leaf-shoot, which must have
been first a conical bud pushing forth from some anterior bulb;--or, if
that shoot had been the first of the mass, then it must have looked back
to a seed, which of course looked back to the capsule of a pre-existent
flower, and so on.

Yet this is all fallacious; for the Butterfly-flower is but just

As beautiful, if less curious, is the crowded spike of purple blossom
that adorns the tall stalk of this terrestrial Orchis. The flower-stalk
springs from the midst of a few large spotted leaves, which terminate
below in an irregular fleshy tuber of glutinous consistence. This tuber
is shrivelled, and is in process of exhaustion and decay; but a
horizontal stem has pushed out underground, which has at its extremity a
second tuber, as yet immature, but plump and swelling. This growing
tuber contains the elements of the leaves and flower-spike of next
season: the shrivelling one was, last year at this period, in exactly
the same condition as the swelling one is now; it too was pushed out
horizontally from a preceding one which was then shrivelling, and so
backward. These pre-existing stages can with certainty be announced by
the vegetable physiologist; who yet would be deceived in this instance,
because the plant has been but just created.

This elegant _Gladiolus_ that displays its tall spike of crimson
blossoms from the midst of its flattened folded leaves, affords us a
similar example of retrospective energy. If I dig away the light soil
from around its base, I discover two globose corms, fleshy swellings of
the stem, accumulations of nutriment obtained during the vegetative
activity of the plant, and destined to support it during the season of
inaction, and therefore stored up for that purpose.


The uppermost of these globose corms is that of the present season; it
is as yet small and immature, being in process of formation by the
assimilation, consolidation, and deposition of new matter by the action
of the leaves. This is sheathed in the tubular bases of the leaves,
which expand above; and it is seated on a larger, riper, and more
spherical corm, which is wrapped in a brown fibrous skin. This is the
matter which was deposited in the course of last spring and summer, and
the brown skin is the remains of the leaves of last year. This corm has
remained inactive, since the decay of last year's leaves, until this
winter, when the root fibres, which we see descending from the lower
surface, began to form, and an upward prolongation of the stem followed,
which, as it grew, swelled into the upper corm.

In the centre of the under surface of the corm of last season, in a
depression surrounded by the white root-fibres, there are some almost
decayed remains of a deep brown hue. These are the last vestiges of the
preceding year's corm, and they exhibit the condition in which the large
corm will be next spring, when the small half-formed one will be in the
state and position of this larger one, and will in like manner be
surmounted by its rising successor.

Thus there are in this plant ocular proofs of two years' history before
the present; yet these proofs are invalidated by the fact of its
creation this day.

Behold now that singular plant, the Grass-tree (_Kingia australis_),
displaying what seems an immense tuft of wiry grass elevated on the
summit of a trunk which is formed of the united bases of myriads of
decayed leaves, the representatives of many generations of these
organs. The silvery leaves which constitute the existing crown, and the
numerous spikes of blossom which stand up in a circle diverging from the
midst of them, give to this plant a most striking effect. That, however,
is not our present concern, but the evidences which we may be able to
gather from it of a previous history. For some distance below the living
leaves, the trunk is connected by the withered, hanging, but still
persistent leaves of several successive developments, a ragged drapery,
of which we might certainly say--

     "----when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most."

The lower portion of the stem is, however, destitute of the decayed
leaves themselves, the lozenge-formed bases of them alone remaining,
still separable, indeed, but sufficiently compact to make in the
aggregate a sub-cylindrical column of loose texture, which may in
familiar parlance be termed a _trunk_. This portion is marked by
alternate enlargements and constrictions of the outline, which appear to
indicate seasonal growths.

The specimen before us is about twenty feet in height, exclusive of the
crown; supposing these swellings to mark a year's growth, and to be
continued in the same proportion on that part of the trunk which is
masked by the decayed leaves as on the exposed part, we should conclude
this tree to be about thirty-five years old; for there are about
thirty-four such swellings, each of which contains about four hundred of
the lozenge-shaped bases of the fallen leaves.[56]

Remember, however, that we are looking at the Grass-tree, not as it now
appears on the sandy plains of Western Australia, in the nineteenth
century, but as it came out of the hands of its Almighty Creator at some
precise but unknown period of past time.

This White Lily, crowned with its cluster of nodding flowers,
magnificently beautiful, each a fair emblem of the spotless purity of a
noble virgin--if we remove the soil from its base, we shall find that
the stem springs out of a fleshy bulb. This is covered with thick yellow
scales, by taking away each of which in turn, we see that the bulb is
made up of such, surrounding the central mass which has pushed upward,
in the form of the stalk, with its leaves and flowers.


Now the whole of this beautiful array which we see was formed last
summer, when, if we had divided the bulb longitudinally, we should have
seen every leaf, every tiny blossom, folded together, and most snugly
packed within the encircling scales, which are, indeed, undeveloped
leaves; while from the base of the bulb so formed we should have seen
pushed up on the outside of it, but yet within the common envelope of
the exterior scales, the flower-stem of last season. There could not
possibly have been this raceme of virgin blossom, if it had not been
formed during the preceding season within the bulb; so that its
existence is a record of a year's growth at least.

Yet this is the first hour of the lovely Lily's life; an hour ago it was

The face of the rugged cliff that rises perpendicularly above us was, a
few moments ago, quite naked and bare, or diversified only by a few
stunted prickly shrubs that sprang from its crevices. Now, by the mighty
fiat of God, it is in an instant festooned from top to bottom with a
most graceful drapery of round pale-green leaves, and slender stems no
thicker than whipcord, and multitudes of spiral tendrils that climb, and
hook, and catch, and entwine among the thorny bushes, and around the
angles and prominences of the rock. We trace this curtain of verdure
downwards, and find that it resolves itself into some half a dozen of
wiry-stems, that issue from different points of the surface of what
seems a boulder of brown stone, or a block of rough-hewn timber, at the
foot of the cliff.

[Illustration: TESTUDINARIA.]

This angular block is, however, worthy of closer examination. It is of
no definite form, huge and uncouth, lying as if cast accidentally on the
ground. Its whole surface is divided into a multitude of polyhedral
pieces, that look as if they had been cut into these forms by human
art. Each division has a small angular face, and its sides display close
parallel lines, all following the directions and angles of the outer
face, but each line enclosing a slightly wider area than the one above
it. These woody plates closely resemble in their angular forms and their
concentric lines the plates of a Tortoise's shell, and hence our
botanical friend, to whom we will appeal for an opinion as to the age of
the block, will call the generic name _Testudinaria_.

"Well, I cannot give you any very precise judgment on the matter. The
block itself is the tuber of a sort of yam, which grows above ground
instead of below. It is a woody mass of great age. The angular plates
are the bark, and they are so divided in consequence of the gradual
growth of the tuber, tearing open its periphery to obtain more room. The
concentric lines on the edges of the plates will not give us any
adequate idea of the age of the mass, for though they indicate seasonal
growths, the earlier layers have been worn away in the lapse of ages,
and there are many layers of bark that have not yet been burst by the
expansive force of the growing wood. It is known that these blocks are
of very slow growth; in tropical regions they last, with scarcely
perceptible increase, from generation to generation. From such vague
data as we possess, I might loosely conjecture this tuber to be a
thousand years old."

We thank our scientific friend, and think it a very satisfactory report
on an organism, which we saw called into existence five minutes ago,
before our eyes.

Come away; for I wish you to look at this _Encephalalartos_. A horrid
plant it is, a sort of caricature of the elegant Palms, somewhat as if a
founder had essayed a cocoa-nut tree in cast iron. Out of the thick,
rough, stiff stem spring a dozen of arching fronds, beset with sharp,
sword-shaped leaflets, but having the rigidity of horn, of a greyish
hue, all harsh and repulsive to excess. In the midst of this rigid
coronal sits the fruit, like an immense pine-cone.

The swelling column that constitutes the stem is but a mass of pith,
surrounded by a thin case of wood, and enclosed by the remains of former
leaves. The whole surface is covered with the lozenge-shaped scars of
these, in vast number. Thousands of these there must be in this trunk of
eight feet high, and a foot thick. The leaves of the existing crown are
few and very durable, so that it would be no unreasonable conjecture to
suppose that this great Cycadaceous plant is seven or eight centuries

[Illustration: ENCEPHALARTOS.]

Nay, for this also has been created even now!

What shall we say to _this_ singular phenomenon? Observe yonder gigantic
Fig (_Ficus Australis_) growing out of the face of that vast rocky
precipice. It is not so much to the massive grandeur of the trunk, nor
to the widespread head of dense foliage, that I call your attention, as
to the broad expanse of roots, from the thickness of your body to that
of your little finger, which have crossed and interlaced and separated
and re-united, in all imaginable ways, until the whole forms a great
flat network of wood, investing the surface of the rock, and following
all its projections and angles with singular faithfulness, for a space
of many square yards.

Would you not say, admitting that the Figs are rapid growers, that many
years must have elapsed since the minute seed was dropped in yonder
crevice, by some vagrant parrot that wiped his beak after breakfast on
the point of rock? Would you not say that many years must have passed
from the time when the tiny shoot peeped from the rocky chink, to the
present moment, when the leafy honours of the crown above and the woody
wall of the roots below combine to repay the protection which the plant
in infancy received from its stony foster mother?

Of course you would; and most truly too, did you not know that the
Fig-tree is now rejoicing in the first hour of its new-created being.

So with its noble congener here, the many-trunked Banyan (_Ficus
Indica_). Although not an old tree, its canopy of broad downy leaves is
already supported by so many secondary trunks, that it is not easy to
say which of the larger stems is the mother trunk, and which the hopeful
daughters. Every one of these stems, some just protruding from the
horizontal limbs, others hanging midway between the leafy roof and the
earth, some just inserting their slender spongy tips into the soil,
others thick and pillar-like--is an evidence of progressive development,
and therefore of lapsed time; only for the qualifying fact, that the
development in this case is _prochronic_.

Here is the great _Euphorbia grandidens_ of Africa. Its stout trunk is
marked with a number of holes, some four or five inches apart, arranged
in perpendicular rows. In some cases they are rather depressions or
pittings than holes, and look like what would result from borings made
with an auger in pitch in warm weather, the margins of which had nearly
closed, subsequently. What is the explanation of these marks? They are
all records of time. From each of these spots once grew one of those
angular prickly branches, that look like our commonest sorts of
_Cactus_, and which are now confined to the summit of the trunk,
arching out from it, somewhat like the branches of a candlestick.

It is the habit of this plant, when the stem has acquired a certain
thickness, that the branches should, after a time, decay and drop off at
the point of their union with the trunk, or rather a little below the
surface, so as to leave the shallow holes or pits which we see. After
their decadence, the growing bark gradually swells around the scars, and
has a tendency to obliterate them. This may account for the
non-appearance of them on the lower parts of the stem.

Here, then, are demonstrations of several successive stages of
development. First, the stem must have been in existence before any
lateral branches could have sprung from it. Secondly, the branch shot
out. Thirdly, it put forth its spines and leaves. Fourthly, it died and
sloughed away. Fifthly, the growing bark encroached on, and finally
obliterated the cicatrice.

In this individual, all these stages are illusory, or rather they are

See this noble Tulip-tree (_Liriodendron tulipiferum_), a giant of this
primeval forest; its towering trunk is crowned with a head of large
massy foliage, of a rich deep verdure, among which shine numbers of
great golden tulip-like blossoms, as fragrant as beautiful.

It is, however, the leaves that grow on the terminal twigs that I wish
you specially to notice. These, which, as you see, are large, and of a
remarkably elegant form, are fixed at the end of long petioles, which
are set alternately on the twig. Notice, now, the manner of their
development; the young unexpanded leaves grow within two large leaf-like
bracts, forming an oval sac, which, as the young leaf increases, swell,
and at length burst, and are left on each side of the base of the
leaf-stalk. There is a succession of these. On this growing twig, for
instance, I find three leaves already expanded (_a a a_ in the
accompanying figure), and as many pairs of these bracts (_b b b_) at
their bases; the twig is terminated by a pair (_c_) convex outwardly,
and whose edges are in contact with each other; if, now, I cut off one
of these (as represented at _d_), I expose the next leaf (_e_) folded
together, and bent downward, in its pretty manner of _vernation_; beside
it is another pair of bracts (_f_), whose edges are not only in contact,
but mutually adherent, and that with considerable force. On tearing
these apart, I discover another smaller leaf, and another smaller pair
of adhering bracts, which again contain a similar set, only yet more
minute, and so on in succession, till I can no longer trace them.

[Illustration: TWIG OF TULIP-TREE.]

Now it is manifest that the uppermost of the three leaves, together with
the developing terminal bud, was at one time enclosed in the pair of
bracts immediately below its base; that, before that, the middle leaf,
with all above it, was similarly incarcerated in its own proper tracts;
and, at a period anterior to that, the lowest leaf also. Each pair of
bracts is therefore a record of a past period; and together they testify
to a succession of past periods.

And yet their combined testimony is utterly worthless, because the noble
tree was created in its magnificence this very day.

The beautiful twiner (_Bignonia_), which has cast its ample festoons
over the topmost branches of yonder towering Mora-tree, almost
concealing the natural foliage with its own elegantly pinnate leaves,
and adorning it with its gorgeous trumpet-shaped flowers, is
distinguished by a curious property, indicative of the years that have
passed over it. In its adult maturity, as we now see it--the glory of
this tropical forest--we should find, if we cut across the main stem,
that its wood is divided into lobes arranged in a radiate or star-like
fashion, like the divisions seen on dividing an orange transversely; and
these lobes are thirty-two in number.

But this condition has not existed through the life of the plant. The
wood has always been lobed, but the number of the divisions has varied,
and that in geometrical ratio. Before the present stage, the constituent
lobes were sixteen, which became thirty-two by the subdivision of each.
In an earlier stage there were eight lobes, and, earlier still, four,
which was the commencing number; the duplication having proceeded in
each case by the fission of each of the existing lobes into two.[57]

Now though this phenomenon will afford us, on the data we at present
possess, no insight into the age of the plant, considered as an actual
chronological period, an examination of a transverse section would
always determine which stage is then present, and, by consequence, how
many previous stages have been passed through. And thus we obtain a
distinct clue to the former history of the organism, though we cannot
mark it off into months and years.

Yet the fact of creation stultifies all the conclusions that we might
form from such premises; since it does, _ipso facto_, contradict every
such thing as a previous history.

On this _Anona_ there is an intruder more strictly parasitical; it is a
_Loranthus_, with long, club-shaped, richly-coloured blossoms. The
branches of the supporting tree--a nurse who feeds her foster-child on
her own vital juices--are over-spread for a large space with the shoots;
which, springing each from its own disk, appear like so many distinct
individuals, but are really all parts of a single plant, springing from
a single seed. (For this curious fact we are indebted to the
observations of Mr. Griffith, who has investigated the singular history
of these parasites.)

The ripe seeds firmly adhere to the substance on which they are applied,
by means of their viscid envelope, which soon hardens into a transparent
glue. In the course of two or three days, the radicle curves towards its
support, and, as soon as it reaches it, becomes dilated and flattened.
An union is gradually formed between the woody system of the parasite
and that of the stock, after which the former lives exclusively on the
latter, the fibres of the sucker-like root of the parasite expanding on
the wood of the support in the form of a _paté d'oie_. Up to that time
the parasite had been nourished by its own albumen, which is now
exhausted. As soon as the young parasite has acquired the height of one
or two inches, when an additional supply of nourishment is required, a
lateral shoot is sent out, which is, especially towards the point, of a
green colour. This at one, or two, and subsequently at various points,
adheres to the support by means of sucker-like productions, which are
precisely similar in structure and mode of attachment to the original
seminal one. The fibres of the parasite never penetrate beyond their
original attachment; in the adult the sucker-bearing shoots frequently
run to a considerable distance, many plants being literally covered with
parasites, all of which have originated from one and the same seed.[58]


In this case, again, how delusive would be any inference of actual
lapse of time deduced from the condition of a plant, which had been
created as an adult capable of reproducing its race!

Here is a great impenetrable thicket of Prickly Pear. The delicate
sulphur-hued flowers expand their broad bosoms to the sun, and the
swelling fruit beneath is already putting on its lovely blush of
crimson. How curious are the leafless but leaf-like dilatations of the
stem--these flat oval plates of parenchyma, studded with clusters of
woody and most acute spines!--Every one of these expansions is an
expression of time, as they are of course successive, though several may
be formed in a single season; and not only so, but the tufts of spines,
which grow at the points of intersection of crossing lines, in a network
pattern, are all successive, appearing in turn as the expanded joint of
the stem grows out.

The jointed dilatations themselves are, however, transitory; in the slow
lapse of years the common woody axis enlarges, and the interspaces
between the oval plates become gradually filled up with cellular tissue,
and thus are obliterated; the stem, as may be seen in the central part
of this spreading thicket, becoming round, almost smooth, and of dense
woody texture. "This condition is the result of many years," you say.
It is so, in the ordinary course of nature; but in the case before us,
it has been educed in a totally different manner, and by a totally
different energy, viz. prochronically, by the omnipotent fiat of the

We have emerged from the forest glooms, and are come within the light
and the music of the sparkling sea. And here at its margin, washed by
its wavelets, there has been suddenly created a Mangrove tree
(_Rhizophora_), destined to be, doubtless, the fruitful parent of a
grove, which by and by will fringe this flat and muddy shore for miles,
shutting out the light and air which now freely play over the beach, and
keeping in, beneath a long canopy of dense and leathery foliage, the
murky vapours which will rise from the decomposition of its successive

As yet it is a single tree, but in its perfection of maturity. And see
how characteristically we find here that singular structure, or rather
habit, which in Mangroves of normal development would be the effect of
age. The trunk springs from the union of a number of slender arches,
each forming the quadrant of a circle, whose extremities penetrate into
the muddy soil. These are the roots of the tree--there are no
others--that shoot out in this arched form from the base, or "crown" of
the stem, taking a very regular curve of six feet or more in length
before they dip into the mud. The larger arches send out secondary
shoots from their sides, which take the same curved form, but in a
direction at right angles to the former; and thus a complex array of
vaulted lines is formed, which, to the crabs that run beneath--if they
were only able to institute the comparison, must be like the roof-groins
of some Gothic church, supposing the interspaces to be open to the sky.

Now, normally, it would require a lapse of several years from the first
dip of the radicle of the seed into the soft soil, to form these arches,
and to lift the axis of the tree a foot or eighteen inches above the
surface. But here the same result is achieved in a moment, by the
exercise of creative power.

Look at this _Eriodendron_. What a magnificent accumulation of vegetable
cells is here! Its colossal trunk rises in naked majesty, a massive
column, to the height of a hundred feet, without a branch. And then what
branches! Those limbs themselves are of the bulk of ordinary forest
trees; they break out, three or four on the same plane, and radiate
horizontally to a vast distance, supporting a noble flat "roof of
inwoven shade."

[Illustration: SILK-COTTON TREE.]

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this majestic tree is found at
the foot of the trunk, which sends out vast spurs, radiating in all
directions, and extending to a circle of seventy or eighty feet in
diameter. These spurs take the form of perpendicular walls of timber,
commonly not more than six or eight inches thick, pretty equal in their
thickness throughout, and varying in height from fifteen or twenty feet,
where they spring from the trunk, to the point where they enter the

Now the Silk-cotton tree has not had this form through its life. When
young, say up to twenty or thirty years old, there was no appearance of
spurs; the trunk was covered with a green bark, and was studded with
great triangular low spines, an inch in diameter. And, what had a
curious effect, the middle of the stem swelled into an ovate form, quite
symmetrical on all sides. But, as years passed, the ventricose form of
the trunk was gradually lost; the bark became of a hoary grey hue or
even almost white; the three-sided prickles disappeared from the bole,
and were retained only on the upper surfaces of the limbs; and the great
lateral buttresses began to fill up the angles which had hitherto
existed between the trunk and the main horizontal and superficial roots.

I called the noble tree before us an accumulation of vegetable cells.
And viewed in that aspect, what an irresistible evidence of the lapse of
time does this vast organism present to us! since the whole of this
immense structure originated in a single cell, which, by repeated acts
of self-division[59] (or, possibly, other modes of reproduction), has
gradually built up the mass.

Yet such a retrospect would be most fallacious in the case before us,
since the plant, as a perfect compound organism, with its parts--root,
trunk, limbs and leaves, and its tissues--cellular, fibrous, and
vascular, has been produced by the instantaneous putting forth of the
Divine volition.

Once again. More gigantic even than the towering Ceiba, this immense
Locust-tree (_Hymenæa_) appears to penetrate the very sky with its crowd
of foliage, which is so remote from the earth, that our eyes cannot
avail to discern the forms of the leaves. The straight columnar trunk,
like some triumphal monument in the midst of a great metropolis, is of
so vast a bulk that a dozen of such men as you and I could scarcely
embrace it with stretched arms and joined hands.[60]

Can our friend, the vegetable physiologist, help us here to form a
notion of the time which would be required for the production of this
tree in the ordinary way? It is the last favour we will ask of him
to-day. Come, Sir, give us your thoughts on the matter.

_The Botanist._--"There is a principle which, in trees of this
character, namely, such as are of exogenous structure, will determine
the age with very close accuracy. Each generation of leaves sends down
woody fibres, which unite into a cylinder on the outside of the wood
previously formed, and beneath the bark."

"Now, as these cylinders are in general sufficiently distinct, in those
trees which renew their leaves but once in a year, it will be enough to
count the concentric circles which appear on a transverse section of the
trunk, and we shall obtain the number of years during which the tree has
existed. In the case of this great Locust, the rule, to be sure, is
rather difficult of application in that way; a transverse section of
this trunk would cost a little labour. But with this circular saw,
which I always carry about with me for investigations of this sort, I
can take out a horizontal cylinder on each of two or three sides of the
tree, by counting the layers in which I can form a tolerably accurate
estimate of the number in the whole diameter.


"See; in these cylinders, which do not materially differ, there are
seventy-two layers in a foot, that is, each layer is one-sixth of an
inch wide. The trunk is, at the part I have tested, about fifty feet in
diameter, or twenty-five feet in radius; which would therefore contain
just eighteen hundred such layers. As the deposition of new wood,
however, is generally more abundant in youth and middle life than in
age, the layers are probably a little wider, that is, fewer in a given
space, as we approach the centre. For this we must make allowance, and
may conjecture that this tree is probably not less than one thousand
five hundred years old."

Now whether the premises of the botanist will bear out this conclusion
or not, is not a vital question. For the question at issue is, not, _How
long_ it has lived, but, _Whether it has lived at all_, before the
present moment. It is enough for our point that the tree does, in its
concentric zones, afford ocular evidence of successive epochs of growth.
And the proof of this would be equally good, if ten layers were
deposited in a year, or if one deposit were made every ten years;
equally good, if there were fifteen hundred zones, or if there were but
five. It would be easy to confirm the testimony of the zones by that of
other parts of the structure. The dimensions of the tree itself bear a
fixed and, to a certain extent, recognisable ratio to its age; every
leaf on a given twig has been successively developed from a leaf-bud,
the opening of which and its elongation into a twig occupied, normally,
a definite period; each bough, each of those mighty limbs, was once a
twig, was once an undeveloped leaf-bud, whose expansion to its present
condition was a process, of which time was an inseparable and, within
certain limits, a mensurable element.

If, then, we were precluded from examining any other organism, as it
proceeded from the formative hand of its Creator, than this single tree,
we should be amply warranted in inferring a past existence (be it longer
or shorter, which is no matter) from the phenomena of its structure,
which inference the fact of its creation would flatly contradict.



(_Invertebrate Animals._)

     "There is a kind of character in thy life
     That to th' observer doth thy history
     Fully unfold.----" (_Shakspeare._)

Leaving the vegetable kingdom, those organisms which, though beautiful
indeed and instructive, are yet inanimate, let us seek others which are
endowed with a higher style of life, a life which is distinguished by a
measure of consciousness of the exterior world, and a perception of
relations to it. Let us look for animals.

We retrace our steps to the verge of the rippling sea, where the belt of
umbrageous Mangroves fringes its margin. Beneath the arching roots of
these are now reposing in the warm sunlit shallows many creatures which
number this as the first day of their existence. It is their natal, or
rather (to make a word) their _creatal_ day.

Here is a specimen of the Sea-pen (_Pennatula_), closely resembling a
rather thick and fleshy feather, with its quill-end inserted in the
tenacious marl which constitutes the floor of the sea along this shore,
and with the greater part of its body, including all the pinnated
portion, erect, and waving lightly in the gentle swell of the bay. Its
central stem is beset on each side with about twenty-five horizontal
purple pinnæ, and each pinna bears from five to fifteen polypes with
eight tentacles each.

Let us wade out to yonder reef. See this great mass of Millepore,
growing in thin irregular perpendicular plates, which join each other at
various angles, so as to form a large open honeycomb-like structure,
much resembling the second stomach of an ox. It is covered with what
appears a thin stratum of fawn-coloured jelly, but this consists of
innumerable disks, which protrude from myriads of orifices not larger
than those produced by the punctures of a fine needle; as we may discern
by touching the soft slimy surface, when the whole retires, and leaves
apparent only the white stony surface dotted with numberless holes,
within which the disks have disappeared, and whence they will again
presently re-appear.

Here too is a massive shrub of stone, a noble example of the Muricated
Madrepore. It consists of a great multitude of short tranches, which
are themselves branched and branched again, every part covered with
little mammillary warts, and pierced with innumerable holes in which
stand radiating plates of the common stone. Out of these plated
orifices, especially those towards the tips of the branches, for the
older ones are empty and dead, we see perpetually peeping forth,
expanding for an instant, and then coyly withdrawing, lovely little
green disks, surrounded with thread-like tentacles; and from the extreme
end of each branch there protrudes one exactly similar to the rest in
all respects, except that it is nearly twice as large. Here then are the
living architects; these have secreted within their gelatinous membranes
the calcareous atoms, whose aggregate forms the stony shrub before us.

Shall we try to estimate the number of polypes that have been occupied
in building this tree? There are about a hundred branches, which, taken
one with another, and followed along the sinuous course of their many
branchlets, we may estimate to average a continuous length of eight feet
each; that is, 800 feet of branch in all. Now we may consider these
branches as averaging a thickness of two inches and a half in
circumference, which gives us a surface of 24,000 square inches.
Finally, there are about ten polype-cells in each square inch; and thus
there are or have been in this coral-mass, nearly a quarter of a million
of polype inhabitants.


But look at this dark crimson edifice of many stories, tier above tier,
each horizontal floor of red stone sustained by a multitude of slender
cylindrical pillars. When we look closely at them, we see that the
pillars are tubes, perforating one or more of the floors, from the
lowest tier to the uppermost.

Have we any clue to the age of these corals, or to that of either of
them, supposing we did not know that they have been created to-day? Not
definitely, perhaps; but indefinitely we have, certainly. In the case of
the Sea-pen, the polypes have all been formed in succession; as also in
that of the stony Millepore and Madrepore, with this addition, that
every newly formed polype deposited an increase to the stony substance,
which thus went on increasing till the great foliated or ramified mass
that we see was formed.[61] And so, with this series of floors and
pillars, which is the solid portion of another coral-polype, the
Organ-pipe (_Tubipora musica_).

[Illustration: ORGAN-PIPE.]

