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Title: Life: Its True Genesis
Author: Flaccus, Horatius
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Life: Its True Genesis

By R. W. Wright



[Masoretic Hebrew.]--אֲׁשֶֽר זַרְעוׄ־בִל עַל־הָאָ֑רֶע׃.--

Οὗ τὸ σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ χατὰ γένος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. [Septuagint.]

"Whose general principle of life, each in itself after its own kind, is
upon the earth." [Correct Translation.]

Second Edition

1884



RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
TO
ARTHUR E. HOTCHKISS, ESQ.
OF CHESHIRE, CONN.



Contents.



Prefatory

Chapter I.    Introductory.
Chapter II.   Life--Its True Genesis.
Chapter III.  Alternations of Forest Growths.
Chapter IV.   The Distribution and Vitality of Seeds.
Chapter V.    Plant Migration and Interglacial Periods.
Chapter VI.   Distribution and Permanence of Species.
Chapter VII.  What Is Life? Its Various Theories.
Chapter VIII. Materialistic Theories of Life Refuted.
Chapter IX.   Force-Correlation, Differentiation and Other Life Theories.
Chapter X.    Darwinism Considered from a Vitalistic Stand-point.



Preface to Second Edition.



Here is the law of life, as laid down by the eagle-eyed prophet Isaiah, in
that remarkable chapter commencing, "Ho, every one that
thirsteth"--whether it be after knowledge, or any other earthly or
spiritual good--come unto me and I will give you that which you seek. This
is the spirit of the text, and these are the words at the commencement of
the tenth verse:

"As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not
thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it (_the earth_) bring forth
and bud (_not first bud, bear seed, and then bring forth_), that it (_the
earth_) may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater (_man being the
only sower of seed and eater of bread_): so shall my Word be (_the Word of
Life_) that goeth forth out of my mouth (_the mouth of the Lord_); it
shall not return unto me void (_i.e., lifeless_), but it shall accomplish
that which I (_the Lord Jehovah_) please, and it (_the living Word_) shall
prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

This formula of life is as true now as it was over two thousand six
hundred years ago, when it was penned by the divinely inspired prophet,
and it is as true now as it was then, that "Instead of the thorn shall
come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle
tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that
shall not be cut off." That is, as the rains descend and the floods come
and change the face of the earth, a law, equivalent to the divine command,
"Let the earth bring forth," is forever operative, changing the face of
nature and causing it to give expression to new forms of life as the
conditions thereof are changed, and these forms are spoken into existence
by the divine fiat.

In all the alternations of forest growths that are taking place to-day, on
this continent or elsewhere, this one vital law is traceable everywhere.
In the course of the next year, it will be as palpable in the Island of
Java, recently desolated by the most disastrous earthquake recorded in
history, as in any other portion of the earth, however free from such
volcanic action. On the very spot where mountain ranges disappeared in a
flaming sea of fire, and other ranges were thrown up in parallel lines but
on different bases, and where it was evident that every seed, plant, tree,
and thing of life perished in one common vortex of ruin, animal as well as
vegetable life will make its appearance in obedience to this law, as soon
as the rains shall again descend, cool the basaltic and other rocks, and
the life-giving power referred to by Isaiah once more become operative.
There is no more doubt of this in the mind of the learned naturalist, than
in that of the most devout believer of the Bible, from which this most
remarkable formula is taken.

We have no disposition to arraign the American and European "Agnostics,"
as they are pleased to call themselves, for using the term "Nature"
instead of God, in their philosophical writings.

As long as they are evidently earnest seekers after _Truth_ as it is to be
found in nature--the work of God--they are most welcome into the temple of
science, and their theories deserve our thoughtful consideration. It is
only when they become dogmatic, and assert propositions that have no
foundation in truth, as we sincerely believe, that we propose to break a
lance at their expense, and lay bare their fallacies. We claim nothing
more for ourself, as a scientific writer, than we are willing and ready to
accord to them. Indeed, we would champion their right to be heard sooner
than we would our own, on the principle that it is our duty to be just to
others before we are generous to ourselves, or those of our own following.
But our Agnostic friends should remember that when they charge us with
being "dogmatic in science," the charge should be made good from a
scientific stand-point, and not merely by the bandying of words.