Every one of these stories has been formed in succession. From the tips
of some of the tubes we see protruding an elegant polype of an
emerald-green hue, having eight starry tentacles, and giving off from
its base an enveloping membrane, which spreads over the rim of the tube
and descends on the outside to the floor. By means of this vascular
membrane, both tube and floor have been formed. Calcareous particles,
deposited, one by one, in its substance, gradually built up the tube of
the primary polype, or probably the tubes of the first series, the
basement or ground-floor. When these tubes had arrived at a certain
height, all simultaneously began to develope the fleshy membrane
horizontally, which expanded until that from each touched that from its
neighbour, with which it united. Meanwhile the calcareous deposition
went on in this horizontal layer, and thus the first floor was made.

Now from the living vascular upper surface of this layer sprang up at
certain spots buds,[62] offshoots of the common flesh, which soon rose
into columns, and, by a process of calcareous deposition, became tubes
with terminal polypes, which in turn spread out a horizontal layer, and
thus the second floor was built. Hence a new race of polypes budded,
which by and by formed the third floor; and so on in succession, until
the series had attained the height which we see.

If we assume one of these stories to be the growth of a year,[63] we
have ocular evidence in this specimen of six years' age, for here are
six successive floors. But no: for it was created complete, as we see
it, this very hour.

Yonder goes a _Medusa_, pumping its way laboriously, yet not
ineffectively, just beneath the surface of the clear wave. It is a
great affair, nearly a foot in diameter. Have we, from merely examining
its appearance and structure, any criterion by which we can guess
whether it has lived an hour, or a year, or ten years? Surely we have;
for this mass of clear jelly is composed, like all other organic bodies,
of cells, which have been gradually generated, by nutrition and
assimilation, from the embryo.[64] This process must have occupied many
months, if not several years; but the history of this Medusa did not
begin when it took its present umbrella-like form. Shall we trace it
back a little farther?

At some time back, then, this creature detached itself as the terminal
one of many little saucer-like bodies, which had been for some time
previously forming by the gradual constriction of a thick fleshy stem.
Before the constriction began to be visible, this stem was the body of a
white Hydraform polype, affixed by its base, and furnished at its free
extremity with thirty-two tentacles. It had lived several years in this
form, developing many Hydroid polypes, just like itself, by successive
gemmations. Before it took this shape, which it assumed gradually, its
tentacles being developed in geometrical progression, 32 from 16, from
8, from 4,--it was a soft ovoid planule clothed with vibratile cilia,
which swam freely in the sea, like an _Infusorium_.

Thus the physiologist would confidently assign to this Medusa an
existence of several years, as an independent organism; _nor could his
conclusions be controverted_, except by the knowledge of the fact that
the Medusa _has been but just now created_.

We pass on. Here is an _Echinus_. Let it be borne in mind still, that we
have, _in idea_, the power of pursuing our researches on each creature
at the moment which follows that of its creation; and that, when that
actually was is of no consequence to our investigation.

Here then is this new-made _Echinus sphæra_, a somewhat conical globe of
three inches diameter, which is covered with a forest of spines,
pedicellariæ, and suckers, and which glides majestically along, with an
even but slow progress, over rock and reef. Its vitals are enclosed in a
hollow box of calcareous shell, which is built up of nearly a thousand
pieces. This specimen, which is rather below than above the average
size, is formed of ten meridional rows of large plates (the
interambulacral), and ten of small (the ambulacral). The former series
are each composed of thirty-two plates, making in all three hundred and
twenty; the latter have just double that number, making six hundred and
forty; thus this Urchin's box is built up of nine hundred and sixty
plates; every one of which is of definite shape and angle, and fits into
the angles of its fellows with the accuracy of the most skilfully
constructed cabinet-work.

Now every one of these plates is an eloquent witness to the past
life-history of the Sea-urchin. For the reason why the enclosing box is
made of so many pieces is, that it might gradually expand and enlarge
its capacity with the ever increasing requirements of the soft organs
within. Every plate is enveloped by a vascular flesh, from which the
calcareous particles are deposited in a constant and perfectly uniform
ratio; and thus all the constituent plates are continually enlarged by
additions to both the internal and external surfaces (increasing their
strength), and to their sutural margins (increasing their combined
capacity), until the adult dimensions are attained.

The size of the new-born Echinus is not nearly equal to that of one of
these plates, and the progressive increase of the plates by deposition
on their edges has certainly taken several years to accomplish.[65]

The same result is inferrible from the structure of the spines with
which every plate is armed. Each of these is a very long cone of
calcareous matter, arranged in minute oval chambers, divided by thin
glassy walls, and deposited particle by particle from the thin stratum
of living flesh with which each has been invested from its first
embryonic development.

But of this _Echinus_, as of the _Medusa_ before, we find a history
anterior to either box or spines. Its first appearance in this stage of
existence was as a barely-visible circular disk, constructed on the
outside of the stomach of a singular transparent organism, much like a
Medusa, but of a domular form with four or six legs, stiffened by
calcareous rods, and a crowning pinnacle. For some undefined time this
gelatinous dome had been gliding with a stately movement through the
open sea, before there was the least trace of the disk, which afterwards
grew to the _Echinus_. In its earliest condition the dome itself was a
soft, spherical, mulberry-like _Infusorium_, covered with vibratile
cilia; this altered its form to that of a three-sided pyramid, and this
to the vaulted dome.

Clearly, therefore, we have a right to infer a past history of the
Urchin, and that of not a few distinct stages. But no; the specimen has
commenced its history within an hour!

Yonder Feather-star (_Comatula_) notice; which, having just now started
into mature life at the almighty fiat of its Creator, goes careering
joyously through the sea, expanding and contracting its many-jointed and
feathery arms, as if it had been accustomed to the alternation for a
long life, and ever and anon settling itself by grasping the points of
rock with its dorsal claws. You would hardly think that those flexible
and slender arms were made of stone: yet they are; every joint of the
stems and of their pinnæ is a vertebra of stone (precious stones, you
will say--topaz and ruby--from their brilliant hues), which has been
formed and deposited atom by atom, by the slow and gradual process of
secretion of calcareous matter; the lime having been primarily collected
from the sea-water which held it in solution. At least, such is the
physiological deduction.

[Illustration: COMATULA AND YOUNG.]

But there was a period in the _Comatula's_ history when it was not a
free-swimming star, but a lily-like flower of ten slender fringed
petals, seated at the summit of a long stalk, with a central columnar
axis of stone. Before that, the flower-head had a bud-like figure, and
the petals were minute and destitute of lateral fringes; and earlier
still, it was a tiny gelatinous club without any development of stone,
affixed by a spreading base, and shooting forth from the top a few
pellucid processes. Earlier still, it was, no doubt, an infusory-like
gemmule, clothed with cilia.

Through all these successive stages, which, of course, occupied a
considerable period of time, we should certainly affirm the Feather-star
to have passed, did we not know that it has this very hour burst into

That Panther, whose tawny fur studded with black rosettes appeared so
beautiful as he bounded with agile grace from glade to glade just as we
emerged from the forest, contains within his intestines, though you
cannot see it, a mature Tapeworm. The body of this parasite consists of
some hundreds of square flattened segments, each of which includes a
complicated generative apparatus, equal to the production of thousands
of fertile ova. Is not this an evidence of age? For, first of all,
consider that the formation of each of these hundreds of joints has been
a work of development from the anterior parts; and therefore they record
as many distinct and successive processes as there are segments. And,
secondly, remember that the _Tænia_ did not commence existence as a
_Tænia_, nor in the conditions in which it now exists, within the bowels
of the Panther. It looks back to another form, and to another living

There was a time when this parasitic creature had no ribbon-like body of
flattened generative segments. There was, indeed, the same curious head,
a tiny globose knob at the extremity of a slender neck, furnished with
the same array as now, of rows of hooks and sucking disks. But in place
of the segments, the neck merged into a membranous bladder distended
with clear fluid. It was not a _Tænia_ then, but a _Cysticercus_.

Its home was at that time the interior of a living animal on whose
vitalized juices it was sustained, but that animal was widely different
from its present patron. It was an Antelope, that cropped the wiry grass
and aromatic shrubs of the arid plain.

Earlier still, the germ of this _Tænia_ was an egg lying on the ground,
having been discharged from the rectum of another Panther, in the bowels
of which it had been developed by one of the segments of a former

Let us now trace the history of this organism onwards from the point at
which we have arrived in our retrograde researches.

The parent _Tænia_, still snugly ensconced in its obscene abode,
partially matured and then separated the ultimate generative segment,
containing many thousands of ova, far advanced towards perfection. The
detached segment now became enclosed in the fæces of the Carnivore, and
was at length discharged, enveloped in the pellet. The eggs, acquiring
maturity, were hatched, and the infant worms individually scattered
themselves among the surrounding herbage.[66]

One of these was devoured with the herbage by a grazing Antelope, and
having safely escaped the perilous ordeals of mastication and
rumination, passed into the stomach of that Ruminant, whence it soon
made its way by some unknown but unerring route to the liver, in the
parenchyma of which organ it rapidly developed the cyst, which gave to
the present stage its proper character.

The Antelope fell a prey to the ferocious Cat; its flesh was quickly
digested in the stomach, but the gastric juice produced no effect on
the _Cysticercus_. This parasite had merely changed its residence for
one more commodious, or at least more suitable for its further
development. It presently attached itself to the walls of the intestine
by means of its oral hooks and suckers, and, getting rid of its
vesicular sac, with its fluid contents, probably by absorption, it began
to develop, joint by joint, that immense ribbon, which it possesses now,
and which constitutes it a Tapeworm.

Such is the "strange eventful history" of this repulsive creature; a
history legitimately deducible, in all its stages, from its
presently-existing condition. But it is a history altogether illusory.
The _Tænia_ never was a _Cysticercus_: the Panther is as yet guiltless
of capricide: it is this moment called into being, and the Tapeworm
begins existence within it.

This lump of red sandstone that has been rolled about in the sea, till
all its points and angles are worn smooth, is now roughened again by the
close and firm adhesion of extraneous substance, in the form of a
cluster of shelly pipes, which twine irregularly over the surface of the
boulder, and then start up erect with open mouths. These are the tubes
of a species of _Serpula_, and the worm itself is seen now slowly
emerging from one of them, and introducing its conical stopper, and
elegant fans of white and scarlet filaments, to the genial daylight.

Observe, however, that the tubes are not of the same diameter
throughout. At the point where they start up from contact with the
stone, they are considerably smaller than at the tip; and if we trace
back the adherent portion along its tortuous course, we find that it
constantly diminishes until it is but a slender white thread of stone.
Now this slender extremity was formed first; and as the worm itself
grew, so it progressively required a larger and yet a larger habitation;
which was readily provided of the due dimensions, because the material,
which is limestone, was secreted by the swollen collar of the worm, and
being freely poured out as required, was moulded of the proper calibre
by the rotatory motion of the animal, combined with the special use of
certain tactile organs for the purpose.

The shelly tubes themselves afford us ocular evidence not only of their
progressive formation, but also of the successive steps by which this
was effected. For at certain intervals of their length we perceive rings
of the common stony substance, which mark the rim or mouth of the tube
as it existed after each periodic increase. The mouth of the tube is, as
we see, slightly expanded in a trumpet fashion; but as the general
cylindrical figure is to be maintained, the next deposit of calcareous
matter is not made at the very edge of the lip, but on a ring a little
way within the margin, whence it is carried up, leaving the former
margin slightly projecting.

[Illustration: SERPULA.]

Who could hesitate to assert that a history of past time is legibly
written in the annulations of these stony tubes? And yet the creatures,
with their tubes, have been but this instant created.

But here is a tube of quite another construction, though inhabited by a
kindred worm. It is wholly built up of sand, the inimitable architecture
of the indwelling _Terebella_, who has thus succeeded in performing a
task which defied the efforts of that too industrious artizan,--the
familiar of the renowned Michael Scott.[67] Our worm has certainly spun
a rope of sand, and one which holds together with surprising tenacity.

The instrument which our little architect wrought with are the long
tentacles, which, like a tangled tuft of yellow sewing-cotton, twist and
twine over the floors of sandy pools. Nothing at first sight seems less
adequate for the purpose than those very slender, soft, and flexible
threads. Dr. Williams shall tell us how they are used. "They consist of
hollow flattened tubular filaments, furnished with strong muscular
parietes. The band may be rolled longitudinally into a cylindrical form,
so as to inclose a hollow cylindrical space, if the two edges of the
band meet; or a semi-cylindrical space, if they only imperfectly meet.
This inimitable mechanism enables each filament to take up and firmly
grasp, _at any point of its length_, a molecule of sand; or, if placed
in a linear series, _a row_ of molecules. But so perfect is the
disposition of the muscular fibres at the extreme free end of each
filament, that it is gifted with the two-fold power of acting on the
sucking and on the muscular principle. When the tentacle is about to
seize an object, the extremity is drawn in, in consequence of the sudden
reflux of fluid in the hollow interior; by this movement a cup-shaped
cavity is formed, in which the object is securely held by atmospheric
pressure; this power is, however, immediately aided by the contraction
of the circular muscular fibres. Such, then, are the marvellous
instruments by which these peaceful worms construct their

Since the slender tentacles are the implements by which the sand-tube is
thus built up, it is manifest that the existence of the tube must be
subsequent to the existence of the tentacles. But the _Terebella_ was at
one time without tentacles; so that its history certainly reaches back
to a date anterior to the existence of a tube. Several stages of life
have intervened between that distinguished by the present worm-form,
and its infant condition, when it swam as a ciliated undivided monad.

So, at least, we conclude from physiological data; but our conclusions
are false, because contradicted by the fact that the mature animal with
its case has been just now created.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us forsake the ocean-shore, and walk again through the glades of the
virgin forest. A White-ant (_Termes_) crosses our path, and, by tracking
him home, we speedily discover his dwelling, an enormous structure
composed of gnawed wood cemented with an animal secretion, and formed
into thin but very firm and hard layers. Swarms of labourers are passing
in and out; and, on our breaking away a portion of the edifice, out come
crowding the warriors, with formidable jaws extended widely, ready for
the fight. In the interior we find numerous chambers stored with food,
and nurseries occupied by young and eggs, the number of which is every
hour increasing by the oviposition of the gravid female,--the queen of
the city--who is lodged in an apartment in the very centre of the whole.

The entire edifice has been built around her; she is the hope of the
colony, the only mother in this vast assemblage. It is therefore
through her that we must look for a past history; and in her we find it.
Some months ago, when she was not more than one thousandth part as large
as she is now, though then adult, she migrated from some other city not
less populous than this is now. It was just before the periodical rains,
when, at the time of the great annual swarming, myriads of winged males
and females were evolved from the pupa state, and flew out from their
native city. This individual female was found by some of the workers
that now compose this colony, and was immediately selected to be at once
their prisoner and their queen.

We thus trace our great egg-laying Termes to a city of last year's
building, in which for a time she was in an immature condition as a
nymph, and before that passed a still less-developed stage as a larva.
Hence her life-history goes yet farther back to an egg, originally laid
by a former female in exactly the same circumstances as those in which
we find this guarded and immured individual.

Thus we reason; but the female, with her host of attendants, and the
house, which is inseparable from their present stage of existence, has
been created to-day.

See that creature which with loud ringing hum is whirling round and
round the tassel-like blossoms of this noble _Eugenia_. You would think
it a bird from its massive size, but it flashes and sparkles in the sun,
like a great jewel. Now it suddenly alights on one of the crimson
flowers, and you may perceive that it is a beetle;--a beetle of vast
size, and glittering like a lump of burnished metal;--it bears the name
of Goliath,--a giant clad in polished armour.

This is his first hour of existence; now for the first time has his
nervous system responded to the stimulus of the sweet air and genial
sunshine. An hour ago he had no nervous system; no system of any sort;
no life; no being; no anything;--he was not until this hour.

Yet if we were to ask a friend conversant with entomology his opinion on
the age of this insect, he would immediately give it; not, however, as
an opinion, for he would repudiate the uncertainty which such a word
implies, but as an indubitable fact, resting on the infallible grounds
of constant observation and undeviating experience.


"This fine _Goliathus_," he would say, "has not long, probably, emerged
from a hollow case of oval form, made of particles of earth agglutinated
together by a secretion from the mouth of the larva, and concealed under
the surface of the ground. Within that sepulchre it has left its
cerements,--the shrivelled skin of the pupa, in which it had been
wrapped up motionless like a mummy, for several weeks prior to its
appearance as a glittering beetle. The construction of the oval cell was
the last act of the larva, a thick, massy, heavy-bodied grub, which had
fattened for years by feeding on the roots of plants beneath the soil.
Four years passed away[69] while yon beetle lay on its side, darkly
labouring at this occupation; and before that it was a minute egg for
some weeks. The specimen before us cannot be far short of five years

No such thing: the witness is at fault: the _Goliathus_ is not _an hour_

Take notice of the swarm of Gnats, which, like a dim cloud, are uniting
in choral dance and song in the beam of the setting sun. Every member of
the band that "winds his shrill horn," has had an aquatic before he had
an aërial existence. A week was spent, in lobster-shape, with two
breathing tubes on the summit of his body, in passing alternately from
the bottom to the top of yonder stagnant pool, and then back from the
top to the bottom. And a month was occupied in pretty nearly the same
employment, but in another mask,--in fish-like form, with the
star-tipped breathing-tube projecting from the side of the tail. But for
some months earlier still it was a little lenticular egg, which was
agglutinated with a number of others into an oval concave boat, that
floated to and fro on the surface of the pool.

And there was something worth observing in that tiny skiff of eggs; for
it did, in its artful construction, carry the evidence of time back to a
former generation. The eggs individually and separately would have sunk
to the bottom of the water; it was, however, essential to their life
that they should be in contact with the air as well as with the water.
Hence they were so arranged in the aggregate, that the mass should swim,
though the constituent individuals could not. To effect this, the parent
Gnat, resting on the calm surface of the pool, crossed her two hind
legs, and laid an egg perpendicularly in the angle so made: others were
added in succession, all maintaining the perpendicular position, all
glued together by a cement that resists water, but so arranged, the
crossed legs being still the mould, that the outline should be
spindle-shaped, while the summits of the central eggs, being a little
lower than those of the outer ones, gave a concavity to the boat. So
buoyant was it when finished, and the mother's legs withdrawn, that even
a drop of water falling full upon it from above, would have failed to
submerge it. There it floated, week after week, and month after month,
all through the winter, till the genial sun of spring hatched the
fish-like larvæ to begin their wriggling existence beneath the surface.

Now may we not say with confidence, that the sounding-winged insect
looks back to the pupa, the pupa to the larva, the larva to the
egg-boat? And more, that the form of the boat,--a form so essential that
it could not have lived without it,--looked back to the crossed feet of
the mother-gnat, the impress of whose angle its extremities sustained?

Of course we might reason thus: but yet we should be at fault; for the
ringing swarm of merry Gnats has been this very evening created.

[Illustration: LARVA OF CASE-FLY.]

The Case-flies (_Phryganea_) that look like delicate moths of
sober-brown hue, flitting over the surface of the pond, have, like the
Gnats, spent a considerable time under water. When they were larvæ, they
industriously collected small shells, fragments of stone, bits of reed,
and the like matters, and, connecting them together with strong silk,
made out of them slender tubes, in which they sheltered their soft
bodies from harm, while their hard polished heads and shoulders
projected from the open end. And after having lived through the winter
(at least, but I rather think more than _one_ winter) in this state,
each closed up the entrance of his castle, by spinning across its open
end, a transverse screen of lattice-work, made of very strong and stout
silk, which, while it should serve the purpose of keeping out
evil-minded intruders, during the helpless inaction of the pupa, should
at the same time admit the free ingress and egress of water necessary
for its respiration.

The life of the larva, and the exercise of these, its curious instincts,
are, together with the duration of the pupa stage, inseparable
precedents of the imago state in which we now observe the flying
insects. No, not "inseparable;" for in this case, at least, they had no
existence in time; they are prochronic developments.

[Illustration: MELICERTA.]

In this pond at our feet there is an object worthy of a moment's
observation, minute though it is, for it is only visible as a speck to
the unassisted eye. On one of the whorl-filaments of this tuft of
_Myriophyllum_, there stands up a cylindrical tube, firmly adherent to
the plant by its foot, but free at its upper end. Small as it is, this
chimney is built up of hundreds of pellets, solid, round, and yellow;
placed in symmetrical order, and firmly cemented together. What has
made this tube? Ha! here is the little architect ready to answer for
himself; he thrusts out his head and shoulders from his chimney-top, and
announces his scientific cognomen as _Melicerta ringens_.

Look! he is in the very act of building now. Did you see him suddenly
bow down his head and lay a brick on the top of the last course? And now
he is busy making another brick; his mould is a tiny cup-shaped cavity
just below his chin; his material the floating floccose atoms of
vegetable refuse. Cilia along his flower-like face collect these atoms
into a stream, and pour them into the cup; and cilia within the cup
whirl them rapidly round and round in many rotations, until with the aid
of mucus they are somewhat consolidated into a round pellet. The brick
is made, and nothing remains but that it be deposited next the former,
in regular progression, and this is done by the tiny [Greek: tektôn],
suddenly bending his head forward, and bringing the chin-cup with exact
precision to the spot.

And how long has he been engaged in this piece of work? Little more than
a day. It was commenced yesterday, when the creature was not more than
one-third as large as he is now. But he had lived a few hours before the
commencement of his work. He was a rover before he began to be a
house-keeper. In that early stage of youth and freedom, before he had
made up his mind to settle in life, he had no chin-cup, no flower-like
face, and of course no tube. A cylindrical gelatinous pellucid worm, he
issued out of the egg, with a brush of cilia on his crown, and danced
waywardly through the water. While thus occupied, his form underwent
some preliminary modifications, and at length was sufficiently matured,
to enable him to choose a spot for the passing of his future life, and
to commence the building on which he is still engaged.

Not so. The pellet which he deposited when we began to look at him, was
the first he had ever made; he had been created but that moment; and all
the previous pellets of the case had been called into being just as we
saw them. They were built up prochronically.

I tear a piece of bark from the trunk of this half-decayed tree, and
have disclosed amidst the rank-smelling damp and rotten wood, a large
_Julus_, a slow-moving creature, with some hundred-and-fifty little
twinkling feet. As this specimen has attained its adult condition, it
must be at least two years old; for it does not acquire its
reproductive organs and perfect development till that age.[70]

This creature has passed through a rather curious history of evolutions.
The egg from which it was produced was lodged in a chamber excavated by
the parent, a few inches below the surface of the rotten mould. From
this egg proceeded a little kidney-shaped body, without limbs or motion,
completely enveloped in a swathe of delicate transparent membrane. About
a fortnight it remained in this helpless state, during which its organs
had been forming out of the constituent cells, by repeated subdivision,
and definite arrangement. At length it burst its cerement, and a minute
Julus appeared, not more than 1/200th of an inch in length, composed
of a head with antennæ, and a body of eight segments, of which the first
three carried each a pair of legs.

All the multitudinous limbs which we see in this adult have been
produced in successive moultings, and all the numerous segments have
been produced by the subdivision of the last but one,--that is the joint
preceding the anal one,--six at a time.

By the time the little animal was ready for the second sloughing, that
is, in about a week after the preceding, three more pairs of feet were
seen, which had budded from the fourth, fifth, and sixth segments, but
which were as yet closely packed down beneath the investing skin; the
seventh segment also was obscurely marked into six divisions. The skin
was now thrown off, and these changes were perfected; the little Julus
now had six pairs of feet, and thirteen segments.

This process was repeated again and again; the new limbs always
developing on the segments last produced, and six new segments being
always formed out of the existing penultimate. And by this gradual
succession of development, the animal has attained the number of limbs
and segments which we now perceive. The antennæ and the eyes have
likewise passed through successive stages.

We have a right to infer the lapse of a period sufficient to produce
these changes, for we see their indubitable results; but our inference
would only lead us astray, because we have not allowed for a disturbing
influence,--that of the Law of Creation. This is the Julus's first hour
of life.

See, on the trunk of that towering _Cedrela_, a round hole, out of which
a large Beetle is in the act of emerging. It is a noble _Buprestis_,
encased in glittering mail, of the most refulgent metallic splendour,
crimson, gold, and green. Can we find any clue to his age? Yes: the
white grab has rioted and fattened in its burrows in the timber of this
tree for many years; ever gnawing away with its horny auger-like jaws
the solid wood in tortuous galleries, which constantly enlarged, as it
progressively grew, while its wake, as it advanced, was partially filled
by its ordure. The old tree is, no doubt, perforated, through and
through, by its winding corridors, as large as your middle finger. As
soon as the vermin had passed this his nonage, which, as I say, may have
occupied a dozen years at least,[71] he sank into his short pupa-sleep,
and here we see him paying his first visit to the light of day.

True; this is his first experience of daylight, and indeed of anything;
for all the pupa-sleep and the larva-labour were prochronic in this
case. The Beetle is just created.

Hark to that hollow roar! There is no mistaking that majestic sound. It
is the voice of the many-sounding sea. Yonder through the trees we catch
a glimpse of its shining face, and here we are at the verge of the
cliffs, against whose feet the waves are breaking in white foam. We
will clamber down to the rocks.

In this weed-fringed tide-pool there is a fine specimen of the
Shore-crab (_Carcinus moenas_). It is a male just arrived at the
perfection of adult age; its carapace smooth and wholly dark-green in
hue, its under parts rufous orange. Its claws. are large and sharp; and
the promptitude with which it presents these formidable weapons,
extended to the utmost, shows how conscious it is of its warlike powers.

To all appearance this Crab is several years old;[72] I mean in this his
present perfect or imago form. When this form was first assumed, the
diameter of the carapace was not more than an eighth of an inch; it is
now two inches; a great many periodical sloughings of the crust must
have occurred to accomplish this sixteen-fold increase.

But four distinct metamorphoses were passed before the commencement of
this form. There was the Grapsoid form with the outline of the carapace
nearly parallel-sided, and the dentations on the sides. Before this
there was the Megalopa form, with the carapace ovate, and the abdomen
projecting behind. Before this there was the Zoea form, with the
carapace rising into a tall erect spine, sessile eyes, no claws, and the
abdomen a slender jointed cord ending in a triangular plate. And before
this, there was the egg, which was laid by the mother Crab, and carried
by her for a considerable time attached to the false feet of her

All these evidences of age, clear and unanswerable though they are, are
yet fallacious, because the Crab has been created but this morning.

On this sea-washed branch of a tree, which has been blown off by some
tempest, and carried into the ocean, there is a single Barnacle
(_Lepas_). It consists of a hand of many pairs of fringed fingers,
protected by a shell of five pieces, and a long flexible cartilaginous
stalk, by the lower extremity of which it adheres to the timber.

The shelly valves are all crossed by strongly marked lines running over
their surfaces in a direction parallel with each other, and with the
outer margins of each valve. These, like the corresponding foliations in
the tube of the _Serpula_, indicate the successive stages of growth; the
outlines of every valve having stood at each of these growth lines in
succession. On each of the scutal valves in this individual I can count
about 260 growth-lines: if we suppose one of these to be made in a
week,[73] and the increase to proceed uniformly throughout the year, we
must conclude the valve to have been just five years in making.

[Illustration: LEPAS.]

This animal, like others we have already examined, had, moreover, a
history before the first vestige of a valve was formed. It had passed
through several metamorphoses; in its pupa stage it had the form of a
_Cypris_, and in this condition it first became adherent to the timber:
before this it was a larva, having a general resemblance to another
Waterflea, the _Cyclops_, especially in its younger stages: in this
state it moulted several times. Nor was this the beginning of its life;
for there was the still earlier condition common to all these classes of
animals, viz. that of the egg, which was laid and carried for some time
by the parent Barnacle, and at length hatched while within the valves of
her shell.