When they tell us, for instance, that a toad has hibernated for a million
years in any one of the stratified rocks near the surface of the ground,
we interpose the objection that none of these batrachian forms can exist
for a period of more than twelve months without air and food. And yet they
have been blasted out of cavities in the surface rocks of the earth, where
they have apparently lain for the period named by our scientific friends
referred to. The fault is not ours, but theirs, that they are in error.
Had they determined to study the subject of life, as we have done, from
the Bible as well as from nature, they would have commenced at these
toad-producing rocks, and worked their way upward to the source of all
life, and not downward to the vanishing point--that where animal life
ceases in the azoic rocks. The batrachians are low down in the scale of
nature, but they have a determinate period of existence, as do all other
forms of life. Try your experiments with them; see how long they will live
without light, air, and food. This you can do as well as ourself. Conform
to all the conditions required--the absolute exclusion of light, air, and
food--and you will find that the toughest specimen experimented with is a
dead batrachian inside of one year.

This experimental test should settle the question of lengthened vitality
between us. There is no miracle about this matter at all, and science
finds no stumbling-block in the way of a complete explication of this
riddle, if, in the light of nature, there be any such riddle. We claim
there is not, when we interpret nature in the light of nature's God. Let
the earth, or rather its silicious and other decaying rocks, bring forth
these batrachian forms. The command is imperative and not dependent upon
any "seed" previously scattered or sown in the earth itself.

The father of the writer was Superintendent of the Green Mountain Turnpike
Company, extending from Bellows Falls to Rutland, Vt., from 1812 to 1832,
and worked every rod of that road many times over. From our earliest
boyhood we accompanied him on these working trips, attended by a large
force of laboring men, and our attention was early called to the
characteristics of these toad-producing rocks. The rotting slates, shales,
sandstones, shists, and rocks of various kinds, were often ploughed up by
the road-sides, and the _débris_ scraped into the centre of the road-beds;
the heaviest ploughs of that day being used to cut through these wayside
rocks, and often requiring as many as six or eight yoke of oxen to break
the necessary furrow. In many of these decaying slates, shists, sandstones
etc., hundreds of young toads, many of them not more than half an inch in
length, were turned out at different seasons of the year, showing that
they were produced independently of any parent batrachian, there being no
trace of a mother toad in connection with them.

The parent toads bury themselves in the gardens and ploughed fields in the
early autumn, and if they survive the severity of the winter months, may
propagate their kind the second year, and probably for several years. But
they require remarkably favorable conditions to continue their life for
any considerable number of years in open-field propagation, while under no
circumstances whatever can they make their way into these decaying rocks
in order to propagate their species. The reason why such fresh specimens
appear under these circumstances, and in the cavities of the rocks named,
is conclusively that indicated by the prophet Isaiah, in the text quoted
by us; and when Professor Agassiz was forced to admit that trout must have
made their appearance in the fresh-water streams emptying into Lake
Superior, instead of originating elsewhere, it is to be regretted, for the
sake of science, that he did not boldly enunciate the formula of life as
taught by the eagle-eyed prophet of the Bible, and not as proclaimed by
the owl-eyed professors of the London University College.

What is true of the trout in these Lake Superior streams, is true of them
almost everywhere, even right in the town of Cheshire, Conn., where we are
inditing this preface, the 10th day of October, 1883. We recently visited
the Rev. David D. Bishop, in the northeastern portion of this township,
where that cultured gentleman was constructing an artificial trout-pond.
It was at a season of the greatest drought known for years in that portion
of the town.

The point selected for this trout-pond was at the farthest eastern source
of what is known as "Honey Pot" brook in Cheshire, a famous one for trout
in former years. Mr. Bishop proposed to stock his pond with the best spawn
he could procure. We remarked to him that there was no need of that
expense, as no stream ever produced better trout than the "Honey Pot"; and
on closely examining one of the six or eight cold springs developed in his
enclosure, to his surprise, not ours, we discovered several small trout,
not more than six weeks old, as lively as they could well be under the
blasting operations then going on there; while his children were fishing
out from the rocks any number of young frogs (of the common _Rana_
family), abounding wherever rocks and water make their appearance in
similar localities. This incident was all the more remarkable for the
reason that this small stream, or rather source of one, had been
apparently dry for months, as had been many of the best wells in the town.