Thus, through a course of several years we are able to trace back the
existence of this Cirriped, to its parent of a former generation. But
our conclusions are altogether vitiated by the simple fact that this
individual is the first of its species; it never had a parent; it never
was an egg.

From the rocky pool before us I have picked up a rough pebble, the
surface of which is incrusted with a delicate work of stony lace. This
fabric, too fine to be resolved by the unassisted eye, consists of the
oval cells of a species of _Lepralia_. There are some hundreds of cells
in this patch, which altogether does not cover a square inch of the
pebble; and they are all made after one pattern, and set in a very
regular manner, in quincunx. Each is a minute slipper-shaped box of
stone, with the orifice set round with spines for the protection of the
inmate, a transparent, elegant, and sensitive Polypide, which bears on
its head a coronet of ciliated tentacles.

I am not going to describe the interesting structure and economy of this
atom of life; but merely wish to direct your attention to one
point,--the evidence which it affords of the lapse of past time.

Every one of these hundreds of stony cells, together with its living
tenant, was normally produced by a process of gemmation; each having
budded forth from the side of its predecessor as a knob of clear
gelatinous flesh, in the midst of which was developed, first the cell,
and then the polypide,--the latter appearing in a rudimentary condition,
and gradually acquiring its proper organs, before the orifice of the
cell was opened.

I said every one of the cells was thus formed; but I ought to have
excepted a single cell, which, though in nowise differing from the rest
in form or structure, had a very different origin. This was the primal
cell, and its beginning was as follows:

A minute atom of a scarlet hue, and of a semi-elliptical shape, was one
day whirling round and round with rapid gyrations in the open sea. It
was of soft consistence, covered with strongly vibrating cilia, and
furnished with some stouter setæ. After enjoying its motile instincts
awhile, it settled down on this pebble, and became stationary. Presently
it secreted and deposited calcareous matter around at, like a coating of
the thinnest glass, the red parenchyma receding from the hyaline wall
towards the centre.

Soon an orifice with thickened edges appeared on the upper side, and
minute spines grew from the edges, which quickly lengthened. It was now
a _Lepralia_ cell, and now the polypide was developed, and protruded its
mouth from the orifice, surrounded by its elegant bell of ciliate
tentacles. This solitary cell became the parent of hundreds more, by the
gemmative process which I have already described.

But the red swimming atom;--whence came that? Well, it was shot out from
the interior of a previous _Lepralia_, the result not of a gemmative but
of a generative act. It originated in another patch similar to the one
which incrusts this pebble, and that, in like manner, and by exactly
similar stages, looked back to an anterior patch, and so on.

Plausible as this inference is, it is false; for the little aggregation
of cells and polypides has been called into existence by the Divine
_fiat_, this very instant.

We are still at the sea-shore. Within the long and narrow crevices into
which these low-lying ledges of shale are split, innumerable tufts of
sea-weed,--olive, purple, and green,--are perpetually waving in the wash
of the sea. On one of these branching shrubs of _Phyllophora_, there is
adhering, apparently cast there by accident, an irregular mass of
pellucid jelly. It firmly cleaves to the alga, enclosing the bases of
several branches within its firm but gelatinous substance.

This knob of jelly is a compound animal of the genus _Botryllus_, and it
has just been created as we see it. In order to understand its nature,
look at it more closely.

Enclosed in the clear purplish-grey jelly, in the midst of scattered
lighter specks, we see several star-like figures of bright hues, in
which yellow and red are predominant; the symmetrical arrangement of
which pleases the eye, and reminds us of some ornamental pattern
designed by human art. Each star is composed of several (three, seven,
ten or more) pear-shaped animals, with their smaller ends meeting in
the centre around a common orifice, from which a current of water is

Now this assemblage of animals bears evidence of progressive
development. Some time ago a tiny egg was discharged from a parent
_Botryllus_, which presently produced a little active tadpole-like
larva, called a "spinule." This swam actively by means of its wriggling
tail; but at length it settled head downward on this piece of sea-weed.
Immediately the head adhered, by an effused cement, to its support; the
tail now gradually disappeared; and the round head, in the midst of a
mass of jelly-like cement, began to display two orifices on its surface.
It soon assumed a pear-like shape, and thus the first _Botryllus_ was

From the side of this "pear," another was developed by gemmation, and a
third on the opposite side; the smaller ends of all were in contact, and
the orifices of these extremities began to merge into one; while the
large ends diverged. A fourth and a fifth "pear" were successively
produced in the same mode, until a star or "system" was formed.
Meanwhile the surrounding mass of living jelly had been commensurately
enlarging, and a new _Botryllus_, separate from the other star, had been
produced in the jelly, which was the commencing point of a second
system; and thus, by degrees, the compound mass of systems has grown to
its present state of development.

[Illustration: BOTRYLLUS.

_a_, portion of one system and of a mass, on _Phyllophora rubens_; _b_,
an egg _c_, spinule; _d_, the same, attached; _e_, the tail absorbed;
_f_, the young _Botryllus_. All magnified.]

This process has been one of time: the adhesion of the "spinule" took
place in about sixteen hours after its escape from the egg. The
appearance of the two orifices was when the little animal was four days
old; and by the end of a week a second "pear" had budded. The attainment
of the present condition may have occupied about six months.

Nay; time has been no element in this development; it is prochronic
development; it is the development of creation, not of nature.

Behold that ruffling of the smooth surface of the water; it is caused
evidently by the forcible ejection of a current from some source a
little way beneath the surface. Yes, it proceeds from the orifice in
this mass of calcareous grit; where the protruding pipe of shell
indicates the snug fortress of a _Clavagella_. I will carefully break
away a little of the soft stone, and we shall see the curious structure
more clearly. Ha! I have split off a piece which nicely exposes the
whole burrow, without having materially injured the creature or his

You see it is a bivalve Mollusk with one valve firmly imbedded and
cemented into the stony wall of its chamber. But the hinder end of this
valve is continued into a shelly tube, intended to protect the siphons,
which is carried through the gallery forming the entrance into the
chamber, and opens by a wide orifice in the free water outside. It is
to this tube that I call your attention.

[Illustration: CLAVAGELLA.]

You observe that on its outer surface there are several foliated
expansions of the shelly substance, surrounding it like so many frills
at pretty regular intervals. Each of these foliations is a permanent
record of a certain epoch. The terminal one is the margin of the
tube-wall everted. The one below this was at some past period the
eversion of the margin at what was at that time the extremity. The third
frill had in like manner terminated the tube still earlier; and so with
the fourth and fifth. It is impossible to look at these expansions, and
not to believe that they have been formed in succession, in this way, by
the periodic growth of the tube.

There was a time when, the first frill was not commenced; when the
creature was a Mollusk with simple valves. But even this was not the
beginning of its history. It was as a swimming Infusory with a broad
ciliated disk, and a lashing _flagellum_, that the creature commenced
its independent career; and it was doubtless in this condition[74] that
it found its way into the burrow of some _Saxicava_. Here its tiny
transparent valves were secreted; the left valve was soon cemented to
the chamber; and then the creature began to secrete and form the tube
around its siphons, which was progressively enlarged, and adorned at
every stage of elongation by these witnessing frills--whose testimony is
recorded in imperishable stone.

What can be more irresistible than such evidence as this? And yet we
must take exception to it on the ground that this is the very hour of
the animal's creation.

[Illustration: DIONE VENERIS.]

The elegant spinous shell-fish that we discern yonder, half-buried in
the sandy floor of the sea--I mean that lilac-tinted Prickly Venus
(_Dione Veneris_) needs no shelly protection for its siphons, which, as
you may observe, are protruded to a great length. But a lesson not less
instructive than that taught by the tube-frills of the _Clavagella_, is
inculcated by the valves of the _Dione_. Near the hinder margin of each
valve there is a ridge which runs from the beak to the front edge, a
ridge which bears the series of long slender shelly spines, that imparts
such a charm to this shell.

Each of these spines records an interval in the growth of the shell.
There are sixteen distinctly enumerable; each of which may possibly mark
a year's growth. The increase of bivalves, however, is slow; and it may
be that a longer interval than a year has intervened between spine and
spine. For if we look more closely at this beautiful shell, we see that
the whole exterior of both valves is marked with concentric foliated
ridges, which are also indubitable lines of growth; and that these are
twice or thrice as numerous as the spines, from one to five being
intercalated between those which support the prolongations of the shelly

Each of these concentric lines has a history. Every line, as well as
every spine, has been produced by a protrusion and eversion of the
glanduligerous edge of the mantle, which then secreted and poured out a
copious deposit of calcareous matter along the margin of the previously
existing valve. In this species each periodic deposit took the form of a
ridge slightly elevated above the general surface; and, because the
turned up margin of the mantle invested the edge of the valve already
formed, therefore the new layer, with its elevated ridge, was concentric
with the last edge, which was concentric with the previous one, and so
on, the common centre of all being the beak (_umbo_) at the back of the

The spines were formed in a manner essentially similar. At every second
or third period of increase, the margin of the mantle, which is very
versatile and protrusile, was thrust out, at the point which corresponds
to the spines, into a long fleshy groove, by the reduplication of its
edge. Within this groove the calcareous secretion was poured out; and
after it had been allowed a few moments to harden or "_set_," the
mantle-groove was cautiously withdrawn, and a new spine was exposed, as
a produced end to the foliated ridge.

Yet, though this is the normal and natural mode of production, both of
the concentric line and of the spines, it would be illusory to conclude
that they have been so produced in the present example. The entire
formation of the _Dione_ before us has been ab-normal and
preter-natural: it has been _created_, not _born_: the whole development
so legibly written on the shell has been prochronic.

There goes the Scorpion Stromb (_Pteroceras scorpio_), crawling over the
rocks with protruded head and tentacles, and bearing his massive house
on his back. This shelly house of his will afford us a good example of
structural development.

The great dilated lip, and the long finger-like processes of its edge,
had no existence in the youthful days of the shell; they are marks of
adult age: when young, the shell was simply spiral, with a thin straight
lip bounding a narrow aperture.

Observe also a far more beautiful creature by its side, the Tiger Cowry
(_Cypræa tigris_). Its shell is now entirely enveloped in the meeting
wings of the great fleshy mantle, which is mottled with changing hues;
and its foot or crawling disk covers a space three or four times as
large as the shell. On lifting it in our hand, the whole of this array
of soft flesh has been rapidly retracted, and has wholly disappeared
within that very narrow orifice, bordered with toothed projections, on
the under side of the shell, which we can hardly believe capable of
receiving a twentieth part of the bulk that has vanished within it. And
now we see nothing but the shell, with its smooth rounded back, marked
with dark spots, its white inferior surface cleft by this longitudinal
denticulate aperture, and its brilliant porcellanous varnish over the

Now here is evidence of change and progress again. This Cowry-shell is
very unlike that of an Olive, with a simple spire, an oval body, a
smooth thin lip, and a wide orifice; and as unlike that of a Nautilus.
Yet it has passed through both of these stages before it was disguised
as we see it now. When it escaped from the egg-shell, it was a minute
Pteropod, with two great ciliated disks, inhabiting a transparent
nautiloid shell, and swimming giddily about in a revolving fashion. By
and by, the tiny shell increased, and the outer whorl lengthened,
putting on a long-oval figure. Then--that is, after a considerable
period occupied in increasing the dimensions of the shell in this
form--it began to assume the adult appearance. The outer lip, which had
hitherto been thin, gradually thickened and encroached upon the spire,
and the mantle began to secrete and deposit on the outer surface the
coat of glassy enamel.

At length the thickening of the lips proceeded to such an extent as
almost to conceal the spire, and to reduce the aperture to a narrow
line, the edges of which were now thickly plaited with the tooth-like
ridges so characteristic of the genus. The lobes of the mantle now
protrude through this aperture; and, expanding on each side, have
deposited all over the exterior of the shell a coat of glassy enamel,
studded with dark round spots or clouds, which entirely conceals the
surface with the markings that were formerly visible upon it.

[Illustration: MUREX TENUISPINA.]

Yonder Thorny Woodcock (_Murex tenuispina_) is a still more striking
shell than either, and one whose periodic growths are peculiarly well
marked. It is covered at regular intervals with rows of shelly spines,
still longer and more numerous than those we lately admired in the
_Dione_. Each series crowns a thickened ridge, which runs across the
whorl, as regards the direction of its growth, but longitudinally as
regards the general figure of the shell.

Now, the increase of the shell in the Univalves is performed almost
exactly as in the Bivalves; namely, by the protrusion and eversion of
the mantle on the existing edge. And, therefore, each of these thorny
ridges, separated as they are by an interval of just two-thirds of a
whorl, marks the termination of a new growth, the shelly matter rising
up at the margin in this thickened ridge, which bristles with elongated

In this specimen we can trace ten such ridges, whence we legitimately
infer ten distinct periods through which this animal has passed, besides
the nautiloid stage under which all the creatures of this Class commence

Yet, since each of these three univalves has been this day created,
these inferences are deceptive. The Scorpion-shell was _never_ otherwise
than dilated and digitated. The Cowry has _never_ had a lip that was
not thickened, nor an exterior that was not porcellanous. The Woodcock
has _never_ known a moment in which its thorns were less numerous than
they are now.

Notice that fine round shell carried along the floor of the sea, by
means of a great fleshy tortoiseshell-coloured[75] body, which, with a
head of many spreading tentacles applied to the ground, crawls with a
tolerably quick progress.[76] It is the Pearly Nautilus.

The amplitude of the beautiful nacreous shell is by no means a measure
of the dimensions of the animal; for this merely sits within the shallow
mouth, like a Welsh fisherman in his coracle. If we remove the creature,
we shall find the cavity bounded by a pearly floor, in the centre of
which is a slender tube running down from it. On breaking away this
floor, we expose an empty chamber, with a similar pearly floor, through
which passes the shelly tube, continued through the middle of the
chamber, and running down to the next. Thus we should find the whole
interior of the shell occupied by a series of these empty chambers,
fifty or upwards in number, each less than its predecessor (rather
_successor_, if we regard them in the order of development), until we
can trace them no longer in the minute centre of the spire.

Without dwelling on the function of these chambers, farther than to say
that they appear admirably contrived to make the animal with its shell
either heavier or lighter than the surrounding fluid, by forcing water
into them through the tube, and thus condensing the contained air, or by
relaxing the pressure, and allowing the elasticity of the air to exclude
the water,--our business is just with the formation of the septa, as an
evidence of periodic development.[77]

"The septa are formed periodically, but it must not be supposed that the
shell-muscles ever become detached, or that the animal moves the
distance of a chamber all at once. It is most likely that the
_adductors_ grow only in front, and that a constant waste takes place
behind, so that they are always moving onward, except when a new septum
is to be formed; the _septa_ indicate periodic _rests_."[78]

These periodic alternations of rest and action, however, it is obvious,
can never have really existed in an organism which has but this instant
been created. The appearances, therefore, which indicate them, are
illusory, considered as testimonies to actual time.

You are aware that what is often spoke of as the "bone" in this
Cuttlefish (_Sepia officinalis_), is only a concealed shell; and I need
not to dissect the animal to acquaint you that it is a highly
interesting structure. A deservedly eminent physiologist shall describe
it for us.

"The outer shelly portion of this body consists of horny layers,
alternating with calcified layers, in which last may be seen a hexagonal
arrangement. The soft, friable substance, that occupies the hollow of
this boat-shaped shell, is formed of a number of delicate plates,
running across it from one side to the other in parallel directions, but
separated by intervals several times wider than the thickness of the
plates; and these intervals are in great part filled up by what appear
to be fibres, or slender pillars, passing from one plate or floor to
another. A more careful examination shows, however, that instead of a
large number of detached pillars, there exists a comparatively small
number of very thin, sinuous laminæ, which pass from one surface to the
other, winding and doubling upon themselves, so that each lamina
occupies a considerable space. Their precise arrangement is best seen by
examining the parallel plates, after the sinuous laminæ have been
detached from them; the lines of junction being distinctly indicated
upon these. By this arrangement, each layer is most effectually
supported by those with which it is connected above and below; and the
sinuosity of the thin intervening laminæ, answering exactly the same
purpose as the "corrugation" given to iron plates for the sake of
diminishing their flexibility, adds greatly to the strength of this
curious texture, which is at the same time lightened by the large amount
of space between the parallel plates that intervenes between the
sinuosities of the laminæ."[79]

Now the delicately thin calcareous plates have all been formed in
succession, "the first formed being at the outer part and posterior
termination of the shell, and the succeeding new layers extending always
more forwards than the edges of the old."[80] They exhibit then many
hundreds of distinct deposits, each the result of a separate process,
each the work of a definite period of time. The "cuttle-bone" is an
autographic record, indubitably genuine, of the Cuttlefish's history.

Yes, it is certainly genuine; it is as certainly autographic: but it is
_not true_. That Cuttle has been this day created.



(_Vertebrate Animals._)

     "The organisation of the body at each epoch may be truly
     said to be the _resultant_ of all the material changes which
     it has undergone during the preceding periods."--_Dr.
     Carpenter; Human Physiology_, p. 903.

The _Invertebrata_ then agree in one story, and that story is the same
as what the plants had told us before. Let us try if the Vertebrate
creatures bear them out.

From this promontory we can look far down into the clear profundity of
the still and smooth sea. What is that large object that plays hither
and thither yonder, now shooting ahead, now resting on his oars, now
turning on his course, now cutting the surface, now descending to the
depths? It is a full-grown Sword-fish, some ten feet long. We are
sufficiently near him to discern that he has one short but high dorsal
fin, near the head, and a minute one close to the caudal, the whole
intermediate region being smooth. But this is a mark of adult age; for
in early life this same species is furnished with one long and high
dorsal, which is continuous from the occiput to the vicinity of the
tail-fin. The remotely divided dorsal here tells of many years of life;
but tells deceitfully, for the Sword-fish is but just created.

Ha! the Sword-fish has darted away, like lightning, after a finny
victim. See with what doublings and windings he pursues it, and how the
terrified prey uses all its powers to escape from its gigantic enemy!
Now they near the shore; and now the frightened quarry has leaped out of
the sea upon yonder flat shelf of rock, where it lies gasping and
floundering, delivered indeed from its pursuer, but only to die by being
drowned _in the air_. We will descend from the cliffs, and look at it.

It is a Gilt-head (_Chrysophrys aurata_). Life is extinct now; but the
brilliant colours and fine metallic reflections are scarcely dimmed--the
silvery belly--the azure fins--the sides that gleam like polished steel,
inlaid with bands of burnished gold!

I will pluck a scale from this brilliant silvery surface. Its hinder, or
free edge, is beset with fine flexible crystalline points, arranged in
many successive rows, overlapping each other. The front, or attached
edge, is cut in a scolloped pattern, the extremities of undulations
that radiate from a common point behind the centre. The whole surface,
except the hinder portion that is studded with imbricated points, is
covered with an immense multitude of fine concentric lines, which follow
the form of the general outline. These are marks of successive increase;
for every one of the lines is the margin of a lamina, the aggregation of
which makes up the thickness of the scale. The laminæ can be separated
by long maceration in water; and then we see that they are laid one on
another in regular order, the uppermost being the smallest, and the
first formed; the last made, which is the largest, being now in contact
with the skin.

[Illustration: SCALE OF GILTHEAD.]

Every scale is therefore a document, on which is indelibly written the
record of a multitude of processes, all effected in the past history of
the fish. The successively deposited laminæ are exactly analogous to
those of calcareous substance in the shell of the bivalve;[81] and the
evidence is of exactly the same character as what we lately read off
from the valve of the _Dione_. But, just as in that example, too, the
overruling fact of recent creation precludes our deduction of time from
the evidence, since it proves the development to have been prochronic.

I see yonder a more terrific tyrant of the sea than the Sword-fish. It
is the grisly Shark (_Carcharodon_). How stealthily he glides along,
cutting the glittering surface of the sea with his dorsal, and now and
then protruding just the tip of the upper lobe of his caudal in the wake
of the other! Let us go and look into his mouth; for neither animals nor
elements present any impediments to these investigations of ours. Is not
this an awful array of knives and lancets? Is not this a case of
surgical instruments enough to make you shudder? What would be the
amputation of your leg to this row of triangular scalpels, each an inch
and a half in diameter? moved, too, by these powerful muscles?

But observe the arrangement of these most formidable teeth. They are not
confined to a single row as ours are, but each is succeeded by another
lying behind it, that by another, and another, and another,--why, there
are a dozen ranks of teeth, lying regularly packed one behind the other.
The object of this arrangement is a constant supply of new teeth, as
those in use become broken off, or wasted by the sloughing away of the
exterior half-ossified crust of the cartilaginous jaw, to which their
base is fastened by ligaments. Only one row, the outer one, is in use at
once, and this row stands erect; the others lie flat on each other (more
and more completely as they recede from the outer row); a reserve of
weapons in readiness for use, when those now employed are done with.
There is a continual growth of the surface to which the teeth are
fastened, from within outwards; so that each of the reserve rows will in
turn be brought to the edge of the jaw, when it will be thrown up into
the erect position, while the preceding, now turned out of the mouth by
the gradual eversion of the surface, sloughs away and disappears as an
useless incumbrance. It follows, therefore, that the teeth which we now
see erect and threatening, are the successors of former ones that have
passed away, and that they were once dormant like those we see behind

But perhaps you may say, What evidence is there that these ever had any
predecessors? that they were not originally the front rank as they are
now? A very fair question.

In the first place, the great size of the tooth indicates maturity; and
is in keeping with the dimensions of the animal,--some twenty feet or
so,--which are those of an adult, if not a full-grown individual. But
adult age implies previous youth and infancy, and a gradual growth from
the length of a few inches to this formidable size. The teeth are found
in the embryo Shark when not more than a foot long; and it is evident
that many successive generations of teeth have passed away between those
pristine lancets of a line in diameter, and these of an inch and a half.

But stay; there is a peculiarity in the structure of these present
teeth, which surely indicates their place to be far on in the
succession. Each is seen to be finely serrated on its two outer
edges,--a provision which, of course, makes them more effective dividers
of flesh and bone. But this structure is not found in the teeth of young
individuals, which up to a period comparatively advanced, have simply
cutting edges.

Hence we are compelled by the phenomena to infer a long past existence
to this animal, which yet has been called into being within an hour.

On yonder twig sits a beautiful little Tree-frog, which you would be
ready to mistake for a leaf of more than usually emerald hue, but for
the glittering eye, and the line of yellow edged with purple that passes
down the side. Do you notice the frequent gulpings of the throat? Those
are the periodic inspirations Of air, by which the creature breathes;
for, having no ribs, by means of which to depress, and so to expand, the
thoracic cavity, the Frog swallows the air by a voluntary action. These
air-gulps afford us another example of the sort of evidence we are
searching for; they are so many proofs of a past history. For the
Tree-frog has not _always_ swallowed air; there was a period in its life
when it had no lungs; when it was an aquatic animal, as exclusively a
water-breather as any fish. Fish-like in _form_ it was then, as well as
in _habit_; it was a tadpole with a long compressed muscular tail, and
with external gills of several branches, but as destitute of lungs as it
was of limbs. Any physiologist, looking at our little green Tree-frog,
would pronounce without hesitation on the stages through which it has
passed; and would describe with the most perfect confidence the order
in which they took place; the gradual absorption of the branchiæ, the
development of the lungs, the shrinking up and final disappearance of
the tail, the budding forth of the tiny rudimentary limbs, the hinder
pair first, then the fore pair, and the subsequent division of their
extremities into toes;--the metamorphosis of the little fish into a
little batrachian, and the gradual growth and maturation of the
latter,--these are facts,--the physiologist would say,--as sure both as
to their actuality and as to their order, as that the Frog is a Frog.

Ah! but the physiologist is not aware of a fact, which invalidates all
his conclusions based upon experience,--the fact that the little
Tree-frog has been created but this very instant.

Hark! that rattling noise is an admonition to us to tread circumspectly.
It is the vibration of the horny caudal appendages of a Rattlesnake. And
I see the reptile coiled up under yonder shadowing leaf. But our
presence is a privileged presence, and so we may handle and examine him
with impunity. The organ which produces this sound is composed of a
number of hollow horny capsules, each one fitting into the next, in
which it is retained loosely by a protuberance of its surface. These,
being agitated at the will of the animal, produce that sound which we
just now heard. The capsules are developed periodically, one being added
to the number already existing every year, until as many as forty are
accumulated.[82] This individual, therefore, having five-and-twenty
rattles, must be five-and-twenty years old.

This Snake, however, has had no past years; it has had no yesterday. Its
existence commenced this hour.

Here crouches, among the thick reeds, the Leviathan of the rivers, the
mailed Crocodile. His body, invested with bony ridged plates, that rise
into strong serrations along the tail, seems clothed with power; and his
long rows of interlocking teeth, unveiled by lips, appear grinning with
perpetual rage. An experienced herpetologist would not fail to find
many evidences of age in this huge reptile. First of all, he would point
to its monstrous size; then to the breadth and massive thickness of the
dermal plates. "The head," he would say, "in the ruggedness of its
surface, shows the same thing, for in youth it was comparatively smooth;
and also in the form of its outline; for in this example its length is
double its breadth, whereas in youth, these measurements were nearly
equal. These conical teeth, too, are by no means the same individual
teeth which existed at first. If you look at the base of one, you will
see that it is hollow, and that the sides of this portion are already in
process of absorption; that this hollow cone is a sheath for another
tooth beneath, which is destined to replace it; as this has itself
replaced its predecessor. The large size of the teeth which we see,
therefore, which accords with the dimensions of the jaws, is not a
condition induced by gradual growth, but by a succession of sloughings
and replacements; and hence the present teeth, in their size, point
conclusively to others which have preceded them, but which have

Yet nothing can be more certain, than that, in this Crocodile, which has
been created to-day, the successive teeth thus witnessed to, are but
ideal, that is prochronic, teeth; and that all the other indications of
the lapse of time, in the development of this individual, are liable to
the same exception.

See this solemn, slow-going Tortoise, shut up in his high-domed house of
bones. It is the beautiful _Testudo pardalis_, well named from the
plates being elegantly spotted and splashed with black on a pale-yellow
ground, like the fur of the panther. This is a rather large individual,
and the number of concentric lines on the plates of his armour,--or may
I not rather say the _tiles_ wherewith his house is roofed?--is
commensurately great. You see what I mean. Each of the angular plates
has a small nuclear lamina, not in the centre of the area, for the
development has been one-sided, but on the highest part. This was the
plate in its earliest form, or at least the earliest of which any trace
is left; for probably there were others yet earlier and smaller, which,
on account of their thinness, have been rubbed away in the travels of
the old wanderer. From this nucleus, the plate has been successively
enlarged, to correspond with the general growth of the animal, by
repeated additions of new laminæ to the inferior surface; each new
lamina being a little wider in every direction than that which preceded
it, though not _equally_ on all the margins; and thus the plates assumed
the form of a very low cone, as you see, always preserving the specific
outline, and manifesting the stages of increase, by the projecting edges
of the successive laminæ, exactly as we saw lately in the scales of the

[Illustration: PLATES OF TORTOISE.]

Whether these laminæ are increased in an annual ratio, I am not sure,
nor is it important. There are, I find, about forty-five concentric
lines on one plate in this specimen, besides others which are
evanescent. Hence it would be quite legitimate to infer that this
Tortoise has passed through at least forty-five distinct periods of
life, each of which has left a legible record of its existence.

And yet, this moment, in which we look at it, is the very first moment
of its life; the concentric layers are evidences of processes that never
occurred, except prochronically.