Our well, in the western part of the town, had been dug some six feet
into the solid rock and an inexhaustible supply of the coldest water
secured. We invited our neighbors, those living on both sides of us, as
well as at some distance from us, to come and draw all the water they
wanted, remarking that they might now and then draw up a small frog,
originating therein, but that, by fishing him out of the pail, he would
make his way to the neighboring streams not dry, and would flourish well
enough as one of the _Rana_ family. It was only to our more intelligent
neighbors (such as Mr. Bishop) who had read our work on "Life," that we
stopped to explain this phenomenal fact. And so of all life, wherever it
appears, whether vegetable or animal. Our experiments with mosquitoes are
equally conclusive. Three years ago we took two barrels of rain-water
from our cistern, tightly covered; one barrel we left open to the warm
sun and air, and the other we covered with the finest mosquito netting.
The barrel left open was soon thronged with mosquitoes, constructing
their little rafts of eggs and paving their way for the swarms of young
wigglers that in the course of a week or two made their appearance in the
open barrel in immense numbers. The process by which these wigglers hatch
out into mosquitoes is an interesting one, and will bear the closest
study, as well as scientifically pay for watching the operation. At the
proper time they come to the surface of the water, undergo a palpable
modification in their structure, and beautifully burgeon forth into the
tormenting little insects that they are during the summer and autumn
months in our Northern climate. The object of the covered barrel was to
ascertain whether we could reach the conditions favorable for the
development of this little pest of the _Culex_ family, independently of
the eggs of the insect itself. This required some patience and not a
little care. We knew that an egg dropped through the interstices of the
netting would sink to the bottom of the water and fail to germinate, as
every scientist understanding the process well knows. It must be floated
on the water at first, or until it reaches the point of development into
a wiggler. The first step in the process of its life is as cunningly
devised as the second, and the second as the third, until the
full-fledged mosquito is reached.

All precautions must be taken against any mistake or error in the
experiment named. But we persevered and found nature responsive to our
demands. Wigglers after awhile made their appearance sparsely in the
covered barrel, but the mosquitoes developed from them proved innocuous of
harm, as we kept the barrel covered, and they were soon drowned in the
water, not having sufficient area of flight to answer the conditions of
their life. We might instance some remarkable discoveries in the vegetable
world, showing conclusively that plants and trees come without seed, and
we feel the more pride in this discovery because we have been assured by
Prof. Othniel C. Marsh, of Yale College, a gentleman highly distinguished
in his specialties, that if we would show that an oak tree came without an
acorn, he would abandon Evolution and accept the exposition given by us of
the Bible genesis; but we have no special ambition to make so eminent a
convert from Herbert Spencer's ranks. He is a much younger man than
ourself, but the great English Evolutionist or Involutionist, whichever he
may ultimately decide to call himself, is about the writer's own age, and,
for special reasons, he would prefer to win him to the vital side of this
question, that he may act with Professor Beale in the great controversy
now waging in England on this subject, and we will assure both Prof.
Marsh, and his friend, Herbert Spencer, that if either of them will show
that an acorn comes without an oak tree, we will abandon any position we
have taken on this subject, and accept theirs, however absurdly (to our
mind) it may have been taken in the past. We know that "tall oaks from
little acorns grow;" but that is when man becomes the sower of seed, and
knows the origin of each specific tree that is brought forth. When we talk
about the squirrel, or the birds becoming the "sowers of seeds,"
especially the acorns, we are talking at random, and without any certain
knowledge. This we say with all due deference and respect to our learned
Agnostic friends, and wish they would treat their vitalistic brothers with
the same becoming courtesy.

In a work which we have now in preparation for the press, to be entitled
"Biodynamics; or, The Laws of Life," we shall give this "seed question" a
more exhaustive inquiry than we have yet done.

Our proofs in regard to one form of life are equally applicable to any
other plant, insect, or animal, and there is no greater or less mystery in
the life of a blade of grass than in the cedar of Lebanon figuring so
conspicuously in the historic page.

When the Nile overflowed its banks in ancient times, and caused the young
frogs to swarm up as a pest upon the Egyptians, the same law of life was
operative in that land, as when warm thunder-showers pelt the earth with
us in the summer season, causing hundreds and thousands of these
batrachians to come out of the gritty waysides, and swarm along our
highways and by-ways, leading ignorant and thoughtless people to suppose
that they have rained down from the sky. The simple fact is, that the
earth was commanded to bring them forth, and that great mother of all
vegetable and animal life is obeying the command to-day, just as she did
in the beginning.