See yonder stately bird, nearly of the height of man, marching among the
luxuriant musa-groves, and feeding on the succulent fruits. There is
nothing very admirable in its coarse, black, hair-like plumage; but the
rich hues of its naked neck, azure, purple, and scarlet, of the most
vivid intensity, attract the gaze. The most remarkable feature in its
physiognomy, is the singular, tall ridge of horn on its head, which,
like the crested helmet of some mailed warrior, imparts an air of
martial prowess to the bird, little in accordance with its peaceful

This protuberance is altogether a development of age. The skull, in the
youth of the Cassowary, was scarcely more elevated than that of a
chicken; but in the lapse of years, the bony ridge, encased in horn, has
gradually elevated itself to the height which it now possesses.

Here again we have a record of time, which is belied by the fact of the
bird's recent creation.

What is the glorious train of the Peacock, all filled with eyes, but a
false witness of the same kind? It leads us to infer that the bird is
three years old at least, since before that period, the covert feathers,
which are to form the splendid ornament of maturity, are not developed.

What are the lengthened tail-plumes of most refulgent blue, that adorn
the Fork-tailed Humming-bird (_Trochilus forficatus_); what the
gorgeously golden tail of the Resplendent Trogon; what the elegant
lyre-shaped feathers of the Menura; what the lustrous plumage of the
Birds of Paradise,--all of which have been but this hour created,--but
so many testimonies, unworthy of confidence, to a past history?

But, further, every individual feather of this beautiful array of
plumage concurs in bearing its unblushing witness to the same untruth.
What says the physiologist, who is able to read off these autographic

[Illustration: GROWTH OF A FEATHER.]

"A little while ago, the tips of these feathers were seen each
protruding from the extremity of a thick, opaque tube; and a little
while before that, the tube itself, was a closed capsule, imbedded in a
deep follicle of the skin. If you had then cut open the capsule, you
would have found two concentric membranous tubes investing a highly
vascular secreting pulp, abundantly supplied with nerves and
blood-vessels through an orifice at the bottom of the capsule, and
destined to form the substance of the coming feather. Indeed, you would
have seen the soft, newly-formed barbs folded round the central
organized matrix; and below, the incipient quill, filled with the living
pulp-cells, and their blood-vessels, which were destined subsequently to
wither up and collapse into the light skinny pith which you see in the
perfectly matured feather. These are stages which each of these hundreds
of feathers has passed through; and these are but a single generation,
which have replaced former series that have been lost in the process of
moulting, every one of which had in its turn passed through exactly
corresponding stages, and so on backward, till we reach the first race
of feathers, which were already partly developed when the chick burst
forth from its imprisoning egg-shell."

So says the physiologist; but is he not most egregiously in error, since
this is the day of these lovely beings' creation?

There goes the great Whale, the true Whalebone Whale, rolling and
wallowing in the trough of the sea, and exposing his enormous black back
like an island amidst the white foam, which he stirs up, "making the
deep to be hoary." We will use our privilege and take a peep into his
mouth, as we did just now into that of the Shark.

What a cavern! and all bristling with long black hair! Why it seems as
if the hair grew on the wrong side of his head--on the inside instead of
the outside!

Nay, what you call hair is really the Whale's teeth, or what represents
teeth. This is the interior free fibrous margin of the _baleen_, which
descends in long triangular plates from the upper jaw. There are about
two hundred plates on each side, set face to face, with an interval
between, and the edges outward. The inward edge runs off into those long
hair-like filaments, which also extend from the slender tip. And the
whole forms an effective sifting apparatus, by which the volume of
sea-water, which the huge creature takes into his mouth in feeding, is
drained of the sea-blubbers, the worms, the mollusks, and other small
matters, which constitute the subsistence of this vast body.

Now each of these four hundred plates, some twelve feet in length, has
grown from a minute sort of bud, in the upper jaw. Its base is hollow,
resting on the formative pulp which is developed from the gum. The pulp
is understood to be the immediate origin of the hairy fringe, while a
dense vascular substance, seated between the bases of the plates, forms
the plate itself. When the plate reaches a certain length, its diameter
has become greatly attenuated, and its tip is constantly breaking away,
leaving the hair projecting. There is therefore a continual
disappearance of the substance of the plates at the tips, and a
continual growth at the base to supply the deficiency; and even more, at
least during the period of adolescence, because the actual dimensions of
the plates have to be increased in the ratio of the growth of the whole

Here, again, we read a record of past history. The Whale is known to be
a long-lived animal; and a period of many years must have passed in
bringing these plates of baleen to their present maturity. Yet the vast
organism before us has been created in its vastness but to-day.

On the most prominent shelf of yonder precipice, a sharp buttress of
naked limestone, stands an Ibex, guarding, like a watchful sentinel, the
herd in the sheltered valley which own his leadership. The pair of noble
horns, which are at once his defence and his pride, are marked
throughout their ample curve with semi-rings, or knobs, on their
anterior side. These afford us an infallible criterion of the animal's

We can count in this Ibex fourteen of such prominent bosses. Now the
horn in these animals is not shed during life, but consists of a
persistent sheath of horny substance, enveloping a bony core. Until full
adult age, both the core of bone and the sheath of horn are continually
growing; and in the spring, when there is an unusual augmentation of
vital energy in the system, the increase is more than usually rapid. At
this season, the new matter deposited in the corneous sheath accumulates
in the form of one of these bosses, each of which is therefore produced
at the interval of a year. As the first boss appears in the second year
of the animal's age, we have but to add one to the number of the bosses
on each horn, and we have the number of years which it has lived. The
Ibex before us is just fifteen years old.

[Illustration: HORNS OF STAG;

In their successive developments.]

Yon Stag that is rubbing his branchy honours against a tree in the
glade,--can we apply the same criterion to him? Not exactly: for the
horns of all the Deer-tribe are of a different structure from those of
the _Capradæ_. They are bones of great solidity, not invested with any
corneous sheath, but clothed for a certain portion of their duration
with a living vascular skin, and are shed every year during life and as
constantly renewed.

Yet the bony horns of the Stag are no less sure a criterion of age, at
least up to a certain period--than are those of the hollow-horned Ibex.
In the spring of the second year of the Fawn, the horns first appear,
seated on bony footstalks that spring from the frontal bone. The skin
that covers these knobs begins to swell and to become turgid with blood
supplied by enlarging arteries. Layers of bone are now deposited,
particle by particle, on the footstalks, with surprising rapidity,
producing the budding horns, which grow day by day, still covered by the
skin, which grows also in a corresponding ratio. This goes on till a
simple rod of bone is formed, without any branches. When this is
complete, the course of the arteries that supplied the skin is cut off
by fresh osseous particles deposited in a thick ring around the base.
The enveloping skin then dies, and is soon rubbed off.

After a few months, the connexion of the now dead bone with the living
is dissolved by absorption, and the horns fall off.

The next spring they are renewed again, but now with a branch or antler;
and the whole falls again in autumn. Every spring sees them renewed, but
always with an increase of development; and this increase is definite
and well-known; so that the age of a Stag, at least of one in the vigour
of life, can be readily and certainly stated.

For example, the individual Stag before us, now browsing so peacefully,
has each horn composed of the following elements:--the beam, or main
stem; two brow-antlers; one stem-antler, and a coronet of four snags, or
royal-antlers, at the summit. This condition is peculiar to the seventh
development, to which if we add one year for the hornless stage of
fawnhood, we obtain eight years, as, beyond all doubt, the age of this

Both of these examples, however, the Ibex and the Stag, though so
conclusive, and seemingly so irrefragable, are rendered nugatory by the
opposing fact of a just recent creation.

See this Horse, a newly created, really wild Horse,

     "Wild as the wild deer, and untaught,
       With spur and bridle undefiled,"--

his sleek coat of a dun mouse-colour, with a black stripe running down
his back, and with a full black mane and tail. He has a wild spiteful
glance; and his eye, and his lips now and then drawn back displaying his
teeth, indicate no very amiable temper. Still, we want to look at those
teeth of his. Please to moderate your rancour, generous Dobbin, and let
us make an inspection of their condition!

Now notice these peculiarities. The third pair of permanent incisors
have appeared, and have attained the same level as their fellows; all
are marked with a central hollow on the crown, the middle pair faintly:
the canines have acquired considerable size; they present a
regularly-convex surface outwardly, without any marks of grooving on the
sides; their inner side is concave; their edges sharp; the third
permanent molar has displaced its predecessor of the milk set, and the
sixth is developed.[83]

This condition of the teeth infallibly marks the fifth year of the
Horse's age. A year ago the third incisor was only just rising; the
canines were small, and strongly grooved, and the third milk grinder was
yet existing. A year hence, the central incisors will be worn quite
flat, and their marks obliterated; the canines will be fully grown
tusks, the second molar will have reached its full height, and all the
teeth will be of the same level. We can then with perfect confidence
assert this to be a five-year old Horse. And yet, if we do so, we shall
assert a palpable untruth, for the young and vigorous stallion has been
created to-day.

[Illustration: SKULL OF BABIROUSSA.]

In the thickets of this nutmeg grove beside us there is a Babiroussa;
let us examine him. Here he is, almost submerged in this tepid pool.
Gentle swine with the circular tusk, please to open your pretty mouth!
Here are four incisors in the upper jaw; _at one time there were six_.
The canines of the same jaw having pierced through the flesh and skin
of the face, have grown upward and curved backward like horns; nay, they
have nearly completed a circle, and are threatening to re-enter the
skull; _once these tusks had not broken from the gums_. There are two
pre-molars: _once there were four_. There are three molars, of which the
first is worn quite smooth: _once this surface was crowned with four
cones; but the third molar had not then appeared_.

Away to a broader river. Here wallows and riots the huge Hippopotamus.
What can we make of his dentition? A strange array of teeth, indeed, is
here; as uncouth and hideous a set as you may hope to see. Yes, but the
group is instructive. We will take them in detail.

Look at the lower jaw first. Here are two large projecting incisors in
the middle, with their tips worn away obliquely on the outer side, by
the action of their opponents in the upper jaw, which are also worn
inwardly. The outer incisors, both above and below, are also mutually
worn in like manner. The lower canines form massive tusks, curved in the
arc of a circle, ground away obliquely by the upper pair; which are
short and similarly worn on their front edges. There are three
pre-molars on each side, below and above, much worn: once there was a
fourth, but it was shed early. Lastly, we find three molars, whose
crowns are ground down so as to expose two polished areas of a
four-lobed figure. A little while ago, these double areas were
trilobate, but at first there were no smooth areas at all; for these are
but sections, more or less advanced, of the conical knobs, with which
the crown of the molar was originally armed.[84]

In both these examples, the polished surfaces of the teeth, worn away by
mutual action, afford striking evidence of the lapse of time. Some one
may possibly object, however, to this: "What right have you to assume
that these teeth were worn away at the moment of its creation, admitting
the animal to have been created adult? May they not have been entire?" I
reply, Impossible: the Hippopotamus's teeth would have been perfectly
useless to him, except in the ground-down condition: nay, the unworn
canines would have effectually prevented his jaws from closing,
necessitating the keeping of the mouth wide open until the attrition was
performed; long before which, of course, he would have starved. In a
natural condition the mutual wearing begins as soon as the surface of
the teeth come into contact with each other; that is, as soon as they
have acquired a development which constitutes them fit for use. The
degree of attrition is merely a question of time. There is no period
that can be named, supposing the existence of the perfected teeth at
all, in which the evidence of this action would not be visible. How
distinct an evidence of past action, and yet, in the case of the created
individual, how illusory!


     "Trampling his path through wood and brake,
     And canes, which, crackling, fall before his way,
     And tassel-grass, whose silvery feathers play
           O'ertopping the young trees,--
       On comes the Elephant, to slake
     His thirst at noon, in yon pellucid springs.
     Lo! from his trunk upturn'd, aloft he flings
       The grateful shower: and now
       Plucking the broad-leaf'd bough
     Of yonder plane, with waving motion slow,
           Fanning the languid air,
     He waves it to and fro."

We will not be content with admiring the vast size of the fine
Dauntelah, and the majesty of his air and movement, and the intelligence
manifested in all the actions of the "half-reasoning" beast, as he
explores the amoenities of the young world to which he has but this
morning been introduced. We are out on another sort of scent: let us try
if we can glean any light from him on our present question.

And, first, we cannot fail to notice his fine pair of tusks curving
upwards almost to a semicircle. Each tusk is composed of a vast number
of thin cones of ivory, superimposed one on another; ever increasing by
new ones formed within the interior at the base, and moulded upon the
vascular pulp which fills the cavity, and by which the solid ivory is
constantly secreted and deposited. Each new cone pushes further and
further out those previously deposited, and thus the tusk ever grows in
length as it increases in age.

[Illustration: SKULL OF ELEPHANT.]

How many years have these tusks occupied in attaining their present
diameter and length? We cannot tell: without a transverse section we
cannot determine the number of layers of which each consists: and if we
could, we should yet require to know what ratio exists between the
deposition of a cone of ivory and a fixed period of time. The cones,
however, in a tusk of these dimensions, are very numerous, for they are
but thin; and it is enough for our purpose that they have occupied the
same number of periods of time for their formation, though we cannot
precisely indicate the length of these periods.

Leaving the tusks, which are the upper incisors, let us now examine the
molars. And there is in these a remarkable peculiarity of development,
which will assist us greatly in our chronic inquiries. Before we look at
them it may be as well to consider this peculiarity.

The Elephant has, from first to last, six, or perhaps eight, molars on
each side of each jaw; but there are never more than two partially, or
one wholly, in use at once. They have originally an uneven surface,
produced by the extremities of a number of what may be considered as so
many finger-like constituent teeth, arranged in transverse rows, covered
by hard enamel, and cemented together by a bony substance. These points
are gradually worn down by the process of mastication, and then the
compound tooth appears crossed by narrow cartouches, or long ovals of
enamel, indented at their margins.

"The first set of molars, [_i. e._ the first compound molar] or milk
teeth, begins to cut the jaw eight or ten days after birth, and the
grinders of the upper jaw appear before those of the lower one. These
milk-grinders are not shed, but are gradually worn away during the time
the second set are coming forward; and as soon as the body of the
grinder is nearly worn away, the fangs begin to be absorbed. From the
end of the second to the beginning of the sixth year, the third set come
gradually forward as the jaw lengthens, not only to fill up this
additional space, but also to supply the place of this second set, which
are, during the same period, gradually worn away, and have their fangs
absorbed. From the beginning of the sixth to the end of the ninth year,
the fourth set of grinders come forward to supply the gradual waste of
the third set. In this manner to the end of life, the Elephant obtains a
set of new teeth, as the old ones become unfit for the mastication of
its food.

"The milk-grinders consist each of four teeth, or _laminæ_; the second
set of grinders of eight or nine _laminæ_; the third set of twelve or
thirteen; the fourth set of fifteen, and so on to the seventh or eighth
set, when each grinder consists of twenty-two or twenty-three: and it
may be added, that each succeeding grinder takes at least a year more
than its predecessor to be completed."[85]

As each tooth advances, only a small portion pierces the gum at once;
one of twelve or fourteen _laminæ_, for instance, shows only two or
three of these through the gum, the remainder being as yet imbedded in
the jaw; and in fact the _tooth is complete at its fore part_, where it
is required for mastication, _while behind it is still very incomplete_;
the laminæ are successively perfected as they advance. The molar of an
Elephant _can never, therefore, be seen in a perfect state_: for if it
is not worn in front, the back part is not fully formed and is without
fangs; and when the structure of the hinder portion is perfected, _the
front part is already gone_.

"When the complex molar cuts the gum, the cement is first rubbed off the
digital summits; then their enamel cap is worn away, and the central
dentine comes into play with a prominent enamel ring; the digital
processes are next ground down to their common uniting base, and a
transverse tract of dentine, with its wavy border of enamel, is
exposed; finally, the transverse plates themselves are abraded to their
common base of dentine, and a smooth and polished tract of that
substance is produced. From this basis the roots of the molar are
developed, and increase in length, to keep the worn crown on the
grinding level, until the reproductive force is exhausted. When the
whole extent of a grinder has thus successively come into play, its last
part is reduced to a long fang supporting a smooth and polished field of
dentine, with sometimes a few remnants of the bottom of the enamel folds
at its hinder part. Then, having become useless, it is attacked by the
absorbent action, by which, and the pressure of the succeeding tooth, it
is finally shed."[86]

With these physiological facts ascertained, let us proceed to the
determination of the actual age of our noble Dauntelah. The molar in
present use has a length of about nine inches, and a diameter of three
and a half. Its crown is crossed by about eighteen enamel-plates; of
which the anterior ones are much worn away, while the hinder ones can
scarcely be counted with precision, as they have not wholly cut their
way through the gum. These characters indicate the fifth molar (or set
of molars) of the whole life-series. And the following facts will help
us now to fix the actual age, at least approximately.

The first molar cuts the gum at two weeks old, is in full use at three
months, and is shed in the course of the second year. The second cuts
the gum at about six months, and is shed in the fifth year. The third
appears at two years, is in full use about the fifth year, and finally
disappears about the ninth year. In the sixth year the fourth breaks
from the gum, and lasts till the animal's twenty-fifth year. The fifth
cuts the gum at the twentieth year, is entirely exposed soon after the
fortieth, and is thrust out about the sixtieth year, by the advance of
the sixth molar, which appears at about fifty years old, and probably
lasts for half a century more. If others succeed this,--a seventh and
even an eighth, as some assert,--these would carry on the Elephant's
life to two or three centuries, in accordance with an ancient opinion,
which is in some degree countenanced by modern observations.

To come back, then, to the case before us, since the fifth molar has its
fore part much worn, and the posterior laminæ scarcely yet protruded
from the gum, it follows that this Elephant is now not far from the
fortieth year of his life, a deduction which well agrees with the
dimensions of his tusks, and his appearance of mature vigour.

Can you detect a flaw in this reasoning? And yet how baseless the
conclusion, which assigns a past existence of forty years to a creature
called into existence this very day.




     "Once, in the flight of ages past,
       There lived a Man,--and who was he?
     Mortal, howe'er thy lot be cast,
       That man resembled thee."--MONTGOMERY.

We have knocked at the doors of the vegetable world, asking our
questions; then at those of the lower tribes of the brute creation, and
now at those of the higher forms; and we have received but one
answer,--varying, indeed, in terms, but essentially the same in
meaning,--from all. And now we have one more application to make; we
have, still in our ideal peregrination, to seek out the newly-created
form of our first progenitor, the primal Head of the Human Race.

And here we behold him; not like the beasts that perish, but--

       "Of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
     Godlike erect, with native honour clad,
     In naked majesty, as lord of all."

The definitive question before us is this: Does the body of the Man just
created present us with any evidences of a past existence, and if so,
what are they? And that we may rightly judge of the matter, we will, as
on former occasions, call in the aid of a skilful and experienced
physiologist, to whom we will distinctly put the question.

_The Physiologist's Report._

In replying to your inquiry concerning the proofs of a past existence in
the Man before me, I must treat of him as a mere animal,--a creature
having an organic being.

And, first, I find every part of the surface of his body possessing a
nearly uniform temperature, which is higher than that of the surrounding
atmosphere. There is, moreover, on all parts of the body, a tinge of
redness, more or less vivid in certain regions. The heat, and the
carnation tinge, alike indicate the presence of blood, arterial blood,
diffused throughout, and, in particular, occupying the capillaries of
the superficial parts. Every drop of this blood is preceded and
succeeded by other drops, every one of which has been impelled out of
the heart by its constant contractions.

But the very existence of this blood supposes the pre-existence of chyle
and lymph, out of which it has been constructed. The chyle was formed
out of chyme, changed by the action of the pancreatic and biliary
secretions. Chyme is food, chemically altered by the action of the
gastric juice. So that the blood, now coursing through the arteries and
veins, implies the previous process of the reception of food. And these
pancreatic and biliary secretions, which are essential to the conversion
of chyme into chyle,--and therefore into blood,--do you ask their
origin? They were prepared, the one by the pancreas, the other by the
liver, from blood already existing,--blood _previously formed_ of chyle
with the addition of bile, &c.--and so indefinitely.

Again, the blood in these capillary arteries is of a bright scarlet hue,
which it derives from its being charged with oxygen. This it received in
the _lungs_, parting at the same time with the carbon which it had taken
up in its former course. The lungs then must have existed _before_ the
blood could be where and what it is, viz. arterial blood in the
capillaries of the extremities; before it was driven out of the heart,
since it was transmitted from the lungs through the pulmonary veins
into the heart, thence to be pumped into the arterial system.

But since all the tissues of the body are formed from the blood, the
lungs were dependent on already-existing blood for their existence. And
as the formative and nutrient power is lodged exclusively in _arterial_
blood, the very blood out of which the lungs were organized was
dependent on lungs for oxygenation, without which it would have been
effete and useless.

Here then is a cycle of which I cannot trace the beginning.

But further. On the extremities of the fingers and of the toes, there
are broad horny _nails_. These I trace down to the curved line where
they issue from beneath the skin, and whence every particle of each nail
has issued in succession. They are composed of several strata of
polygonal cells, which have all grown in reduplications of the skin,
forming compressed curved sheaths (_follicles_); stratum after stratum
of cells having been added to the base-line, as the nail perpetually
grew forwards. About three months elapse from the emergence of a given
stratum of cells, before that stratum becomes terminal; and therefore
each of these twenty-four finger- and toe-nails is a witness to three
months' past existence.

[Illustration: GROWTH OF HAIR (_magnified_).]

The head is clothed with luxuriant _hair_, composed of a multitude of
individual fibres, each of which is an epidermic appendage, essentially
similar to the nails. Every hair is contained at its basal extremity in
a delicate follicle, where it terminates around a soft vascular bulb,
made up of blood-vessels and nerves. On the surface of this living bulb
the horny substance is continually secreted and deposited in layers,
each of which in succession pushes forward those previously made, till
the tip extrudes from the follicle of the skin, after which it continues
to grow in the same way, as an external hair. The tip is gradually worn
away; and thus the constant growth cannot, in general, cause it to
exceed a certain given length. Each of the thousands of hairs with which
this majestic head is clothed, bears witness to past time; and as the
increase of hair is about an inch per month, and as this hair is about
four inches in length, we have here thousands of witnesses to at least
four months of previous history.

The bones which make up the firm and stately fabric about which this
human body is built, are no productions of a day. Long before this they
existed in the form of cartilages. In these, minute arteries began to
deposit particles of phosphate of lime, around certain centres of
ossification, doing their work in a determinate order, and in regular
lines, so as to form continuous fibres. These fibres, aggregated, and
connected by others, soon formed a texture of spicula or thin plates.

Now take as an example a cylindrical hollow bone, as that of the thigh.
Here the spicula were arranged longitudinally, parallel to the axis of
the bone: preserving the general form of the cartilage which constituted
its scaffolding.

But the bone required a progressive increase in size. In its early
state, moreover, it was not hollow, but solid. Changes must have taken
place to bring it to its present dimensions and condition. These were
effected by the actual removal of some parts, simultaneously with the
deposition of others.

At a certain stage of ossification, cells were excavated by the action
of the absorbent vessels, which carried away portions of bony matter
lying in the axis of the cylindrical bone. Their place was supplied by
an oily matter, which is the marrow. As the growth proceeded, while new
layers were deposited on the outside of the bone, and at the end of the
long fibres, the internal layers near the centre were removed by the
absorbent vessels, so that the cavity was further enlarged. In this
manner the outermost layer of the young bone gradually changed its
relative situation, becoming more and more deeply buried by the new
layers which were successively deposited, and which covered and
surrounded it; until by the removal of all the layers situated near to
the centre, it became the innermost layer, and was itself destined in
its turn to disappear, leaving the new bone without a single particle
which had entered into the composition of the original structure.[87]

These processes have been the slow and gradual work of years, of the
lapse of which years the bones are themselves eloquent witnesses.

Within the mouth there are many _teeth_. I will not now speak of their
exact number, nor of some other particulars concerning them, because I
mean to return to them presently; but I look only at their general
structure and origin. Each tooth consists of three distinct parts, the
central portion, which is _ivory_; the exceedingly hard, polished,
glassy coat of the crown, which is _enamel_; and a thin layer of bone
around the fang, which is the _cement_.

Before either of these appeared, a minute papillary process of vascular
pulp was formed in a cavity of the jaw. Over the pulp was spread an
excessively thin membrane, which secreted from the blood, and deposited,
a thin shell of bony matter, or ivory, moulded on the form of the pulp.
Successive layers of ivory were then added, from within; the pulp
diminishing in a corresponding ratio. The cavity of the jaw at the same
time deepened, and the pulp lengthened downward into the space thus
provided; layers of bony substance being gradually deposited upon it, as

[Illustration: SECTION OF HUMAN TOOTH (_magnified_).]

The cavity itself was lined with a thick vascular membrane, united to
the papilla at its base. Within the space lying between this membrane
and the pulp, there was deposited from the wall of the former a soft,
granular, non-vascular substance, known as the enamel organ. The cells
on the inner surface of this substance then took the form of long,
sub-parallel prisms, set in close array, perpendicular to the surface of
the tooth. Earthy matter was progressively deposited in them, by which
they became the exceedingly dense and hard enamel of the crown. The
cement of the fang was then formed by a slight modification of the
process which had produced the enamel.

Here, then, are several distinct and important processes, effected in
regular and immutable succession, each requiring time for its
performance, and all undeniably witnessed-to by the structure of every
tooth here seen.

As I have thus proved the _fact_ of life existing in this human body for
some time previous to the present moment, I now proceed to inquire how
far its structure may throw light on the _actual duration_ of that past
life. How far can we ascertain its chronology?

The stature of the Man before me is about six feet. An infant at birth
is from eighteen to twenty-one inches in length. At ten years old the
average stature is about four feet. Six feet may be taken as the full
adult height of man; and this is attained from the twenty-first to the
twenty-fifth year. The stature of this individual would therefore
indicate an age not less than twenty-one years.

On the front of the throat I perceive a strongly-marked, angular
prominence, formed by the union of the two plates of the thyroid
cartilage. The prominence of this angle is due to the enlargement of the
larynx; and it is accompanied by a deepening of the pitch of the voice,
producing the full rich sounds that we have this instant heard, as the
Man chanted his song of praise. These tones, and this projection of the
thyroid cartilage, are equally distinctive marks of puberty, and do not
appear till about the sixteenth or seventeenth year.

The chin, and sides of the face, are clothed with a dense bush of crisp
hair,--the beard. This is a distinctive mark of the adolescent period,
and may be taken as indicating an age not less than twenty years.

On again examining the mouth, I find the teeth are thirty-two in
number; viz., four incisors, two canines, four pre-molars, and six true
molars, in each jaw. None of these existed (at least visibly) during the
first seven years of life; in that period they were represented by the
milk-teeth of infancy. The appearance of the middle pair of incisors
occurred at about the eighth year; the lateral incisors at nine; the
first pre-molars at ten; the second at eleven; the canines at about
twelve; the second molars at thirteen or fourteen; and the third molars,
or _dentes sapientiæ_, at about seventeen or eighteen.

The state of the dentition, then, points to an age certainly not less
than the period just named. How much more it may be, we must gather from
other sources.

I come now to certain phenomena which are not appreciable to us on mere
external examination; but which I am able with certainty to predicate.
And the first of these is the proportion of arterial to venous blood in
the capillaries. In infancy, the arterial capillaries contain far more
blood than the capillary veins; in old age, the proportion is exactly
reversed; whereas, in maturity, the ratio is just equal. Now, here there
is a very small preponderance of arterial blood, indicating a period
but slightly remote from maturity on the side of youth; well agreeing
with the conclusion arrived at from previous premises, of some twenty to
five-and-twenty years.

Other and more marked manifestations occur in the condition of the
skeleton. In the spine, I find _the spinous and transverse processes_ of
the several vertebræ are completed by separate _epiphyses_, the
ossification of which does not commence till after puberty, and the
final union of which with the body of the bone does not occur till about
the age of twenty-five years.

Each _vertebra_, moreover, has attained a smooth annular _plate_ of
solid bone, covering a surface that was previously rough and fissured,
which is invariably added at the same period.

The _ossification of the sacrum_ also has reached its culminating point.
At the age of puberty, the component vertebræ began to unite from below
upwards, and the two highest have now coalesced; which also marks a
period of life not earlier than the twenty-fifth year. The whole united
mass, moreover, is furnished on each side with thin bony plates, the
appearance of which is no less characteristic of the same age.

Each of the _ribs_ is here furnished with two _epiphyses_, one for the
head and the other for the tubercle; the ossification of these began
soon after puberty; but their union with the body of the bone, as
presented here, has taken several years to accomplish.

To come to the limbs, we find the _shoulder-blade_ presenting three
_epiphyses_, one for the _coracoid_ process, one for the _acromion_, and
one for the lower angle of the bone, the ossification of which begins
soon after puberty, their union with the body of the bone taking place
between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-five years. The _clavicle_ has
an _epiphysis_ at its sternal end, which begins to form between the
eighteenth and twentieth years, and is united to the rest of the bone a
few years later. The consolidation of the shoulder-bone (_humerus_) is
completed rather earlier; the large piece at the upper end, which is
formed by the coalescence of the ossific centres of the head and two
tuberosities, unites with the shaft at about the twentieth year; whilst
its lower extremity is completed by the junction of the external
condyle, and of the two parts of the articulating surface (previously
united with each other), at about the seventeenth year, and by that of
the internal condyle in the year following. The superior _epiphyses_ of
the arm-bones (_radius_ and _ulna_) unite with their respective shafts
at about the age of puberty; the inferior, which are of larger size, at
about the twentieth year. The _epiphyses_ of the _metacarpal_ and
_phalangeal bones_ (those of the hand and fingers) are united to their
principals at about the twentieth year. In the _Lower Extremities_, the
process of ossification is completed at nearly the same periods as that
of the corresponding parts of the Upper. The consolidation of the
hipbones (_ilium_, _ischium_, and _pubis_) to form the _os innominatum_,
by the ossification of the triradiate cartilage that intervenes between
them in the socket of the thigh (_acetabulum_), does not take place
until after the period of puberty; and at this time additional
_epiphyses_ begin to make their appearance on the crest of the _ilium_,
on its anterior inferior spine, on the tuberosity of the _ischium_, and
on the inner margin of the _pubes_, which are not finally joined to the
bone until about the twenty-fifth year.[88]

The concurrence of these conditions in the skeleton, the nearly balanced
ratio of the bloods, the perfected dentition, the beard, the deepened
voice, the prominent larynx, and the stature, combine to point out,
with infallible precision, the age of this Man, as between twenty-five
and thirty years.

So far, then, we can with certainty trace back the history of this
being, as an independent organism; but did his history then commence? O
no; we can carry him much farther back than this. What means this
curious depression in the centre of the abdomen, and the corrugated knob
which occupies the cavity?[89]

This is the NAVEL. The corrugation is the cicatrice left where once was
attached the umbilical cord, and whence its remains, having died,
sloughed away. This organ introduces us to the foetal life of Man;
for it was the link of connexion between, the unborn infant and the
parent; the channel, through whose arteries and veins the oxygenated and
the effete blood passed to and from the parental system, when as yet the
unused lungs had not received one breath of vital air.

And thus the life of the individual Man before us passes, by a necessary
retrogression, back to the life of another individual, from whose
substance his own substance was formed by gemmation; one of the
component cells of whose structure was the primordial cell, from which
have been developed successively all the cells which now make up his
mature and perfect organism.

       *       *       *       *       *

How is it possible to avoid this conclusion? Has not the physiologist
irrefragable grounds for it, founded on universal experience? Has not
observation abundantly shown, that, wherever the bones, flesh, blood,
teeth, nails, hair of man exist, the aggregate body has passed through
stages exactly correspondent to those alluded to above, and has
originated in the uterus of a mother, its foetal life being, so to
speak, a budding out of hers? Has the combined experience of mankind
ever seen a solitary exception to this law? How, then, can we refuse the
concession that, in the individual before us, in whom we find all the
phenomena that we are accustomed to associate with adult Man, repeated
in the most exact verisimilitude, without a single flaw--how, I say, can
we hesitate to assert that such was his origin too?

And yet, in order to assert it, we must be prepared to adopt the old
Pagan doctrine of the eternity of matter; _ex nihilo nihil fit_. But
those with whom I argue are precluded from this, by my first Postulate.




     "Every cell, like every individual Plant or Animal, is the
     product of a previous organism of the same kind."--(DR.
     CARPENTER, _Comp. Physiol._ § 347.)

In the preceding examples I have assumed that every organic entity was
created in that stage of its being which constitutes the acme of its
peculiar development; when all its faculties are in their highest
perfection, and when it is best fitted to reproduce its own image. From
the very nature of things I judge that this was the actual fact;[90]
since, if we suppose the formation of the primitive creatures in an
undeveloped or infant condition, a period would require to lapse before
the increase of the species could begin; which time would be wasted. To
those, indeed, who receive as authority the testimony of the Holy
Scripture, the matter stands on more than probable ground; for its
statements, as to the condition of the things created, are clear and
full: they were not seeds, and germs, and eggs, and embryos,--but "the
tree yielding fruit whose seed was in itself,"--"great whales,"--"winged
fowl,"--"the beast of the earth,"--and "man."[91]

But I do not mean to shield myself behind authority. I have begged the
_fact_ of creation; but not the truth, nor even the existence, of any
historic document describing it. It is essential to my argument that any
such be left entirely out of the question; and, for the present, I
accordingly ignore the Bible.

It is possible that some opponent may object to my assumption of
maturity in created organisms.

"Your deductions may be sound enough," such an one may say, "provided
your newly-created Locust-tree had so many concentric cylinders of
timber, your Tree-fern had a well-developed stem of leaf-bases, your
Coral a great aggregation of polype-cells, your Tortoise a carapace of
many-laminated plates, your Elephant a half-worn set of molars, and your
Man a thoroughly ossified skeleton. But how do you know that either of
these organisms was created in this mature stage? I will not deny that
each was created,--was called suddenly out of non-entity into entity;
but I believe, or at least I choose to believe,--that each was created
in the simplest form in which it can exist; as the seed, the gemmule,
the ovum, the--ahem!"

Pray go on! you were about to say "the infant," or "the foetus," or
"the embryo," probably; pray make your selection: which will you say?

"Well, I hardly know. Because, if I choose the new-born infant, you will
say, Its condition implies a nine months' pre-existence, certainly; not
to speak of the absurdity of a new-born infant being cast out into an
open world without a parent to feed it. If I say, The foetus, or the
still more incipient embryo, I involve, at once, a pre-existent mother.
I am afraid you have me there!"

I think I have. However, let us take up the matter orderly, and proceed
on the supposition that my previous examples must be all cancelled, and
the question argued _de novo_, on the assumption that each organism was
created in its least developed condition.

It will not be considered necessary, I suppose, to look at any
intermediate condition of the organisms. The argument which is based
upon the leaf-scales of the Fern or the Palm would essentially apply to
either of these plants when it first issues from the ground. At the
period when it comprises but a single frond, the botanist would no more
hesitate in pronouncing that the organism had passed through stages
previous to that one, than he would when it possesses an elongated
stipe; though, in the latter case, the evidences of the pre-existence
are more patent to the uninstructed eye. He would say, The single frond
implies, with absolute necessity, a spore in the one case, a seed in the
other; and we need not to see either, to be assured that this must have
preceded the leaf-stage.

But you go farther back still. "The plant was created as a seed." Let us
renew our imaginary tour at the epoch, or epochs (as many as you
please), of creation, on this supposition.

Here is a very young plant of the curious Seychelles Palm or Double
Cocoa-nut (_Lodoicea Sechellarum_). A single frond is all that is yet
developed, and this is as yet unexpanded, the pinnæ being still folded
on the midrib, like a fan. Trace the frond down to its base. It springs
from a thick horizontal cylindric process, which has also shot down a
radicle into the soil. We trace the cylindrical stem along the surface
of the soil, and find, lying on the ground, among the grass, but not
buried, a great double nut, something like the two hemispheres of a
human brain, or like a common cocoa-nut, half split open and healed. Out
of this the thick stem has issued; and we find that it is only the
cotyledon of the seed, that has prolonged its base in the process of
germination, in order to throw up, clear of the nut, the plumule and

We look at the great nut, and find, on the woody exterior of the fibrous
pericarp, at the side opposite to that whence issues the cotyledon, a
broad scar. What is this? It is the _mark left by the severance of a
footstalk_, which united the fruit to the parent plant. This great drupe
was once a small ovary seated in the centre of a three-petaled flower,
which, with many others, issued out of a great spathe, a mass of
inflorescence, and hung down from the base of the leafy coronal of an
adult palm-tree. This scar is an irreproachable witness of the existence
of the parent palm.

Here, lying on the dry and dusty earth, is a brown flat bean of great
hardness. This is a seed destined by and by to produce that splendid
tree _Erythrina crista-galli_. But it has been just created.

This bean bears on one of its edges an oval scar, very distinctly
marked, called the _hilum_. This was the point of attachment of a short
column, by which the seed was united to one of the sutures of a long
pod, in the interior of which it lay, in company with several others
like itself. This great legume or pod had been the bottom of the pistil
of a papilionaceous flower, crowned by a tiny stigma, lodged in a sheath
formed by the united stamens, and surrounded by a corolla of refulgent
scarlet petals.

Of course such a flower was not an independent organism; it was one of
many that adorned a great tree, the history of whose life would carry us
back through several generations of human years.

[Illustration: GARDEN TULIP.

Fig. 1. A flower with two petals removed, to show the ovary, _a_. Fig.
2. The same ovary, more mature, divided longitudinally; _b_, the unripe
seeds, packed on each other; _c_, a portion of the same carpel, from
which the seeds have been removed.]

This single infolding leaf, that is just shooting from the soil, so
small and feeble,--what of this? There are certainly no concentric
cylinders of timber here: can we trace a previous history of this?

Yes: by carefully removing the soil from the base, we see that it
originates in a flat yellow seed--the seed of a Tulip. Here again we
have no difficulty in detecting evidence of its former attachment. A
great number of these seeds were once closely packed one on another, in
each of the three carpels that constituted the capsule. And this capsule
had been the oblong, three-sided ovary, which formed the body of the
pistil in some beautiful Tulip.

Do you observe these two round fleshy leaves, just peeping from the
sandy earth? They are the earliest growths of a plant of _Arachis
hypogæa_. In this case again, to understand the true relations of this
organism, we must expose it wholly to view.

Beneath the surface of the earth, then, I find that these seed-leaves
are the two halves (_cotyledons_) of a kind of pea, which was formerly
enclosed in a wrinkled skinny pod. But what is most interesting is that
the pod is here, the cotyledons shooting out of it. And, attached to
one end of the pod, here is a slender stalk, now withered and dry, which
projects out of the ground into the air.


Now here we have a beautiful link of connexion with the past. The plant
before us does not ripen its seeds, and then drop them to care for
themselves, as most plants do. "The young fruit, instead of being placed
at the bottom of the calyx, as in other kinds of pulse, is found at the
bottom and in the inside of a long slender tube, which looks like a
flower-stalk. When the flower has withered, and the young fruit is
fertilized, nothing but the bottom of the tube with its contents
remains. At this period a small point projects from the summit of the
young fruit, and gradually elongates, curving downwards towards the
earth. At the same time the stalk of the fruit lengthens, until the
small point strikes the earth, into which the now half-grown fruit is
speedily forced, and where it finally ripens in what would seem a most
unnatural position."[92]

The young plant before us has been this moment created, and created in
this incipient stage of growth: and yet there is, even here, an
indubitable evidence, so far as physical phenomena can afford it, of a
past history. It would be utterly impossible to select any stage in the
life of the Earth-pea, which did not connect itself, visibly and
palpably, with a previous stage.

Let us return to the shore-loving Mangrove. You object to my assumption
that it was created as a tree, with a well-branched stem elevated upon
a series of arching roots; and to my deduction of pre-lapsed years for
the formation of those roots. Very well. I give it up. You allow that
the primitive Mangrove was created in some stage, but you contend for
the germ-stage, the simplest condition of the plant, whatever that might

Now, where shall we find it? In the first pair of developed leaves? They
certainly point back to the cotyledons. To the cotyledons, then, let us

Lo! the young plant is germinating before its connexion with the parent
is severed. It is the singular habit of this tree, that its seeds are
already in a growing condition, while they hang from the twig. Each seed
is a long club-shaped body, with a bulbous base and a slender point,
more or less produced. While it yet hangs from the branch, the radicle
and crown of the root begin to grow, and gradually lengthen, until the
tip reaches the soil, which it penetrates and thus roots itself; while
those which depend from the higher branches, after growing for a while,
drop, and, sticking in the mud, throw out roots from one end, and leaves
from the other.

[Illustration: SEED OF MANGROVE.]

What have you gained, then, in this case, by going back to the germ? The
germ as decisively asserts its origination from an already existing
organism--the parent tree--as the flourishing tree witnesses its gradual
development from a germ. The Mangrove could not by possibility have been
created in any stage, consistent with the identity of the species with
that which we behold now in the nineteenth century,--that did not show
ocular evidence of a previous history;--evidence from the nature of
things fallacious.

It would be merely tiresome to go on through the vegetable kingdom. In
every plant the simplest condition--viz. that of a spore or
seed--depends on some development, or process, or series of processes,
that have preceded it. Nor does the lapse of time between the previous
process and the apparent result at all destroy their necessary
connexion. In the case of the curious Misseltoes, the ovule does not
appear till three months after the pollen has been shed; but when it
does appear, its existence as an organism capable of developing the
characteristic form of its species, is as truly dependent on the
previous existence of the pollen, as if not an hour had intervened.

Supposing the essential conditions of vegetable organisms to have been
at the first what they are now; in other words, supposing specific
identity to have been always maintained,--which I have demanded as a
postulate for this argument,--it appears to me demonstrable, that every
plant in the world presented at the moment of its creation evidences
_prochronic_ development, in nowise to be distinguished from those on
which we firmly rely as proving the lapse of time.

But is the case otherwise in the animal world?

We traced back the history of our Medusa through its marvellous series
of gemmative developments, till we reached the minute Infusory-like
gemmule, which is its simplest form. Now it is quite legitimate to
assume that _this_, and not the pulmonigrade umbrelliform stage, was the
one in which the new-created Medusa began existence. Have we, then, got
rid of the evidence of past time, which we deduced from the successive
changes through which the adult had passed? What is this ciliated
planule, and whence comes it? It is the embryo discharged from the
fringed ovary of a female Medusa; it has already passed through several
changes of colour and form. It is now of a deep yellow colour; it has
been violet; it has been colourless: it is now shaped like a dumb-bell;
it was a globule; it had been a mulberry-mass. Yet earlier, it had been
a component cell of the ovarian band, which divided the generative
cavity from that of the stomach, in the parent Medusa.

In like manner the ciliated gemmule from which was formed the "pluteus"
of the Urchin, was dependent on the existence of a parent Urchin; the
monadiform germ from which was developed the pentacrinus of the
Feather-star, was originally hidden in the ovarian tubes of a parent
Feather-Star: the infant _Serpula_ that deposited the first atoms of
calcareous matter as a commenced tube, had begun its own existence in
the body of a parent _Serpula_.

It is true the evidence of the connexion between the germ and the
parent is not in these low forms always patent to the eye; it is
physiological. But it is not less conclusive to one who is able to
appreciate its force. A physiologist is as sure that every germ, every
ovum, in the Invertebrate animals, was produced by an animal of a former
generation, as he is of the same fact in a Mammal, where his eye can see
the scar of the umbilical cord.

In many instances there is stronger, or rather more obvious and
ordinarily appreciable, evidence of the link between the present and the
past generation, than the physiological dependence. The world of
Insects, which, from its immensity, and from the high organic rank of
its members, affords us so exhaustless a mine of economical wonders,--is
rich in examples to the point. A few of these I shall cite.

The eggs of many Insects are not dropped anywhere, at random; for, as
the newly-born young have limited powers of locomotion, and yet are in
general able to subsist only on some particular kind of food, it is
necessary that their birth should occur in the immediate proximity of
such food: and therefore that the egg should be so placed. Now this
circumstance would not be specially noteworthy if the locality selected
for the deposition of the egg were the same as that in which the parent
insect had been accustomed to find its own private enjoyments: we should
reasonably say that the eggs were placed here, because the parents
happened to be here. The case, however, is very different.

We never find the egg of the Peacock Butterfly adhering to the leaf of a
cabbage, nor that of the Garden White to the leaf of a nettle; but the
nettle is invariably selected for the former, and a cruciferous plant
for the latter.

Yet there is nothing in the individual wants or likings of the
Butterfly, in either case, to account for this. Both the one and the
other flutter through the sunny air, alight to drink the water of some
slushy pool, rest on the expanding flowers and probe them for nectar, or
suck the exuding juices of an over-ripe fruit. But when did you ever see
the gorgeous-eyed Peacock feeding on a nettle, or the White on a
cabbage? Eagerly as they seek these plants, it is solely for the purpose
of depositing their eggs where instinct teaches them their unborn
progeny will find suitable food.

Supposing, therefore, we had found the egg of either of these
butterflies at the moment of its creation, we should assuredly have
found it on the nettle or the cabbage (as the case might be); because to
suppose it in any other situation would be equivalent to supposing it so
placed as that the end of its creation--the life of the species
created--would be _ipso facto_ frustrated. But, finding it so, the
question naturally arises,--Why here, and not elsewhere? and the only
possible answer, on the ground of phenomena, is, Because the parent
chose this situation for it. And thus we are inevitably thrown back to
an anterior generation, which is equivalent to past time.

Again, if we had seen the egg of the Nut Weevil (_Balaninus nucum_) just
come from the creative hand of God, we should certainly have found it
within the immature soft-shelled hazel-nut, because there alone would
the grub when hatched meet with "food convenient for" it. And yet if we
had sought (ignorant of the fact of its recent creation) the reason of
its being there, our acquaintance with entomology would have pointed to
the parent beetle, who, with her jaws placed at the tip of a long
slender snout, had bored a tiny hole in the tender shell, and had then
projected the egg from her abdomen into the interior.

The eggs of the _Oestridæ_--for example, the Worble of the Ox
(_Oestrus bovis_) or the Bot of the Sheep (_Oe. ovis_)--would be
discovered in no other circumstances than beneath the skin of the
former, and at the edge of the nostrils of the latter. For these are the
respective situations in which the egg is always deposited, that of the
Worble hatching _in situ_, and forming a superficial abscess in
communication with the external air, and that of the Sheep-bot producing
a larva which crawls up the nostrils of the poor animal, till it finds a
suitable resting-place in the frontal sinuses of the skull. To suppose
the egg in any other circumstances than those which I have mentioned,
would be to consign it to certain destruction. Yet does not its presence
there bear witness to the eclectic care of the parent Gadfly, whose
unerring instinct knew how to seek and select the right position?

If you had set yourself to look for the egg of a _Pimpla manifestator_,
a common Cuckoo-fly, where would you have looked for it, but in the
fatty tissues of a wild bee's grub, that was lodged in a deep hole in
some old post? If you had sought elsewhere, you would surely have been
disappointed. And would not its presence there bear testimony to the
lengthened ovipositor of the well-known brisk and busy fly, and to its
remarkable habits?[93]

The grub of the Pill Chafer or Tumble-dung Beetle (_Phanæus_) feeds on
the ordure of _Mammalia_. And, in order that the newly-hatched young may
have a copious supply of food at hand, the parent chafer with its jaws
detaches a mass of recent ordure, which it then rolls over the ground
with its hind feet, until it acquires a globular form, and a coating of
earth or sand. An egg is then deposited in the centre of the ball, which
is rolled into a hole made in the earth to receive it. The coating of
earth drying and hardening, keeps the interior of the mass fresh and
moist until the young grub is hatched, when it at once begins to devour
its savoury and delicate provision.

It would be vain to search for the egg of a _Cynips_ except within a
vegetable gall, or at least within the tissues of a plant that are going
to produce one. Take as an example _C. quercus_, which produces the
spongy excrescence well known as the common Oak-apple. The female
Gall-fly is furnished with an ovipositor in the shape of a very fine
curved needle, with which she punctures the tender bark of an oak shoot,
lodging an egg in the perforation. Stimulated by some fluid, probably,
which is poured into the wound at the same time, the sap forms a
peculiar tissue around the egg, swelling into a large ball, on which the
young grub begins to feed eagerly, and in which it finds the only
nutriment on which it could subsist.

Now, if we had found the egg of a Gall-fly newly created, we should
certainly have found it in a gall; and the gall would have afforded us
indubitable evidence of the wounding of the vegetable tissues, and of
the organ, secretion, and instinct of the tiny fly by which the process
had been effected. The evidence would be irresistible, but of course it
would be fallacious.

Let us now look at a few examples in which the egg is found in
invariable association not merely with something that the parent has
found for it, but with something that has proceeded from her, a part of

Of this nature are the eggs of that beautiful, but most cacodious,
lace-winged fly, _Chrysopa perla_. If you had seen one of these (or
more) at the instant of its creation, you would have seen a tiny oval
body placed at the extremity of an elastic footstalk half-an-inch in
length, and as fine as a hair, standing erect from the surface of a
leaf. This thread is composed of a gummy secretion, evolved in a gland
attached to the oviduct of the female Lace-fly. When she deposits an
egg, she first exudes a drop of this gum on the surface of a leaf, and
then, elevating her abdomen, the viscid substance is drawn out in a
thread, which presently hardening in the air, the egg is left at the tip
of the filament. An experienced entomologist, on seeing this object,
would have no hesitation in declaring the origin of the footstalk to be
the gum-gland of the female _Chrysopa_; and yet he would certainly have
drawn a false inference in the case that I am supposing.

[Illustration: LACE-FLY AND EGGS.]

Many Spiders enclose their eggs in an envelope, the produce of their own
bowels. Take an interesting example, as narrated by the eloquent Mr.
Kirby. "There is a Spider common under clods of earth (_Lycosa
saccata_), which may at once be distinguished by a white globular silken
bag, about the size of a pea, in which she has deposited her eggs,
attached to the extremity of her body. Never miser clung to his treasure
with more tenacious solicitude than this spider to her bag. Though
apparently a considerable incumbrance, she carries it with her
everywhere. If you deprive her of it, she makes the most strenuous
efforts for its recovery; and no personal danger can force her to quit
the precious load. Are her efforts ineffectual? a stupefying melancholy
seems to seize her; and, when deprived of this first object of her
cares, existence itself appears to have lost its charms. If she succeeds
in regaining her bag, or you restore it to her, her actions demonstrate
the excess of her joy. She eagerly seizes it, and with the utmost
agility runs off with it to a place of security.

"The attachment of this affectionate mother is not confined to her eggs.
After the young spiders are hatched, they make their way out of the bag
by an orifice which she is careful to open for them, and without which
they could never escape; and then, like the young of the Surinam toad
(_Rana pipa_), they attach themselves in clusters upon her back, belly,
head, and even legs; and in this situation, where they present a very
singular appearance, she carries them about with her, and feeds them
until their first moult, when they are big enough to provide their own

I waive the argument derived from the fact of the apparent necessity of
the mother's care for the new-born young. But the mother's care is
indispensable to the appearance of the young at all; not only because
the eggs are the produce of her ovary, but also because the envelope
which protects them is the produce of her spinning-glands.

There is a furry moth, by no means uncommon, known to collectors as the
Gipsy (_Hypogymna dispar_), the eggs of which require to be protected by
an elaborate covering, either from extremes of temperature, from light,
or from certain electric conditions of the atmosphere. The protection is
afforded at the expense of the hair which clothed the mother herself.
Her ovipositor is furnished with a pair of nippers, by means of which
she plucks off her own hairs, and makes with them a flat cushion on the
surface of a leaf. On this she deposits her eggs in successive layers;
and when the full number is laid, she covers them with a roof of hair,
slanting downwards and outwards from an apex, so artfully arranged, like
the thatch of a cottage, as effectually to throw off water; each layer
of hairs overlapping the preceding, and all preserving the same
direction, so that, when finished, the work resembles a smooth and well
brushed piece of fur.

If, then, a patch of eggs newly-created had been subjected to our
inspection, we should have found them snugly protected by their conical
roof of thatch; and when we came to examine the thatch microscopically,
we should have found it composed of the hairs of _Hypogymna_. And thus
again we should have an indubitable and yet deceptive record of a
preceding existence.

The numerous species of the genus _Coccus_, to which we are indebted for
cochineal, lac, and other products valuable in commerce, afford me an
illustration of my argument, more striking than any of the above. In the
case of the lac insect (_C. lacca_), for example, the female resembles a
little hemispherical scale on the twig of a tree. At a certain period
of her life, a pellucid, glutinous substance begins to exude from the
margins of her body, which by and by completely covers it, cementing her
firmly to the branch, from which she never afterwards moves. She now
proceeds to lay her eggs, which one by one as they are extruded are
thrust under her, between her abdomen and the surface of the branch. The
result of this is, that when the whole are laid, they occupy pretty
nearly the same position in relation to the mother as they did before,
with this exception, that the abdominal integuments, which before were
beneath them, are now above them, and are in close contact with those of
the back, so that both together make a double, but still a thin, arched
roof over the heap of eggs, which are thus protected till the hatching
of the young, when they eat their way out of their long dead mother.

Let me now make my usual application. You say the _Coccus_ was created
not an adult insect, which would involve the prochronic stages of its
metamorphosis, but as a germ, that is an egg (for the germ of an insect
is an egg, and nothing else): well, here is a batch of Coccus-eggs just
created, covered with the scaly roof which is necessary to their
existence. But this scale is not a record of the mother, but the mother
herself, _a prochronic mother_, of course!

Other genera of this wonderful class of animals yield us evidences of a
somewhat different character, in the structures which the parents form
for the reception of their eggs.

One of the most complex and elaborate pieces of mechanism found in any
animal organ is the ovipositor of the Sawflies (_Tenthredinidæ_). I
cannot here describe it at length; it may suffice to say that it
consists of two saw-plates, working separately and in opposite
directions, the teeth of which are cut into finer teeth; and two
supporting plates, very similar to the saws in shape and appearance. The
whole flat side of the saw is, moreover, covered with minute sharp
points, which give the action of a rasp to the instrument, in addition
to that of saw.

By means of this complicated apparatus the parent fly cuts a groove in
the twig of the proper shrub, say, a rose-bush. When it is made, the
plates are slightly separated, and an egg is laid in the groove. The saw
is now withdrawn, and a frothy secretion is deposited, which appears to
be intended, by its hardening, to prevent the growth of the wood from
closing upon the egg, before the time of hatching arrives.

If, then, any of the species of _Tenthredo_ had been called into primal
existence as an egg, it must have been within such a groove as this; and
the groove, if carefully examined, would have presented evidences of
having been formed and filled by the curious implement of the parent

Those obscure and obscene Insects, the Cockroach tribe (_Blattadæ_),
secrete an extraordinary covering for the protection of their eggs.
"Instead of being laid separately, the eggs are, when deposited,
enclosed in a horny case, or capsule, variable in its form in different
species but generally of a more or less compressed oval shape,
resembling a small bean. There is a longitudinal slit in the margin of
the capsule, each side of which is defended by a narrow serrated plate,
fitting closely to its fellow. The inside of this egg-case is divided
into two spaces, in each of which is a row of separate compartments,
every one enclosing an egg, so that the whole resembles the pod of some
leguminous vegetable. This capsule, with its precious contents, is
constantly carried about by the female for a week or a fortnight, and is
then fastened, by means of a glutinous fluid, in some safe locality.
The slit of the capsule is strongly coated with cement, so as to be even
stronger than the other parts. In this capsule the young larvæ are
hatched, and immediately discharge a fluid which softens the cement, and
enables them to push open the slit, through which they escape; after
their exit the slit shuts again so closely, that it appears as entire as
before. In some species it would seem that the females themselves
liberate their offspring by seizing the capsule when the larvæ are fit
for escape, and tearing it with the aid of their forelegs from end to
end, by which means the enclosed larvæ are set at liberty."[95]

It is impossible to read this description without being reminded of the
manner in which the bean or other leguminous seed links itself with a
former generation by means of the dehiscent legume, itself a production
of the parent plant. And the same reasoning applies to this case, as to
the other;--the egg, if the _Blatta_ was created in that stage, would
triumphantly show in the pod with which it was covered, a record of past

So, once more, with the immense tribes of solitary Bees, Wasps, and
Spheges. I shall mention but one example, from my own experience. It is
the Dirt Dauber (_Pelopoeus flavipes_) of North America. The female of
this elegant fly, when about to lay her eggs, builds up a tubular nest
of cells with fine mud, which she makes by mingling and kneading
road-dust with her saliva. Each tube consists of several cells,
separated by transverse partitions of the mortar; and in each, before
she closes it up, she lays a single egg, which she then covers with
spiders which are to constitute the food of the grub when hatched, and
to last it during the whole period of its larval growth. Dead spiders
would not do, for their bodies would either dry up, or become putrescent
long before the young grub could devour them. On the other hand, if a
number of these fierce and carnivorous creatures were immured, in
health, they would soon destroy one another. To obviate this, the
parent-fly ingeniously stings every spider just sufficiently to
paralyse, without killing it. Thus nearly a score of living spiders are
packed away in a cell scarcely larger than a lady's thimble; and thus
they remain fresh and succulent food for the larva, not only till it is
ready to begin its eating task, but even to the close of its repast.

I think this a particularly instructive example. The _Pelopoeus_ was
indubitably created; for it exists. As indubitably it was created in
some stage of its cyclical life-history. If as an imago, then I press
the argument from the necessity of its previous metamorphoses. If as a
pupa, or a larva, or an egg, each of these conditions of life was
entirely passed as an inmate of the mud-walled cottage; which, cottage
was built and stocked with food by the industry and skill of the
parent-fly. The grub could not have lived without the stored spiders;
the spiders could not have been stored (_normally_) without the agency
of the fly.

In some other instances the connexion between germ and parent is patent
to the eye. The beautiful Star-fish, _Cribella_, passes through all its
infant metamorphoses, changing from an ovum to an Infusory, thence to a
Pluteus (or what is analogous to it), thence to a Star-fish, all in the
marsupium provided for the occasion, by the drawing together of the arms
of the patient mother. The female _Brachionus_ carries its deposited
eggs attached to the hinder part of its body; and thus we can trace,
through their transparent coats, the gradual development of the organs
of the embryo,--the coloured eye, the rotatory cilia, the complex
mastax,--and even detect the vigorous movements of these and other
parts, while yet carried hither and thither by the parent.


But further, in the class from which I have taken this last
illustration--that of the ROTIFERA--there are examples of viviparous
genera; and these, because of the perfect transparency of all the
integuments, are peculiarly instructive and germane to my argument.

In _Rotifer macrurus_ the ovary with its germinal vesicles is distinctly
seen occupying one side of the animal. From this one of the vesicles
enlarges, until it becomes a long-oval translucent sac, nearly filling
the whole left side of the visceral cavity. A kind of spasmodic movement
is suddenly observed in this oblong ovum, and instantly we see, in its
place, a well-developed living young; as distinctly visible as if it
were excluded. It lies in a bent position, with its foot upturned; is
nearly half the length of the parent; is furnished with a proboscis,
with a pair of crimson eyes, with ciliary wheels, with a mastax whose
toothed hemispheres frequently work vigorously, and with all the viscera
proper to the species.


_a._ _Unborn young._]

In the beautiful, comparatively large, and economically singular genus,
_Asplanchna_, the same process of development can be watched with
perfect facility through every stage.

In the body of the female parent, as transparent as the clearest glass,
the band-like ovary is seen floating in the visceral cavity, with
several ova in various degrees of advancement. We trace one of these
till it becomes a manifestly living young in the ovisac, lying along at
the bottom of the parental cavity, more than one-third of whose volume
is occupied by it:--supposing it to be a female infant. All its
organs,--the eyes, the jaws, the stomach, the pancreatic glands, _the
ovary with its nuclei_, the muscles, the rotatory cilia, &c. can be
traced with the utmost distinctness long before birth, and its motions
are strong and voluntary.

Neither in this case, nor in that of _Rotifer_, does the young animal
pass through any metamorphosis; the unborn young has the full
development of the parent, in every respect but size. In each case, the
_visible_ life-history of the individual commences not at birth, but at
a period long antecedent, if indeed it can be said to commence at all,
where we see it gradually developed from a nucleus, which was an
integral part of the parental ovary, _even before that parent's birth_.

In the case of the amusing little Water-fleas (_Daphnia_), we have
another example of viviparous generation, which, owing to the same cause
as in the ROTIFERA,--the transparency of the integument, can be followed
through all its stages by the eye of the observer. The eggs of this
little Crustacean are deposited in a special chamber within the valves
of the parent, where they are hatched. The young remain in their
receptacle for a period, which varies according to the temperature, but
long enough for them to undergo important changes in structure, and to
pass their first moult.[96]

Here, again, it is impossible to select a condition which does not take
hold of a pre-existence; for the youngest independent stage is dependent
on earlier stages; and these are passed in visible connexion with the

It is true there is in this genus, another mode of reproduction, by
means of eggs which are thrown off enveloped in an organic covering,
called the ephippium. If this condition be selected for the argument of
my supposed opponent, I reply that it amounts to nearly the same thing;
only the case will then come into the category of those animals whose
earliest stages are protected by coverings formed from the body of the
parent,--like the _Hypogymna_, and the Cockroach, already alluded to.

Where then, in these species, can we possibly select a stage of life,
which is not inseparably and even visibly connected with a previous

If we come to the vertebrate creatures, the argument becomes assuredly
not less convincing. The formidable Shark, which we considered as a
well-toothed adult ready for slaughter, let us suppose to have been
created in the harmlessness of infancy. It is a slender thing, some ten
or twelve inches long, bent upon itself, inclosing in the ring thus
made, the vitellus or yelk-bag, the contents of which are in process of
being absorbed into the abdomen. But the whole,--Shark, yelk-bag, and
all--is imprisoned in a brown horny capsule, that looks like a
pillow-case, with long tapes appended to the four corners.

This very peculiar protecting capsule points clearly to a peculiar
structure in the parent. The embryo was not inclosed in the pillow-case,
at its first formation; but, in the course of its descent from the ovary
through the oviduct, it had to pass a region of the latter, where was a
thick glandular mass,--the nidamental gland,--whose office it was to
secrete a dense layer of albumen, with which, the embryo became
invested. This substance took the form of the flattened purse, or
pillow-case, with produced angles, above described, and on its exclusion
from the duct assumed a very tough horny consistence, and a dark
mahogany colour.

The comparative anatomist would, therefore, without the least
hesitation, refer the origin of the investing capsule to the nidamental
glands of the female Shark; but supposing the embryo to be but just
created, his physiological science would only lead him to a false

If the Tree-frog afforded us evidence of pre-existent time, in the
metamorphosis which it must naturally have experienced from the tadpole
to the reptilian condition, what shall we say to that strange and
uncouth member of the same class,--the Surinam Toad (_Pipa_)? Little
would be gained by selecting the germ-stage, as the presumed epoch of
creation in this case; for, according to the extraordinary economy of
this genus, the male acts as midwife, and the female as wet-nurse, to
the hopeful progeny.

"As fast as the female deposits her eggs, the male who attends her
arranges them on her broad back, to the number of fifty or upwards. The
contact of these eggs with the skin appears to produce a sort of
inflammation; the skin of the back swells, and becomes covered with pits
or cells, which enclose each a single egg, the surface of the back
resembling the closed cells of a honeycomb. The female now betakes
herself to the water; and in these cells the eggs are not only hatched,
but the tadpoles undergo their metamorphosis, emerging in a perfect
condition, though very small, after a lapse of _eighty-two days_ from
the time in which the eggs were placed in their respective pits."

To a tyro in animal physiology it might seem that the smooth rounded egg
of a bird or a lizard, presents an example of an organism in the
simplest possible condition, and in a stage which, if any can be, is
independent of anything that went before.

But is it so? Let us see. Here is the egg of the common Fowl. I take it
in my hand, and perceive nothing but an uniform, smooth, hard, white
surface. This I break, and find that it is a thin layer of calcareous
substance, which, on microscopical examination, proves to be composed of
minute polygonal particles, so agglutinated as to leave open spaces in
the interstices of their contiguous angles.

Below this calcareous shell I find a membrane (_membrana putaminis_),
which seems, from its thinness in most parts, to be single, but which is
separated into two layers at the large end of the egg.

[Illustration: HEN'S EGG.]

Within this membrane there is another (_the chalaza_) which, closely
enveloping the yelk, passes off from it towards each extremity of the
egg in the form of a twisted cord.

Then comes a delicate membrane (_memb. vitelli_) in close contact with,
and enveloping the orange-coloured yelk; which latter carries, on one
point of its globular surface, the thin _blastoderm_, or germinal

The yelk-globe, fastened by its twisted _chalazæ_, is suspended in a
glairy fluid (albumen), which fills the space between it and the
_membrana putaminis_. This fluid, though apparently homogeneous, is
really composed of many layers, and the innermost of these it is which
is condensed into the _chalaza_.

Such, then, is the complex structure of this apparently simple object.
What light can it throw on our inquiry?

Each of these component parts bears witness to a succession of past
periods. The yelk with its germ was first formed, escaping naked, or
clothed only with its own excessively delicate membrane, from its ovisac
into the oviduct. Through the course of this tube it now slowly
descended, receiving successive investments as it proceeded. The albumen
was deposited layer upon layer from the mucous membrane of the upper
part of the oviduct; the first depositions condensing into the
_chalaza_. By and by it came down to a region of the oviduct where a
tenacious secretion was poured out, which, investing the albumen, soon
hardened into a substance resembling thin parchment, and formed the
_membrana putaminis_; two successive layers of this were deposited,
between which a bubble of gas, chiefly composed of oxygen generated in
the interval, was inclosed. Then it descended still farther, to a part
where the lining membrane of the duct was endowed with the power of
secreting calcareous matter, which, as above stated, was deposited in a
thin layer of polygonal atoms. And now, having received all its
components, and having arrived at the orifice of the duct, the egg was

Here, then, there is abundant evidence of successive processes, which
must have preceded the existence of this complete and perfect egg. But
there is yet one more evidence which I have reserved to the last,
because it is peculiarly distinct and palpable, even to the senses.

The _chalaza_, we see, is twisted at each pole of the yelk-globe, until
it resembles a piece of twine: what is the meaning of this? It was, as I
observed, deposited as a loosely enveloping membrane in the upper part
of the oviduct; the yelk-globe, however, was progressively descending;
and, as it descended, _it continually revolved upon its axis_; by means
of which rotation the investing membrane was gathered at each pole into
a spirally twisted cord, stretching from the yelk to the ends of the
_membrana putaminis_. Thus it presents us with an unmistakeable record
of what took place in the earlier periods of the descent.

We saw distinct traces of the past in the structure of a feather. But
the feathers have already begun to develop before the young bird leaves
the egg. And the structure of the egg carries us back to the oviduct of
the parent-fowl.

At what stage of existence, then, could a bird, by possibility, have
been created, which did not present distinct records of prochronic

If we come to the MAMMALIA, the impossibility of finding such a stage
becomes only more and more obvious. For it is a law in physiology, that
the higher the grade of organization assigned to any being, the more it
is assisted in infancy by the parent.

"This law is remarkably exemplified in the class MAMMALIA, which
unquestionably ranks at the head of the animal kingdom, in respect to
degree of intelligence and general elevation of structure. It is the
universal and most prominent characteristic of this class, that the
young are retained within the body of the female parent, until they have
made considerable progress in their development; that, whilst there,
they derive their support almost immediately from her blood; and that
they are afterwards nourished for some time by a secretion which she

The foetus of the Kangaroo, when expelled from the womb, is scarcely
more than an inch in length. Its limbs and its tail are indeed formed,
but the imperfect creature has been compared to an earthworm, for the
colour and semi-transparency of the integument. In this condition it is
unable to find and seize the nipple, and equally unable to draw
sustenance therefrom, by its own unaided efforts. The _milk is ejected_,
by the _muscular action of the mother_, into the throat of the foetus,
and there is a peculiar and beautiful contrivance to obviate the danger
of the injected fluid's passing into the trachea instead of the

Yet, from this helpless naked condition to that of the active,
well-clothed, experienced young, able to quit the maternal pouch at
will, and flee to it for protection, there is a well-understood and
perfectly appreciable concatenation of stages, each of which looks back
to, and depends on, those previously existing. And, during the whole of
these, the mother's presence is necessary to the comfort, and, for the
greater part of them, to the very existence of the infant.

Thus, once more, there is no condition of the animal, on which we may
fix, as being so simple, as to have no retrospective history.

The umbilical cicatrix I have already alluded to; but I may be permitted
to mention it again; because, in all the higher MAMMALIA, at least, it
exists, throughout life, an eloquent witness to the organic connexion of
the individual with a mother, and therefore to her pre-existence. If it
were legitimate to suppose that the first individual of the species Man
was created in the condition answering to that of a new-born infant,
there would still be the need of maternal milk for its sustenance, and
maternal care for its protection, for a considerable period; while, if
we carry on the suggested stage to the period when this provision is no
longer indispensable, the development of hair, nails, bones, &c., will
have proceeded through many stages. And, in either condition, the navel
cord or its cicatrix remains, to testify to something anterior to both.



     "We have no experience in the creation of worlds."


We have passed, in review before us the whole organic world: and the
result is uniform; that no example can be selected from the vast
vegetable kingdom, none from the vast animal kingdom, which did not at
the instant of its creation present indubitable evidences of a previous
history. This is not put forth as a _hypothesis_, but as a _necessity_;
I do not say that it was _probably_ so, but that it was _certainly_ so;
not that it _may have been thus_, but that it _could not have been

I do not touch the inorganic world: my acquaintance with chemistry is
inadequate for this: perhaps the same law does not extend to the
inorganic elements: perhaps their developments, and combinations are
not, like the economy of plants and animals, essentially and
exclusively cyclical: perhaps carbon and oxygen and hydrogen could be
created in conditions, which obviously did not depend on any previously
existing conditions. This I do not know: I neither affirm nor deny it.
But I think I have demonstrated in these pages, that such a cyclical
character does attach to, and is inseparable from, the history of all
organic essences; and that creation can be nothing else than a series of
irruptions into circles: that, supposing the irruption to have been made
at what part of the circle we please, and varying this condition
indefinitely at will,--we cannot avoid the conclusion that each organism
was from the first marked with the records of a previous being. But
since creation and previous history are inconsistent with each other; as
the very idea of the creation of an organism excludes the idea of
pre-existence of that organism, or of any part of it; it follows, that
such records are _false_, so far as they testify to time; that the
developments and processes thus recorded have been produced without
time, or are what I have called _prochronic_.

Nor is this conclusion in the least degree affected by the actual
chronology of creation. The phenomena were equally eloquent, and equally
false, whether any individual organism were created six thousand years
ago, or innumerable ages; whether primitively, or after the successive
creations and annihilations of former organisms.

The law of creation supersedes the law of nature; so far, at least, as
the organic world is concerned. The law of nature, established by
universal experience, is, that its phenomena depend upon certain natural
antecedents: the law of creation is, that the same phenomena depend upon
_no_ antecedents. The philosopher who should infer the antecedents from
the phenomena alone, without having considered the law of creation,
would be liable to form totally false conclusions. In order to be secure
from error, he must first assure himself that creation is eliminated
from the category of facts which he is investigating; and this he could
do only when the facts come within the sphere of personal observation,
or of historic testimony. Up to such a period of antiquity as is covered
by credible history, and within such a field of observation as history
may be considered fairly cognisant of,--the inference of physical
antecedents from physical phenomena, in the animal or vegetable world,
is legitimate and true. But, beyond that period, I cannot safely deduce
the same conclusion; because I cannot tell but that at any given moment
included in my inquiry, creation may have occurred, and have been the
absolute beginning of the circular series.

The question of the actual age of any species, whether plant or animal,
is one which cannot be answered, except on historic testimony. The
sequence of cause and effect is not adequate to answer it; for a
legitimate use of this principle, supposing it the only element of the
inquiry, would inevitably lead us to the eternity of all existing
organic life.

One of the familiar street-exhibitions in the metropolis is a tiny coach
and horses of glittering metal; which, by means of simple machinery,
course round and round the margin of a circular table. Let us suppose
two youths of philosophical turn to come up during the process. They
gaze for a while, and one asks his companion the following question.

"How long do you suppose that coach has been running round?"

"How long! for an indefinite period, for aught I know. I have counted
twenty-two turns, and can see no change: nor can I suggest any point
where the course could have begun."

Here a shrewd lad, carrying a grocer's basket, breaks in.

"Oh no; there have been only six-and-twenty turns altogether. Four turns
had been made when you came up. The whole began by the man taking the
carriage out of a box; then he set it down out there, just opposite to
us, and gave it a little push with his finger, and it has been running
ever since. I saw him do it."

Now perhaps you will say that a glance at the machinery beneath the
table would show in a moment how many turns had been made, and how many
could be made. Very true: but what if the tramp had locked up his
clock-work, and would not let you look at it?

The only evidence worth a rush is that of the lad who saw the whirligig
set a-going.

I wish it to be distinctly understood, that I am not proving the exact
or approximate antiquity of the globe we inhabit. I am not attempting to
show that it has existed for no more than six thousand years. I wish
this to be distinctly stated, because I am sure I shall meet with many
opponents unfair enough, or illogical enough, to misrepresent or
misunderstand my argument, and sound the trumpet of victory, because I
cannot demonstrate _that_. _All_ I set myself to do, is to invalidate
the testimony of the witness relied on for the indefinitely remote
antiquity; to show that in a very large and important field of nature,
evidence exactly analogous to that relied on would inevitably lead to a
false conclusion, and must, therefore, be rejected, or received only
contingently; received only as indicative of probability, and that only
in the absence of any positive witness to the contrary.

Perhaps it may be objected, that there is no sufficient analogy between
the phenomena from which the past history of a single organism is
inferred, and those from which the past history of a world is inferred.
Is there not?

Permit me to repeat an illustration I have already used. The geologist
finds a fossil skeleton. His acquaintance with anatomy enables him to
pronounce that the objects found are bones. He sees cylinders, condyles,
cavities for the marrow, scars of attachment of muscles and tendons,
foramina for the passage of nerves and blood-vessels; he finds the
internal structure, no less than the form and surface, such as to leave
not a doubt that these are real _bones_. Now universal experience has
taught him that bones imply the existence of flesh; that flesh implies
blood; that blood implies life; that life implies time. He therefore
concludes unhesitatingly, that this skeleton was once alive, and that
time passed over it in that living condition.

Is not this process of reasoning exactly parallel to that which he would
have pursued if he had examined an animal the moment after its creation,
(supposing this fact to be unknown to him,) and by which he would in
like manner have inferred past time? And where is the vital difference
between the two cases, which would operate to make a conclusion which is
manifestly false in the one case, necessarily true in the other?

One of the most eminent of living botanists has set forth in striking
terms the parallelism which I am suggesting. Speaking of the _shoot_ as
the vegetable individual, and the woody trunk as a kind of
ever-accumulating ground, which supports successive generations of
shoots, he uses the following comparison.

"The history of the grand development of nature on the surface of our
globe presents an analogy, which may perhaps serve to set this relation
in a clear light. The successive geological formations superposed during
the course of countless ages, present, buried in their depths, the
traces of as many formations of the organic world, each of which
carpeted the then superior stratum of the earth with a new life, until
it found its own grave in the succeeding formation, when a new uprising
of organic life took its place. In the same way, the stem of a tree is a
multistratified ground, in whose layers the history of earlier growths
is legibly preserved. The number of the woody layers indicates the
number of the generations which have perished, _i. e._ the age of the
whole tree: a distinct annual ring is the monument of a vigorous season,
an indistinct one of a bad season, a sickly one (which is often found
among healthy ones) indicates the unhealthiness of the foliage of that
particular year. The practised woodman can decipher many facts of the
past in the layers of the trunk; _e.g._ a good season for foliage or for
seed, damage by frost or by insects, &c."[98]

In order to perfect the analogy between an organism and the world, so as
to show that the law which prevails in the one obtains also in the
other, it would be necessary to prove that the development of the
physical history of the world is circular, like that already shown to
characterise the course of organic nature. And this I cannot prove. But
neither, as I think, can the contrary be proved.

The life of _the individual_ consists of a series of processes which are
cyclical. In the tree this is shown by the successive growths and deaths
of series of leaves: in the animal by the development and exuviation of
nails, hair, epidermis, &c.

The life of _the species_ consists of a series of processes which are
cyclical. This has been sufficiently illustrated in the preceding pages,
in the successive developments and deaths of generations of individuals.

We have reason to believe that species die out, and are replaced by
other species, like the individuals which belong to the species, and the
organs which belong to the individual. But is the life of _the species_
a circle returning into itself? In other words, if we could take a
sufficiently large view of the whole plan of nature, should we discern
that the existence of species [Greek: d] necessarily involved the
pre-existence of species [Greek: g], and must inevitably be followed by
species [Greek: e]? Should we be able to trace the same sort of relation
between the tiger of Bengal and the fossil tiger of the Yorkshire caves,
between _Elephas Indicus_ and _Elephas primigenius_, as subsists
between the leaves of 1857 and the leaves of 1856; or between the oak
now flourishing in Sherwood Forest and that of Robin Hood's day, from
whose acorn it sprang?[99]

I dare not say, we should; though I think it highly probable. But I
think you will not dare to say, we should _not_.[100]

It is certain that, when the Omnipotent God proposed to create a given
organism, the course of that organism was present to his idea, as an
ever revolving circle, without beginning and without end. He created it
at some point in the circle, and gave it thus an arbitrary beginning;
but one which involved all previous rotations of the circle, though only
as ideal, or, in other phrase, prochronic. Is it not possible--I do not
ask for more--that, in like manner, the natural course of the world was
projected in his idea as a perfect whole, and that He determined to
create it at some point of that course, which act, however, should
involve previous stages, though only ideal or prochronic?

All naturalists have speculated upon the great plan of Nature; a grand
array of organic essences, in which every species should be related in
like ratio to its fellow species, by certain affinities, without gaps
and without redundancies; the whole constituting a beautiful and perfect
unity, a harmonious scheme, worthy of the infinite Mind that conceived
it. Such a perfect plan has never been presented by any existing fauna
or flora; nor is it made up by uniting the fossil faunas and floras to
the recent ones; _yet the discovery of the fossil world has made a very
signal approach to the filling up of the great outline_; and the more
minutely this has been investigated, the more have hiatuses been
bridged over, which before yawned between species and species, and
links of connexion have been supplied which before were lacking.[101]

It is not necessary,--at least it does not seem so to me,--that all the
members of this mighty commonwealth should have an actual, a diachronic
existence; anymore than that, in the creation of a man, his foetal,
infantile, and adolescent stages should have an actual, diachronic
existence, though these are essential to his normal life-history. Nor
would their diachronism be more certainly inferrible from the physical
traces of them, in the one case than in the other. In the newly-created
Man, the proofs of successive processes requiring time, in the skin,
hairs, nails, bones, &c. could in no respect be distinguished from the
like proofs in a Man of to-day; yet the developments to which they
respectively testify are widely different from each other, so far as
regards the element of time. Who will say that the suggestion, _that the
strata of the surface of the earth, with their fossil floras and faunas,
may possibly belong to a prochronic development of the mighty plan of
the life-history of this world_,--who will dare to say that such a
suggestion is a self-evident absurdity? If we had no example of such a
procedure, we might be justified in dealing cavalierly with the
hypothesis; but it has been shown that, without a solitary exception,
the whole of the vast vegetable and animal kingdoms were created,--mark!
I do not say _may_ have been, but MUST have been created--on this
principle of a prochronic development, with distinctly traceable
records. It was _the law of organic creation_.

It may be objected, that, to assume the world to have been created with
fossil skeletons in its crust,--skeletons of animals that never really
existed,--is to charge the Creator with forming objects whose sole
purpose was to deceive us. The reply is obvious. Were the concentric
timber-rings of a created tree formed merely to deceive? Were the growth
lines of a created shell intended to deceive? Was the navel of the
created Man intended to deceive him into the persuasion that he had had
a parent?[102]

These peculiarities of structure were inseparable from the adult stage
of these creatures respectively, without which they would not have been
what they were. The Locust-tree could not have been an adult _Hymenæa_,
without concentric rings;--nay, it could not have been an exogenous tree
at all. The _Dione_ could not have been a _Dione_ without those
foliations and spines that form its generic character. The Man would not
have been a Man without a navel.

To the physiologist this is obvious; but some unscientific reader may
say, Could not God have created plants and animals without these
retrospective marks? I distinctly reply, No! not so as to preserve their
specific identity with those with which we are familiar. A Tree-fern
without scars on the trunk! A Palm without leaf-bases! A Bean without a
hilum! A Tortoise without laminæ on its plates! A Carp without
concentric lines on its scales! A Bird without feathers! A Mammal
without hairs, or claws, or teeth, or bones, or blood! A Foetus
without a placenta! I have indeed written the preceding pages in vain,
if I have not demonstrated, in a multitude of examples, the absolute
necessity of retrospective phenomena in newly-created organisms. But if
it can be undeniably shown in one single example, our failure to
perceive it in ninety-nine other instances would in nowise invalidate
the deduction from that one. Granted that you can triumphantly convict
me of a _non-sequitur_, in ninety-nine out of every hundred of the cases
in which I have attempted to show this connexion; still, if I have
conclusively proved that in one solitary instance an animal or a plant
was created with but one solitary evidence of pre-development, the
principle for which I contend is established.

I trust, however, it does not rest on one example, nor on twenty, nor on
a hundred. It may be thought that I have multiplied my illustrations
needlessly: ten times as many might have been given. I wished to show
that the proof is of a cumulative character: a single good example
would, indeed, have established the principle; but I wished to show how
widely applicable it is; that it is, indeed, of universal application in
the organic kingdoms.

If, then, the existence of retrospective marks, visible and tangible
proofs of processes which were prochronic, was so necessary to organic
essences, that they could not have been created without them,--is it
absurd to suggest the _possibility_ (I do no more) that the world itself
was created under the influence of the same law, with visible tangible
proofs of developments and processes, which yet were only prochronic?

Admit for a moment, as a hypothesis, that the Creator had before his
mind a projection of the whole life-history of the globe, commencing
with any point which the geologist may imagine to have been a fit
commencing point, and ending with some unimaginable acme in the
indefinitely distant future. He determines to call this idea into actual
existence, not at the supposed commencing point, but at some stage or
other of its course.[103] It is clear, then, that at the selected stage
it appears, exactly as it would have appeared at that moment of its
history, if all the preceding eras of its history had been real. Just as
the new-created Man was, at the first moment of his existence, a man of
twenty, or five-and-twenty, or thirty years old; physically, palpably,
visibly, so old, though not really, not diachronically. He appeared
precisely what he would have appeared had he lived so many years.

Let us suppose that this present year 1857 had been the particular epoch
in the projected life-history of the world, which the Creator selected
as the era of its actual beginning. At his fiat it appears; but in what
condition? Its actual condition at this moment:--whatever is now
existent would appear, precisely as it does appear. There would be
cities filled with swarms of men; there would be houses half-built;
castles fallen into ruins; pictures on artists' easels just sketched in;
wardrobes filled with half-worn garments; ships sailing over the sea;
marks of birds' footsteps on the mud; skeletons whitening the desert
sands; human bodies in every stage of decay in the burial-grounds. These
and millions of other traces of the past would be found, _because they
are found in the world now_; they belong to the present age of the
world; and if it had pleased God to call into existence this globe at
_this_ epoch of its life-history, the whole of which lay like a map
before his infinite mind, it would certainly have presented all these
phenomena; not to puzzle the philosopher, but because they are
inseparable from the condition of the world at the selected moment of
irruption into its history; because they constitute its condition; they
make it what it is.

Hence the minuteness and undeniableness of the proofs of life which
geologists rely on so confidently, and present with such justifiable
triumph, do not in the least militate against my principle. The marks of
Hyænas' teeth on the bones of Kirkdale cave; the infant skeletons
associated with adult skeletons of the same species; the abundance of
coprolites; the foot-tracks of Birds and Reptiles; the glacier-scratches
on rocks; and hundreds of other beautiful and most irresistible
evidences of pre-existence, I do not wish to undervalue, nor to explain
away. On the hypothesis that the actual commencing point of the world's
history was subsequent to the occurrence of such things in the perfect
ideal whole, these phenomena would appear precisely as if the facts
themselves had been diachronic, instead of prochronic, as was really the

Perhaps some one will say, "All this might be tenable, supposing the
world were an organism. Your argument goes to show that organic essences
in every stage of their existence present proofs of pre-existence; but
what analogy is there between the lifeless inorganic globe (in which
evidences of past processes are apparent, independent of the fossil
organisms), and a living organic being,--plant or animal?"

I answer, The point in the economy of the organic creatures, on which
their prochronism rests, is not the organic, but the circular condition
of their being. The problem, then, to be solved, before we can certainly
determine the question of analogy between the globe and the organism, is
this:--Is the life-history of the globe a cycle? If it is (and there are
many reasons why this is probable), then I am sure prochronism must
have been evident at its creation, since there is no point in a circle
which does not imply previous points. At all events, geologists cannot
prove that it is not.

Wherever we can discern a cyclical condition, there the law of which I
am treating must hold good; and it certainly obtains in other things
beside organisms. When the inorganic crust of the globe was first cleft
to contain rivers, whence came the water that flowed through the
fissures? A river is the produce of rivulets, which issue from mountain
springs; these originate in the water that percolates through the soil;
and this is derived from the rains, and snows, and dews, that are
deposited from the atmosphere. But there would be no deposition from the
atmosphere if the water had not first been carried up by evaporation;
and the vaporable fluid is obtained from the moistened soil; from the
lakes and rivers; and from the seas and oceans, whose loss is
perpetually recruited from the flowing rivers. Here, then, we get a
circle closely analogous to that of organic being. Was a given drop of
water created as a component particle of a running stream? Its position
and condition looked back to the mountain spring whence it must
naturally have issued. Was it called into being in the spring? It
looked up to the surface, whence it must have oozed. Was it formed on
the surface? It looked to the clouds, whence it must have dropped. Was
it created in the cloud? It looked down to the surface of the lake or
sea, whence it must have been raised. Was it created in the lake? It
looked to the river, whence it must have flowed.

The chief pelagic currents, which have hitherto so often been the
destruction of the navigator, but which may yet become his able and
subject servants, flow in circular systems. There is such an one in the
southern part of the Indian Ocean, known as the Hurricane Region;
another immense one ever running round and round the North Pacific; and,
above all, that wondrous river of hot water--a river whose well-marked
banks are not solid earth, but cold water--the Gulf Stream.

"The fruit of trees belonging to the torrid zone of America is annually
cast ashore on the western coasts of Ireland and Norway. Pennant
observes that the seeds of plants which grow in Jamaica, Cuba, and the
adjacent countries, are collected on the shores of the Hebrides. Thither
also barrels of French wine, the remains of vessels wrecked in the West
Indian seas, have been carried. In 1809 His Majesty's ship _Little
Belt_ was dismasted at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and her bowsprit was found,
eighteen months after, in the Basque Roads. The mainmast of the
_Tilbury_, buried off Hispaniola in the Seven Years' war, was brought to
our shores."[105]

These facts are dependent on the eastward set of this majestic current;
and so is another great physical fact of immeasurable importance to
us;--the superiority in temperature of the western shores of Europe over
the eastern shores of North America. The harbour of St. John's,
Newfoundland, is frequently fast closed by ice in the month of June; yet
the latitude of St. John's is considerably south of that of the port of
Brest, in France.

Impelled by the rotatory motion of the earth, and by the
trade-wind,[106] the equatorial waters of the Atlantic are ever urged, a
broad and rapid river, into the Caribbean sea, and the Gulf of Mexico,
the narrowing shores of which compress the stream as in a funnel. The
Andes here present a slender but impregnable barrier to its further
progress westward; and the trend of the Isthmus turns it to the
northward. Still finding no outlet, the impatient current, like a
wild-beast pacing round its cage, courses the Gulf of Mexico, doubles
the peninsula of Florida, and pursues its way first to the north-east,
and then to the east, crossing the Atlantic in a retrograde direction,
until it laves with its warm billows the coasts of Europe. Here it turns
to the southward, and after embracing the "Fortunate" isles that lie off
the African shores,--the Azores, the Madeiras, and the Canaries,--it
joins the great equatorial set beneath the trade-wind, and returns on
its westward course.

This mighty circulation of water must have been going on from the
instant that the earth commenced rotating on its axis, or (granting this
to have been chronologically subsequent) from the instant the Atlantic
occupied its present bed. Whether sooner or later, it commenced at
_some_ instant; but at that instant all the previous elements of the
circle were presupposed, and a boundless succession of former circles.
An intelligent stranger, looking on the movement immediately after its
commencement, but ignorant of its origin, would not be able to assign
any limit to its past duration. From his observation of the velocity of
the current in different parts of the circle, he would say with
confidence,--"These identical particles of water, which I see now urged
on their ceaseless course towards the middle of the North Atlantic,
were, yesterday morning at this hour, in the latitude of the mouth of
the Chesapeake; on the morning before, off Cape Hatteras, on the morning
before that, off Cape Lookout;" and so backwards interminably.

Whether the economy of the globe is circular, or not, I am not in a
position to show. But its movements certainly are; and so are the
movements of all the myriad worlds with which astronomy is conversant.
Asteroids, planets, satellites, comets, suns,--nay, even the stellar
universe itself--obey _in their motions_, the grand universal law of
circularity. Take any one of these;--our Moon. When its orbital motion
commenced, it commenced at some point or other of the circle which it
describes in its course around the earth. The pre-existence, or at least
the co-existence, of the Earth, and also that of the Sun, are necessary
to its motion. Supposing it possible for a spectator, furnished with
modern astronomical knowledge, to have looked at that instant on the
newly-spun orb, would he not confidently have inferred, from its
position at that moment, its position a week before? Would he not have
felt able to indicate with unhesitating certainty the solar and lunar
eclipses of a century or a chiliad before, just as he now calculates the
time of the eclipse that marked the death of Herod the Great?
Undoubtedly he would; for he would assume the constancy of those
movements which modern science has deduced from the observations of many
centuries; and, granting him the fact of their constancy, we could not
invalidate his conclusions. Yet _what_ would he have shown? The
conditions and phenomena of bodies before they had begun to exist. The
conditions are legitimately deducible; but they are prochronic

The mention of the celestial orbs suggests to remembrance the famous
argument for the vast antiquity of the material universe, founded on the
time which is required for the propulsion of light. I believe it owes
its origin to Sir William Herschel.

Speaking of the known velocity of light in connexion with the immense
distance of certain nebulæ, that eminent astronomer made these

"Hence it follows, that, when we... see an object of the calculated
distance at which one of these very remote nebulæ may still be
perceived... the rays of light which convey its image to the eye must
have been more than nineteen hundred and ten thousand, that is, almost
_two millions_, of years on their way; and that, consequently, so many
years ago, this object must already have had an existence in the
sidereal heavens, in order to send out those rays by which we now
perceive it."[107]

The notion has been amplified, with some interesting details, by a
writer in the _Scottish Congregational Magazine_ for _January 1847_; who
thus throws the statements into a tabular form, and comments on them.

     "From the Moon, light comes to the earth in 1-1/4 second
       "    the Sun         "          "      in 8 minutes
       "    Jupiter         "          "      in 52  "
       "    Uranus          "          "      in 2 hours
       " a fixed Star of 1st magnitude -- 3 to 12 years
       "        "        2d      "             20   "
       "        "        3d      "             30   "
       "        "        4th     "             45   "
       "        "        5th     "             66   "
       "        "        6th     "             96   "
       "        "        7th     "            180   "
       "        "       12th     "           4000   "

"Now, as we see objects by the rays of light passing from those objects
to our eye, it follows that we do not perceive the heavenly bodies, _as
they are_ at the moment of our seeing them, but _as they were_ at the
time the rays of light by which we see them left those bodies. Thus when
we look at the moon, we see her, not as she is at the moment of our
beholding her disc, but as she was a second and a quarter before; for
instance, we see her not at the moment of her rising above the horizon,
but 1-1/4 second after she has risen. The sun also when he appears to us
to have just passed the meridian, has already passed it by 8 minutes.
So, in like manner, of the planets and the fixed stars. We see Jupiter,
not as he is at the moment of our catching a sight of him, but as he was
52 minutes before. Uranus appears to us, not as he is at the moment of
our discovering him, but as he was 2 hours previously. And a star of the
12th magnitude presents itself to our eye as it was 4,000 years ago: so
that, suppose such a star to have been annihilated 3,000 years back, it
would still be visible on the earth's surface for 1,000 years to come:
or, suppose a star of the same magnitude had been created at the time
the Israelites left Egypt, it will not be perceptible on the earth for
nearly 700 years from this date."

Beautiful, and at first sight unanswerable as this argument is, it
falls to the ground before the spear-touch of our Ithuriel, the doctrine
of prochronism. There is nothing more improbable in the notion that the
sensible undulation was created at the observer's eye, with all the
pre-requisite undulations prochronic, than in the notion that blood was
created in the capillaries of the first human body. The latter we have
seen to be a fact: is the former an impossibility?

It may perhaps be said:--"The traces of prochronism you have adduced in
created organisms may be granted, because they are inseparable from the
presumed condition of those organisms respectively. The blood in the
vessels, the hair, the teeth, the nails, may afford evidences of past
processes; but then those are only past stages of what yet exists. The
case, however, is not parallel with the fossil skeletons, many of which
have no connexion with anything now existing. The concentric rings of a
timber-tree are essential to its adult state; but how is the existence
of the _Pterodactyle_ or the _Megatherium_ essential to that of the
recent _Draco volans_, or the South American Sloth? Can you show in the
new-formed creature any trace of some organ which does not come into its
present condition of being,--of something which has quite passed away?"

Perhaps I can. The very concentric rings of the tree are considered by
botanists as, in some sense, dead. The paradoxical dictum of
Schleiden,--"No tree has leaves,"[108]--is grounded on this
circumstance, that the woody portion of the mass is the inert result of
former generations, and that the present race of leaves is growing, not
out of the woody portion of the tree, but out of its herbaceous
extremities, "which grow upon the woody stem _as upon a ground_, formed
by the process of vegetation. This common ground, namely, the woody
stem, _which is almost lifeless_ in comparison with the herbaceous parts
engaged in active growth, is annually covered with a vigorous sheath
under the protecting bark; and this sheath is the ground of the
nourishment of all the vegetating herbaceous extremities."[109]

The polygonal plates into which the bark of the _Testudinaria_ divides,
not only show many superposed laminæ, at any given moment of its adult
condition, but also bear witness, in the broad existent surface of each
one, to former laminæ, yet older than the oldest now present, which have
disintegrated and dropped off.

The Palm and the Tree-fern show, in their trunk-scars, evidences of
organs which have completely died away and disappeared; while, between
these scars and the generation of living fronds, there is, at any given
moment of the tree's history, a series of fronds which are quite dead
and dry, but which have not yet disappeared.

The _Nerita_, a genus of beautiful shells from the tropical seas,
dissolves away and removes, in the progress of growth, the spiral
column, which originally formed the axis of development; so that, in
adult age, the spiral direction of the whole testifies to the past
existence of a column which has quite disappeared.

In that species of _Murex_,[110] which, on account of the long and
slender rostellum, and the spines with which it is covered, is known to
collectors as the Thorny Woodcock (_M. tenuispina_), the shelly spines
of the earlier whorls would interfere with such as came, in process of
development, to be superposed on them; for they cross the area which is
to be the cavity enclosed by the advancing lip. They are, however,
removed by absorption; but not so completely but that traces may still
be discovered where they formerly existed: evidences of the quondam
existence of what exists no longer.

Towards one side of the upper surface of the pretty Star-fish, _Cribella
rosea_, (as in many other species of Star-fishes,) there is a curious
little mark, known as the _madreporic plate_, the use of which has
greatly puzzled naturalists. Sars, the Norwegian zoologist, has unveiled
the mystery.[111] The young larva, before it assumes the stellar form,
is furnished with a sort of thick column, divided into four diverging
clubbed arms, which are adhering organs, ancillary to locomotion. In the
process of development, however, new locomotive organs are formed; and
this four-fold column, being no longer needed, sloughs away; and that so
completely, that not a trace of its existence remains, _except this
scar_, or "_madreporic plate_;" which is therefore a permanent record of
something that has quite passed away.

But the closest parallel to the relation borne by the skeleton of an
extinct species to an extant one, is presented by that of the hilum to a
seed, or of the umbilicus to a mammal. Each of these is a legible and
undeniable, record of a being, whose individuality was totally distinct
from that of the being by which it is presented, and of which all
vestiges have disappeared, _save this record_. Nor is the parallel
founded on obscure or rare examples; both the umbilicus and the hilum
are generally conspicuous; and both are extensively found in their
respective kingdoms, the former pervading the viviparous Vertebrata, the
latter characterising the whole of the cotyledonous types of vegetation.

Once more. An objection may arise to the reception of the prochronic
principle, on the ground that the examples I have adduced are not to be
compared, in point of grandeur, with the mighty revolutions, which are
presumed to have written their records in the crust of the globe; and
that hence no analogy can be fairly drawn from one to the other. To the
philosopher, however, there is no great or small, as there is none in
the works of God. We have every reason to believe that He has wrought by
the same laws in all portions of his universe: the principle on which an
apple falls from the branch to the ground, is the same as that which
keeps the planet Neptune in the solar system. I have shown that the
principle of prochronic development obtains wherever we are able to test
it; that is, wherever another principle, that of _cyclicism_, exists;
whether the cycle be that of a gnat's metamorphosis, or of a planet's
orbit. The distinction of great or small, grand or mean, does not apply
to it. If it cannot be proved to be universal, it is only because we are
not sufficiently acquainted with some of the economies of nature to be
able to pronounce with certainty whether they are cyclical or not. I am
not aware of any natural process, in which its existence can be
absolutely denied.

And this makes all the difference in the world between my position and
that of the old simple-minded observers, with which a superficial reader
might think it to possess a good deal in common. A century ago, people
used to talk of _lusus naturæ_; of a certain _plastic power_ in nature;
of abortive or initiative attempts at making things which were never
perfected; of imitations, in one kingdom, of the proper subjects of
another, (as plants were supposed to be imitated by the frost on a
window-pane, and by the dendritic forms of metals). Still later, many
persons have been inclined to take refuge from the conclusions of
geology in the absolute sovereignty of God, asking,--"Could not the
Omnipotent Creator make the fossils in the strata, just as they now

It has always been felt to be a sufficient answer to such a demand, that
no reason could be adduced for such an exercise of mere power; and that
it would be unworthy of the Allwise God.

But this is a totally different thing from that for which I am
contending. I am endeavouring to show that a grand LAW exists, by which,
in two great departments of nature at least, the analogues of the fossil
skeletons were formed without pre-existence. An arbitrary acting, and an
acting on fixed and general laws, have nothing in common with each

Finally, the acceptance of the principles presented in this volume, even
in their fullest extent, would not, in the least degree, affect the
study of scientific geology. The character and order of the strata;
their disruptions and displacements and injections; the successive
floras and faunas; and all the other phenomena, would be _facts_ still.
They would still be, as now, legitimate subjects of examination and
inquiry. I do not know that a single conclusion, now accepted, would
need to be given up, except that of actual chronology. And even in
respect of this, it would be rather a modification than a relinquishment
of what is at present held; we might still speak of the inconceivably
long duration of the processes in question, provided we understand
_ideal_ instead of _actual_ time;--that the duration was projected in
the mind of God, and not really existent.

The zoologist would still use the fossil forms of non-existing animals,
to illustrate the mutual analogies of species and groups. His
recognition of their prochronism would in nowise interfere with his
endeavours to assign to each its position in the scale of organic being.
He would still legitimately treat it as an entity; an essential
constituent of the great Plan of Nature; because he would recognise the
Plan itself as an entity, though only an ideal entity, existing only in
the Divine Conception. He would still use the stony skeletons for the
inculcation of lessons on the skill and power of God in creation; and
would find them a rich mine of instruction, affording some examples of
the adaptation of structure to function, which are not yielded by any
extant species. Such are the elongation of the little finger in
_Pterodactylus_, for the extension of the alar membrane; and the
deflexion of the inferior incisors in _Dinotherium_, for the purposes of
digging or anchorage. And still would he find, in the fossil forms,
evidences of that complacency in beauty, which has prompted the Adorable
Workmaster to paint the rose in blushing hues, and to weave the fine
lace of the dragonfly's wing. The whorls of the _Gyroceras_, the
foliaceous or zigzag sutures of the _Ammonites_, and the radiating
pattern of _Smithia_, are not less elegant than anything of the kind in
existing creation, in which, however, they have no parallels. In short,
the readings of the "stone book" will be found not less worthy of God
who wrote them, not less worthy of man who deciphers them, if we
consider them as prochronically, than if we judge them diachronically,

[Illustration: GYROCERAS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I close my labours. How far I have succeeded in accomplishing the
task to which I bent myself, it is not for me to judge. Others will
determine that; and I am quite sure it will be determined fairly, on the
whole. To prevent misapprehension, however, it may be as well to
enunciate what the task was, which I prescribed, especially because
other (collateral, hypothetical) points have been mooted in these pages.

All, then, that I consider myself responsible for is summed up in these

I. The conclusions hitherto received have been but inferences deduced
from certain premises: the witness who reveals the premises does _not_
testify to the inferences.

II. The process of deducing the inferences has been liable to a vast
incoming of error, arising from the operation of a _Law_, proved to
exist, but hitherto unrecognised.

III. The amount of the error thus produced we have no means of knowing;
much less of eliminating it.

IV. The whole of the facts deposed to by this witness are irrelevant to
the question; and the witness is, therefore, out of court.

V. The field is left clear and undisputed for the one Witness on the
opposite side, whose testimony is as follows:--



Agave, 147.

Ammonites, appearance of, 58.
  profusion of, 65.

Amphibia, foot-prints of, 52, 56.

Anoplotherium, 69.

Antediluvian hypothesis, 9.
  untenable, 51.

Babbage, Mr., opinions of, 25.

Babiroussa, 262.

Bamboo, 134.

Banyan, 164.

Barnacle, development of, 217.

Basalt, formation of, 66, 91.

Beaches, raised, 83.

Beard, 284.

Beetle, egg of, 310.

Belemnites, 58.

Bignonia, 168.

Birds, earliest, 69.
  gigantic, 82.
  feathers of, 253.

Blackwood, opinions of, 9.

Blocks, transport of, 78.

Blood, 275, 285.

Bones, structure of, 279.

Botryllus, metamorphoses of, 222.

Brachionus, eggs of, 321.

Bracts, development of, 166.

Brown, Rev. J. M., opinions of, 9.

Bulbs, growth of, 153, 156.

Buprestis, 214.

Butterflies, eggs of, 307.

Butterfly-flower, 150.

Cabbage-palm, 144.

Carboniferous deposits, 44.

Case-flies, 209.

Cassowary, 252.

Caverns, bone, 76, 88.

Ceiba, 174.

Cephalaspis, 44.

Chalk formation, 64.

Chalmers, Dr., opinions of, 19.

Chronology of globe, 30, 339.

Circularity of organic life, 113, 336, 351.

Clavagella, 225.

Coal, age of, 50.
  extent of, 46.
  origin of, 47.

Coccus, economy of, 315.

Cockburn, Rev. Sir W., opinions of, 14.

Cockroach, egg-case of, 318.

Conybeare, Dr., opinions of, 20.

Coprolites, 60.

Coral polypes, 40, 41, 45.
  activity of, 86.

Couch-grass, 135.

Cow, circular life of, 121.

Cowry, 231.

Crab, metamorphosis of, 216.

Crag and tail, 55.
  formation, 75.

Crinoids, abundance of, 58.

Creation, extent of, 22.
  fact of, 110.
  law of, 337, 368.
  periods of, 15.
  What is it? 123.

Cribella, metamorphosis of, 321.

Crocodile, 248.

Cuckoo-fly, egg of, 309.

Cumbrian formations, 36.

Currents, oceanic, 356.

Cuttlefish, shell of, 237.

Cycads, 60.

Cyclicism, 336, 351.
  of the globe, 354.
  of inorganic nature, 355.
  of celestial orbs, 359.

Cysticercus, 196.

Daphnia, economy of, 325.

Dauber, economy of, 320.

Days of creation, 15.

Deductions, fallible, 2.

Deer, Irish, 84.

Deltas, 85.

Deposits, earthy, 87.

Depressions and elevations, 81.

Development hypothesis, 111.

Devonian formations, 42.

Diachronism, 125, 346.

Diatomaceæ in chalk, 64.

Dinotherium, 72, 370.

Dione, 228.

Disturbances of strata, 54, 66.

Dodo, 84.

Double cocoa-nut, 296.

Earth-pea, germination of, 299.

Echinus, 190.

Eggs of fowl, 328.
  of insects, 306.

Elephant, dentition of, 266.
  fossil, 73.

Elevations and depressions, 81.

Encephalartos, 161.

Euphorbia, 164.

Erythrina, 297.

Fairholm, Mr., opinions of, 12.

Feather, growth of, 253.

Feather-star, 193, 305.

Fig, Australian, 162.
  Indian, 164.

Fishes, cycloid, 68.
  earliest, 44.
  sauroid, 52.

Fishes, scales of, 242.

Foetus of kangaroo, 333.

Footprints, 57.

Foraminifera, 64, 70.

Frog, 57.

Gall-fly, egg of, 310.

Ganges, delta of, 85.

Geography, changes of, 60, 66,70.

Geology, in need of caution, 4.

Germs, hypothesis of, 294.

Gilt-head, 241.

Glaciers, theory of, 79.

Gladiolus, 152.

Globe, chronology of, 30.
  cyclicism of, 354.
  density of, 37.

Gnats, egg-raft of, 207.

Goliathus, 205.

Granite, 37.
  decomposition and reconstruction of, 38.

Grass-tree, 154.

Gray, Mr., opinions of, 20.

Grit, 46.

Gulf-stream, 356.

Gyroceras, 371.

Hair, growth of, 278.

Harris, Dr., opinions of, 19.

Hawkmoth, 118.

Hertfordshire, strata of, 33.

Hippopotamus, 263.
  fossil, 73.

Hitchcock, Dr., opinions of, 21.

Horns of ibex, 257.
  stag, 258.

Horse, 260.

Hylæosaurus, 62.

Hypotheses, variety of, 27.

Ibex, 257.

Ichthyosaurus, 59.

Iguanodon, 62.

Infusoria in chalk, 64.

Insects, eggs of, 306.

Iriartea, 139.

Julus, 212.

Kangaroo, foetus of, 333.

Kirkdale cave, 77.

Labyrinthodon, 57.

Lace-fly, egg of, 311.

Lady-fern, 116.

Law of creation, 337, 368, 371.

Leaf-scars of fern, 130.

Lepralia, 219.

Lias, 58.

Light, velocity of, 360.

Lily, 156.

Limestone coral, 45.

Locust-tree. 177.

London clay, 67.

Loranthus, 169.

"_Lusus Naturæ_," 368.

Macbrair, Mr., opinions of, 10.

Madrepore, 183.

Mammal, earliest, 63.

Mammoth, 73.

Man, introduction of, 83.
  structure of, 275.

Mangrove, 173.
  germination of, 301.

Marsupials, 82.

Mastodon, 73.

Medusa, 188, 304.

Megalosaurus, 61.

Melicerta, 210.

Miller, Hugh, opinions of, 15.

Millepore, 183.

Moa, 84.

Moho, 84.

Moon, cyclicism of, 359.

Mosasaurus, 65.

Moth, eggs of, 314.

Mountains, upheaving of, 66, 70.

Murex, 233, 365.

Nails, growth of, 277.

Nature, circularity of, 113.
  plan of, 345, 369.

Nautilus, 235.

Navel, evidence from, 289, 334.

Nerita, axis of, 365.

Noah's flood, 6.

Oestridæ, economy of, 309.

Oolitic system, 58, 60;
  duration of, 63.

Opossum, 63.

Organ-pipe, 185.

Organic life a circle, 113, 122.

Organisms, earliest, 40.

Orchis, 152.

Palm-leaf, young, 145.

Penn, Mr., opinions of, 11.

Phenomena, evidence of, delusive, 337.

Plants of London clay, 67.

"Plastic power," 368.

Plates of tortoise, 250.

Plesiosaurus, 59.

Plumularia, 119.

Powell, Professor, opinions of, 26.

Prickly pear, 172.

Prochronism, 125, 346, 368.
  dependent on cyclicism, 354.

"Protoplast," opinions of, 23.

Pterodactyle, 62, 370.

Raindrops, 58.

Rattan, 145.

Rattlesnake, 247.

Reptiles, Marine, 16, 59.

Rhinoceros, fossil, 73.

Roots, aerial, of fig, 163.
  of iriartea, 139.
  of mangrove, 173.
  of pandanus, 138.

Rotifera, viviparous, 322.

Sackcloth of palms, 141.

Sandstone, age of, 50.
  new red, 56.
  old red, 42.

Saw-fly, eggs of, 317.

Scale of fish, 242.

Scarlet-runner, economy of, 113.

Screw-pine, 136.

Scripture, efforts to reconcile with geology, 5.
  literal sense of, 4.

Sea-urchin, 191, 305.

Sea-pen, 182.

Secondary epoch, 66.

Sedgwick, Professor, on past time, 98.
  opinions of, 17.

Selaginella, 133.

Senses, evidence of, 1.

Serpent, earliest, 68.

Serpula, 198, 305.

Sharks, 52, 58, 243.
  egg of, 326.

Shells, now fossilizing, 89.

Shore-crab, 216.

Silk-cotton tree, 174.

Silurian formations, 40.

Skeleton, human, 286.

Skeletons, evidence from, 105, 340.

Sloths, fossil, 82.

Smith, Dr. Pye, opinions of, 22.

Smithia, elegance of, 371.

Species, persistence of, 110.

Spider, eggs of, 313.

Stag, 258.

Star-fish, madreporic plate of, 366.

Stars, light from fixed, 361.

Stature of man, 284.

Strata, disturbances of, 54.
  number of, 37.

Strombus, 230.

Sugar-palm, 141.

Sumner, Dr., opinions of, 19.

Surinam toad, 327.

Sword-fish, 240.

Tapeworm, 195.

Tapir, 69.

Teeth of babiroussa, 262.

Teeth of crocodile, 249.
  elephant, 268.
  hippopotamus, 263.
  horse, 261.
  man, 281, 285.
  shark, 243.

Termes, 203.

Terebella, 201.

Tertiary epoch, 66.
  fauna, 76.

Testimony, divine, 2;
  dear to many scientific men, 5;
  by some rejected, 8.

Testudinaria, 158.

Thames Tunnel, strata of, 32.

Thyroid cartilage, 284.

Timber, rings of, 178, 342, 349.

Tortoise, 250.

Tour of inspection, 127.

Traveller's tree, 148.

Tree-fern, age of, 128.

Tree-frog, 246.

Trilobites, 41.

Truth, value of, 7.

Tulip, seed of, 298.

Tulip-tree, 165.

Turner, Sharon, opinions of, 18.

Tusk of elephant, 266.

Ure, Dr., opinions of, 10.

Venus, prickly, 228.

"Vestiges," hypothesis of, 27, 111.

Volcanic action, 55, 66, 86.

Weevil, economy of, 308.

Whalebone, 255.

White ant, 203.

World, projected history of, 351.

Yorkshire, strata of, 33.

Young, Dr., opinions of, 13.

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] Dr. Lardner; Museum of Science and Art, vol. i. p. 81.

[2] As Cuvier, Buckland, and many others. On the question whether the
phenomena of Geology can be comprised within the short period formerly
assigned to them, the Rev. Samuel Charles Wilts long ago observed:
"Buckland, Sedgwick, Faber, Chalmers, Conybeare, and many other
Christian geologists, strove long with themselves to believe that they
could: and they did not give up the hope, or seek for a new
interpretation of the sacred text, till they considered themselves
driven from their position by such facts as we have stated. If, _even
now, a reasonable, or we might say_ POSSIBLE _solution were offered,
they would_, we feel persuaded, _gladly revert_ to their original
opinion."--_Christian Observer_, August, 1834.

[3] Reflections on Geology.

[4] Geology and Geologists.

[5] New System of Geology.

[6] Mineral and Mosaic Geologies, p. 430.

[7] Geology of Scripture.

[8] Scriptural Geology, _passim._

[9] Letter to Buckland, 15, _et seq._

[10] Origen, Augustine, &c.

[11] Testimony of the Rocks, p. 144

[12] Discourse (5th Ed.), 115.

[13] Sac. Hist. of World.

[14] Rec. of Creation.

[15] Nat. Theology.

[16] Pre-Adamite Earth.

[17] Harmony of Scripture and Geology.

[18] Christian Observer, 1834.

[19] Religion of Geology, Lect. ii.

[20] Scripture and Geology.

[21] I am not _replying_ to any of these conflicting opinions; else,
with respect to this one, I might consider it sufficient to adduce the
_ipsissima verba_ of the inspired text. Not a word is said of Adam's
being "nine hundred and thirty years _old_;" the plain statement is as
follows:--"And _all the days that Adam lived_ were nine hundred and
thirty years." (Gen. v. 5.)

[22] "Protoplast," pp. 58, 59; p. 325; 2d. Ed.

[23] Unity of Worlds (1856), pp. 488, 493.

[24] "A geological truth must command our assent as powerfully as that
of the existence of our own minds, or of the Deity himself; and any
revelation which stands opposed to such truths _must be false_. The
geologist has therefore _nothing to do with revealed religion_ in his
scientific inquiries."--_Edinb. Review_, xv. 16.

[25] Ansted's Ancient World, 18.

[26] Ansted's Ancient World, 30.

[27] Scripture and Geology, 371. (Ed. 1855.)

[28] "It is by no means unlikely that some beds of coal were derived
from the mass of vegetable matter present at one time on the surface,
and submerged suddenly. It is only necessary to refer to the accounts of
vegetation in some of the extremely moist, warm islands in the southern
hemisphere, where the ground is occasionally covered with eight or ten
feet of decaying vegetable matter at one time, to be satisfied that this
is at least possible."

[29] Ansted's Anc. World, 75.

[30] M'Culloch's System of Geology, i. 506.

[31] Origin of Coal.

[32] Testimony of the Rocks, p. 78.

[33] Mr. Newman suggests that they were "marsupial bats" (Zoologist, p.
129). I have adopted his attitudes, but have not ventured to give them
mammalian ears.

[34] In Tennant's "List of Brit. Fossils" (1847), but two species--a
Brachiopod and a Gastropod--are mentioned as common to the Chalk and the
London Clay. They are _Terebratula striatula_, and _Pyrula Smithii_.

[35] Ansted's Anc. World, 267.

[36] Reliquiæ Diluvianæ.

[37] Travels through the Alps, p. 19.

[38] Prof. Owen, in his admirable account of the _Mylodon_, has
mentioned a fact which brings us very vividly into contact with its
personal history. He shows that the animal got its living by overturning
vast trees, doing the work by main strength, and feeding on the leaves.
The fall of the tree might occasionally put the animal in peril; and in
the specimen examined there is proof of such danger having been
incurred. The skull had undergone two fractures during the life of the
animal, one of which was entirely healed, and the other partially. The
former exhibits the outer tables of bone broken by a fracture four
inches long, near the orbit. The other is more extensive, and behind,
being five inches long, and three broad, and over the brain. The inner
plate had in both these cases defended the brain from any serious
injury, and the animal seems to have been recovering from the latter
accident at the time of its death.

[39] Naturalist's Voyage, _passim_.

[40] The Indians of North America knew that the Mastodon had a trunk; a
fact which (though the anatomist infers it from the bones of the skull)
it is difficult to imagine them to be acquainted with, except by
tradition from those who had seen the living animal.

[41] Ansted; Phys. Geography, 82.

[42] An interesting fact relating to the Brazilian caves was
communicated to Dr. Mantell. "M. Claussen, in the course of his
researches, discovered a cavern, the stalagmite floor of which was
entire. On penetrating the sparry crust, he found the usual ossiferous
bed; but pressing engagements compelled him to leave the deposit
unexplored. After an interval of some years, M. Claussen again visited
the cavern, and found the excavation he had made completely filled up
with stalagmite, the floor being as entire as on his first entrance. On
breaking through this newly-formed incrustation, it was found to be
distinctly marked with lines of dark-coloured sediment, alternating with
the crystalline stalactite. Reasoning on the probable cause of this
appearance, M. Claussen sagaciously concluded that it arose from the
alternation of the wet and dry seasons. During the drought of summer,
the sand and dust of the parched land were wafted into the caves and
fissures, and this earthy layer was covered during the rainy season by
stalagmite, from the water that percolated through the limestone, and
deposited calc-spar on the floor. The number of alternate layers of spar
and sediment tallied with the years that had elapsed since his first
visit; and on breaking up the ancient bed of stalagmite, he found the
same natural register of the annual variations of the seasons; every
layer dug through presented a uniform alternation of sediment and spar;
and as the botanist ascertains the age of an ancient dicotyledonous tree
from the annual circles of growth, in like manner the geologist
attempted to calculate the period that had elapsed since the
commencement of these ossiferous deposits of the cave; and although the
inference, from want of time and means to conduct the inquiry with
precision, can only be accepted as a rough calculation, yet it is
interesting to learn that the time indicated by this natural
chronometer, since the extinct mammalian forms were interred, amounted
to many thousand years."--(_Petrifactions and their Teachings_, p. 481.)

[43] Bibliothèque Univers., March, 1852.

[44] "It is now admitted by all competent persons, that the formation
even of those strata which are _nearest the surface_, must have occupied
vast periods, probably millions of years, in arriving at their present
state."--BABBAGE, _Ninth Bridgewater Treatise_, p. 67.

[45] Geology of Central France.

[46] "Though perfect knowledge is not possessed, yet there are reasons
for believing that the duration of life to testacean individuals of the
present race is several years. But who can state the _proportion_ which
the average length of life to the individual mollusc or conchifer, bears
to the duration appointed by the Creator to the species? Take any one of
the six or seven thousand known recent species; let it be a _Buccinum_,
of which 120 species are ascertained, (one of which is the commonly
known _whelk_;) or a _Cypræa_, comprising about as many, (a well-known
species is on almost every mantel-piece, the _tiger-cowry_;) or an
_Ostrea_ (_oyster_), of which 130 species are described. We have reason
to think that the individuals have a natural life of at least six or
seven years; but we have no reason to suppose that any one species has
died out, since the Adamic creation. May we then, for the sake of an
illustrative argument, take the duration of testacean species, one with
another, at one thousand times the life of the individual? May we say
six thousand years? We are dealing very liberally with our opponents.
Yet in examining the vertical evidences of the cessations of the fossil
species, marks are found of an entire change in the forms of animal
life; we find such cessations and changes to have occurred MANY times in
the thickness of but a few hundred feet of these late-rocks."--DR. J.
PYE SMITH, _Scripture and Geology_, 5th Ed. p. 376.

[47] "One of the laminated formations [in Auvergne] may be said to
furnish a chronometer for itself. It consists of sixty feet of siliceous
and calcareous deposits, each as thin as pasteboard, and bearing upon
their separating surfaces the stems and seed-vessels of small
water-plants in infinite numbers; and countless multitudes of minute
shells, resembling some species of our common snail-shells. These layers
have been formed with evident regularity, and to each of them we may
reasonably assign the term of one season, that is a year. Now thirty of
such layers frequently do not exceed one inch in thickness. Let us
average them at twenty-five. The thickness of the stratum is at least
sixty feet; and thus we gain, for the whole of this formation alone,
eighteen thousand years."--DR. J. P. SMITH, _Scripture and Geology_, 5th
Edition, p. 137.

[48] "This fact has now been verified in almost all parts of the globe,
and has led to a conviction that at successive periods of the past the
same area of land and water has been inhabited by species of animals and
plants as distinct as those which now people the antipodes, or which now
co-exist in the arctic, temperate, and tropical zones. It appears that
from the remotest periods there has been ever a coming in of new organic
forms, and an extinction of those which pre-existed on the earth; some
species having endured for a longer, others for a shorter time; but none
having ever re-appeared, after once dying out."--LYELL'S _Elements of
Geology_, p. 275.

[49] J. Pye Smith, Scripture and Geology, 5th Ed., p. 69.

[50] In Dr. Pye Smith's Scripture and Geology, p. 382, (Ed. 1855.)

[51] I would venture respectfully to suggest that the following argument
by Mr. Babbage is vitiated throughout by a confounding of the phenomena
observed with the conclusions inferred from them.

     "What, then, have those accomplished, who have restricted
     the Mosaic account of the creation to that diminutive
     period, which is, as it were, but a span in the duration of
     the earth's existence, and who have imprudently rejected
     _the testimony of the senses_, when opposed to their
     philological criticisms? The very arguments which
     Protestants have opposed to the doctrine of
     transubstantiation, would, if their view of the case were
     correct, be equally irresistible against the Book of
     Genesis. But let us consider what would be the conclusion of
     any reasonable being in a parallel case. Let us imagine a
     manuscript written three thousand years ago, and professing
     to be a revelation from the Deity, in which it was stated
     that the colour of the paper of the very book now in the
     reader's hands is _black_, and that the colour of the ink in
     the characters which he is now reading is _white_. With that
     reasonable doubt of his own individual faculties which would
     become the inquirer into the truth of a statement said to be
     derived from so high an origin, he would ask all those
     around him, whether to their senses the paper appeared to be
     _black_, and the ink to be _white_. If he found the senses
     of other individuals agree with his own, then he would
     undoubtedly pronounce the alleged revelation a forgery, and
     those who propounded it to be either deceived or
     deceivers."--_Ninth Bridgewater Treatise_, p. 68.

[52] Dr. Pye Smith calls the hypothesis of progressive development "the
crude impertinence of a few foreign sophists,"--and he states as a fact,
"that all the great geologists repudiate such a notion with abhorrence,
and give physical evidence of its falsehood."--_Scripture and Geology_,
(5th Ed.) p. 420. See also Professor Owen in "Rep. Brit Assoc." 1842;
Professor Sedgwick, in "Discourse on Stud. of Camb.;" Professor Whewell,
in "Hist. of Inductive Sciences;" Professor Ansted, in "Anc. World;" &c.

[53] Wallace's "Palms of the Amazon," p. 35.

[54] Roxburgh.

[55] Rumph, v. 100.

[56] My observations rest on the fine specimen of this plant preserved
in the British Museum. Dr. Harvey, however, says, "The growth of the
trunk in _Kingia_ is very slow, and a specimen about ten feet high may
probably be some hundreds of years old." Report of Dubl. Univ. Zool. and
Bot. Assoc. for Feb. 25, 1857. See the note _infra_ on page 188.

[57] Gaudichaud: Recherches Gén. sur l'Organographie, p. 129.

[58] On the development of _Loranthus_, &c. Linn. Tr. xviii p. 71,

[59] "Each and every plant is at first a cell."--"New cells can never be
formed externally to, but only within, other cells already formed." (A.
Braun, on the Veg. Indiv.)

"The process of the propagation of cells, by the formation of new cells
in their interior, is an universal law in the vegetable kingdom."
(Schleiden; Grundzüge).

"Cell-formation in plants takes place only in the cavities of older
cells." (Mohl, on the Veg. Cell)

[60] See Von Martius, on the Brazilian Locusts.

[61] The origin of coral-stocks is minutely described by Ehrenberg, in
the Abhandl. for 1832, where he makes the following remarks:--"The coral
mass is neither a mere structure composed of many animals arbitrarily
conjoined, as Ellis supposed; nor one single animal with many heads, or
with simple furcations, as Cavolini maintained; nor a vegetable stem
with animal flowers, as Linnæus expressed it; it is a body of families,
a _living_ tree of consanguinity; the single animals belonging to it,
and continually developing _upon the primary ancestor_, are entirely
isolated within themselves, and capable of complete independence,
_although unable to achieve it_."

[62] This is not quite in accord with Lamouroux's account; but it is
more consistent with what we know of polype-growth.

[63] We lack precise data on which to found conclusions as to the actual
rate of growth of many animals. Sir John Dalyell's famous Actinia, now
in the possession of Dr. Fleming, affords us a proof that the Zoophytes
are long-lived, and slow in attaining maturity. It will be readily seen,
however, that the argument in the text does not depend on the actual
period evolved. The lapse of _a_ period of time, no matter how long, is
the only essential point.

[64] "All the component cells of any one organism may be considered as
the descendants of the primordial cell in which it originated." (_Dr.
Carpenter_; Comp. Physiol.; p. 396. 4th Ed.)

[65] I conclude so; because I have kept specimens of _Echinus_, not full
grown, in healthy condition, for nearly a year, without any perceptible
increase in their dimensions.

[66] I am not aware that this stage of the Entozoon has been actually
observed; but from what we know of its previous and subsequent history,
the correctness of the statement in the text will scarcely be disputed.
(See Prof. Owen: Comp. Anat. of Inverteb. Ed. 2. p. 74.)

[67] See Notes to "Marmion."

[68] Report on Brit. Annelida, p. 194.

[69] We have no direct observations, that I am aware of, on the larval
state of the African _Goliathi_; but their near ally, the _Cetonia
aurata_ of Europe, passes four years in the grub condition, as does also
the _Melolontha vulgaris_, another lamellicorn beetle. The _Lucanus
cervus_, or Stag-beetle, continues a larva for six years.

[70] Fabre; Ann. d. Sci. Nat.; iii. 1855.

[71] _B. splendida_, has been ascertained to have existed, as an inmate
of the wood of a table, for _more than twenty_ years. (Linn. Trans.; x.

[72] The rate of increase in dimensions shown by specimens of this
species, now so frequently kept in Aquaria, warrants this assertion;
though _how many_ years a Crab takes to attain adult size, no exact
observations, so far as I know, testify.

[73] The exuvia of the cirri are sloughed from the _Balanidæ_ about
every week in summer; and perhaps this process is coetaneous with an
addition to the valves.

[74] Mr. Broderip supposes it to have had the power of swimming freely,
and of seeking its future habitation, _as a bivalve_; but Lovèn had not
then made known to us the embryogeny and metamorphosis of the
_Conchifera_. It is much more probable that the case is as I have
ventured to assume in the text.

[75] Bennett.

[76] Rumphius.

[77] The periodical formation of these septa in the progress of growth,
is analogous to that of the projecting external plates in the
Wendletrap, and of the rows of spines in the _Murex_; but those external
processes consist of the opake calcareous layer of the shell, whilst the
internal processes in the _Nautilus_ consist of the nacreous layer, like
the septa in the _Turritella_. Thus the embryo _Nautilus_ at first
inhabits a simple shell, like that of most univalve Mollusca, and
manifests, according to the usual law, the general type at the early
stage of its existence; although it soon begins, and apparently before
having quitted the ovum, to take on the special form.--Prof. Owen's
_Lect. on Invertebrate Anim._ p. 593, 2d Ed.

[78] Woodward's "Manual of the Mollusca," p. 83.

[79] Carpenter, on the Microscope, &c., p. 602.

[80] Grant's Comp. Anat., 53.

[81] See Jones's General Outline, p. 506. (Ed. 1841.)

[82] Such is the common statement. Dr. Harlan, however, observes that
"the rattle is cast annually [with the sloughed skin], and,
_consequently_, no inference as to the age of the animal can be drawn
from the number of pieces which compose the rattles." (_Journ. Acad.
Nat. Sci._; v. 368.) I confess this appears to me to be a _non
sequitur_; for is it not quite possible that one may be added to the
_number_ annually, without involving the actual perpetuity of the
preceding ones? It is evident that the increase must take place at some
time or other, and it seems to me more likely to occur at the sloughing
of the skin, that is, annually, than either oftener or seldomer.

[83] Martin "On the Horse," p. 111.

[84] Professor Owen's "Odontography:"--to which splendid work I am
indebted, for the engravings of these skulls.

[85] Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopædia.

[86] Owen's Odontogr. p. 631.

[87] Penny Cyclopædia; _art._ BONE.

[88] Dr. Carpenter's Human Physiol. p. 916. (Ed. 1855.)

[89] Sir Thomas Browne, indeed, denies Adam a navel; I presume, however,
physiologists will rather take my view. Sir Thomas did not know that the
prochronism which he thought absurd pervaded every part of organic
structure. The following is his verdict:--

"Another Mistake there may be in the Picture of our first Parents, who
after the manner of theyre Posteritie are bothe delineated with a
Navill: and this is observable not only in ordinarie and stayned peeces,
but in the Authenticke Draughts of Vrbin, Angelo, and others. Which,
notwythstandynge, cannot be allowed, except wee impute that vnto the
first Cause, which we impose not on the second; or what wee deny vnto
Nature, wee impute vnto Naturity it selfe; that is, that in the first
and moste accomplyshed Peece, the Creator affected Superfluities, or
ordayned Parts withoute all Vse or Offyce."--_Pseudodoxia Epidemica_,
lib. v.; cap. v.

[90] Blackwood, in an excellent article on Johnston's _Physical
Geography_ (April, 1849), says:--"Adam _must_ have been created in the
full possession of manhood; for if he had been formed an infant, he must
have perished through mere helplessness. When God looked on this world,
and pronounced all to be 'very good,'--which implies the completion of
his purpose, and the perfection of his work--is it possible to conceive
that he looked only on the germs of production, on plains covered with
eggs, or seas filled with spawn, or forests still buried in the capsules
of seeds; on a creation utterly shapeless, lifeless and silent, instead
of the myriads of delighted existence, all enjoying the first sense of

And an eminent Geologist considers the position indisputable, as regards
man:--"To the slightest rational consideration it must be evident, that
the first human pair were created in the perfection of their bodily
organs and mental powers."--(Dr. J. P. Smith; "Script. and Geol.;" 219.)

[91] Gen. i. 12, 21, 26, 27.

[92] Penny Cyclop.; _art._ ARACHIS.

[93] Linn. Trans. iii. 23.

[94] Introd. to Entom.; Lett. xi. § 2.

[95] Jones; Nat. Hist. Anim.; ii. 151.

[96] Cf. Mr. Lubbock (Proc. Roy. Soc. viii. 354), with Dr. Baird (Brit
Entomostr. p. 82).

[97] Dr. Carpenter: Comp. Phys.; p. 615.

[98] Dr. Alex. Braun, "On the Veget. Individual." (Ann. N. H. Nov.

[99] It may be objected that _Elephas primigenius_ is absolutely
distinct from _E. Indicus_. I answer, Yes, _specifically_ distinct; and
so am I distinct from my father,--_individually_ distinct. But as
individual distinctness does not preclude the individual from being the
exponent of a circular revolution in the life-history of the species, so
specific distinctness may not preclude the species from being the
exponent of a circular revolution in some higher, unnamed, life-history.

[100] "We may assert of the individual, as well as of the species, that
it completes the cycle of its existence in a succession of subordinate
generations; while, on the other hand, we may affirm of the species,
that, like the individual, it exhibits a determinate cycle of
development." "The species itself may be regarded as an inferior
'momentum' of a still more comprehensive cycle of development."--_Dr. A.
Braun_, "_On the Vegetable Individual._"

"The species is an individual of a higher rank."--_Link: Elements of
Botanical Science_, vi. 11.

"Species, like individuals, have a certain limited term of existence. It
is the fact, that, _according to some general law_, species of animals
are introduced, last for a limited period, and are then succeeded by
others performing the same office."--_Ansted's Ancient World_, 52, 54.

[101] "The unity of the plan of organization, and the regular succession
of animal forms, point out a _beginning_ of this great kingdom on the
surface of our globe, although the earliest stages of its development
may now be effaced: and the continuity of the series though all
geological epochs, and the _gradual transitions_ which _connect_ the
species of one formation with those of the next in succession,
distinctly indicate that they form _the parts of one creation_, and not
the heterogeneous remnants of successive kingdoms begun and destroyed:
so that, while they present the best records of the changes which the
surface of the globe has undergone, they likewise afford the best
testimony of the recent origin of the present crust of our planet, and
of all its organic inhabitants."--_Dr. Grant, in Br. Sci. Annual for

[102] Dr. Harris has the following observations:--

"Why might not God have created the crust of the earth, just as it is,
with all its numberless stratifications, and diversified formations,
complete? And the analogy for such an exercise of creative power is
supposed to be found in the creation of Adam, not as an infant, but as
_an adult_; and in the production of the _full-sized_ trees of Eden. To
which the reply is direct: the maturity of the first man, and of the
objects around him, could not deceive him by implying that they had
slowly grown to that state. His first knowledge was the knowledge of the
contrary. He lived, partly, in order to proclaim the fact of his
creation. And, could his own body, or any of the objects created at the
same time, have been subjected to a physiological examination, they
would, no doubt, have been found to indicate their miraculous production
in their very destitution of all the traces of an early growth; whereas
the shell of the earth is a crowded storehouse of evidence of its
gradual formation. So that the question, expressed in other language,
amounts to this: Might not the God of infinite truth have enclosed in
the earth, at its creation, evidence of its having existed ages before
its actual production? Of course, the objector would disavow such a
sentiment. But such appears to be the real import of the objection; and,
as such, it involves its own refutation."--_Pre-Adamite Earth_, p. 83.

Now this reasoning appeared, doubtless, very triumphant to the worthy
Doctor: and yet a very little acquaintance with physiology would have
taught him that he was enunciating an absurdity. The very supposition
which he considers as self-refuting, is an indubitable physiological
fact. I have abundantly shown, in the text, that the _cells which
compose_ the tree or the animal are as undeniable evidences of past
processes as the concentric cylinders of timber, or the superposed
layers of bone and scale.

[103] I here assume the life-history of the globe to be represented by a
straight line, because I cannot _prove_ it to be a circle. I cannot even
_imagine_ its circularity. I do not mean the possibility;--I can imagine
_that_: but the _mode_ I cannot conceive. This, however, does not
disprove the possibility. If man's science extended not beyond the
accumulated observations of his own life, he would probably be quite
incompetent to conceive how the life-history of such a tree as the Oak
could be a circle; if he had never seen more than one individual, which
was a tree when he was born, and continued to flourish till his death.

[104] The existence of Coprolites--the fossilized excrement of
animals--has been considered a more than ordinarily triumphant proof of
real pre-existence. Would it not be closely parallel with the presence
of fæces in the intestines of an animal at the moment of creation? Yet
this appears to me demonstrable. It may seem at first sight ridiculous,
and will probably be represented so; but truth is truth. I have already
proved that blood must have been in the arteries and veins of the
newly-created Man (_vide_ p. 276, _supra_), and that blood presupposes
chyle and chyme; but what became of the indigestible residuum of the
chyme, when the chyle was separated from it? Would it not, as a matter
of course, be found in the intestines? If the principle is true, that
the created organism was exactly what it would have been had it reached
that condition by the ordinary course of nature, then fæcal residua must
have been in the intestines as certainly as chyle in the lacteals, or
blood in the capillaries.

[105] _Blackwood_; April, 1849; p. 412.

[106] Strictly speaking, the current is a lagging behind of the water,
which cannot keep pace with the speed communicated to the solid crust of
the globe at its equatorial regions. The trade-wind is owing to the same

[107] Philos. Trans. for 1802; p. 498.

[108] Beitrage, p. 152.

[109] Dr. A. Braun, On the Veg. Indiv.

[110] See _ante_, p. 233.

[111] Fauna Littor. Norveg.; i. 47.

       *       *       *       *       *



In the summer of 1855, I met, at Ilfracombe, on the coast of North
Devon, a small party of ladies and gentlemen, who formed themselves into
a Class for the study of Marine Natural History. There was much to be
done in the way of collecting, much to be learned in the way of study.
Not a few species of interest, and some rarities, fell under our notice,
scattered as we were over the rocks, and peeping into the pools, almost
every day for a month. Then the prizes were to be brought home, and kept
in little Aquariums for the study of their habits, their beauties to be
investigated by the pocket-lens, and the minuter kinds to be examined
under the microscope. An hour or two was spent on the shore every day on
which the tide and the weather were suitable; and, when otherwise, the
occupation was varied by an indoors' lesson, on identifying and
comparing the characters of the animals obtained, the specimens
themselves affording illustrations. Thus the two great desiderata of
young naturalists were attained simultaneously; they learned at the same
time how to collect, and how to determine the names and the zoological
relations of the specimens when found.

A little also was effected in the way of dredging the sea-bottom, and in
surface-fishing for Medusæ, &c.; but our chief attention was directed to
shore-collecting. Altogether, the experiment was found so agreeable,
that I propose to repeat it by forming a similar party every year, if
spared, at some suitable part of the coast.

Such ladies or gentlemen as may wish to join the Class should give in
their names to me, early in the summer; and any preliminary inquiries
about plans, terms, &c. shall meet the requisite attention.


_Oct. 1857_.

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