One of the greatest errors that science has yet committed, or rather that
scientific men have stumbled upon, is the theory that all living forms
have appeared but once in time and place, and that they have thence
diffused themselves, in pairs, throughout the globe, as from specific
centres of origin. In the primeval oceans, whenever and wherever the
environing conditions of matter were the same or identical, the like
living forms made their appearance and flourished for hundreds and
thousands of years, and finally disappeared, in a fossilized state, as
their environing conditions were changed. They came not genetically--as in
pairs--but thronged the seas in thousands and millions as the divine edict
went forth.

As another conclusive proof, to our mind, of the existence of this law of
life, we instance the case of the mango-tree growing in the West India
Islands, especially along the sea-shore, where it becomes the natural
_habitat_ of the oyster. It is the belief of some ignorant persons that
the oyster climbs these trees and deposits its spawn or "spat" upon the
extreme limbs of the same as they bend down toward the water. This is
manifestly an error, and belongs to the same class of fallacies as the
common impression that toads rain down from the sky. The smaller
mango-trees growing about the bays and inlets of these islands, furnish,
as we have said, a natural _habitat_ for the oyster, and as the salt
sea-spray washes their roots and the bark of their trunks, the long
thin-shelled oysters of that region make their appearance thereon without
the presence of spawn, just as they do when old oyster-shells are dumped
along our sand-banks in New England. On these dumped shells oysters will
be produced abundantly, simply because the conditions are favorable, and
not in consequence of the presence of "spat." Oysters have little, if any,
locomotive power, and can no more climb the mango-tree than they can scale
the cliffs of the Azores. The reason why they hang in pendent clusters
from the extreme boughs of the mango in the West India Islands is, that
these boughs are sprayed upon by the rippling waters, and the environing
conditions being favorable, the indifferent oyster of that region makes
its appearance.

There has been no migration of the oyster from one centre of origin to
another, any more than there has been a transference of the white whale
from the arctic seas to the fiery equator. Every thing has its place in
nature, and comes with or without seed as natural laws determine. During
the last year I have gathered cedar trees that did not make their
appearance till late in August and September, long after the seed of the
previous year had entirely disappeared, and there was no more life in them
than there is in acorns that have crossed the Atlantic a dozen times in
bulk. And the late Henry D. Thoreau, in his "Excursions," says that they
will not stand one such shipment to Europe, and that every acorn that does
not sprout by the end of November of the year it matures, is hopelessly a
dead acorn. This is in harmony with our experience, and we have no doubt
of the correctness of his observations. How absurd, then, to suppose that
acorns can retain their vitality so as to germinate after years of
out-door or other exposure. The seeds of forest-trees that mature in May
and June, or the majority of them at least, have to be planted in those
months, as all persons engaged in forest culture well know. This is
specially true of cedars and oaks, as well as of elms and maples.

Study the paleontological facts as given by Prof. Frederick McCoy, of the
University of Melbourne, in Australia, a gentleman highly distinguished
for his learning and research. He has explored portions of that continent
as far down as the azoic rocks, and made many important discoveries as to
the past life of the globe. His researches have been especially rich in
the Cambrian or Lower Silurian epochs, and have led to many modifications
in the classification of the various forms of life pervading those earlier
periods, and we may say that the facts he has brought to light tend
strongly to show the correctness of our theory as taken from the biblical
text; as, for instance, the _Trilobites_, occurring so abundantly in what
is known as the Utica slates. Wherever the slates make their appearance,
whether in Australia, America, or any portion of Europe, this fossil,
characteristic of the Silurian and Devonian systems, appeared, not so much
in time and place as in extended localities and conditions--indicating the
presence of a law of life such as we have enunciated. We once inquired of
the elder Prof. Silliman how long it took for the formation of one of
these periods or systems? His reply was curt and pertinent: "It took long
enough, young man!" That satisfied us at the time, and we have never asked
the question since. It is prying beyond scientific depth, and the ablest
scholars in the world will so regard it in the end.

All fossils follow the same developmental law, and seem to have been
governed by corresponding conditions everywhere. The doctrine of "_similia
similibus gignuntur_"--similar conditions producing similar forms--obtains
universally. The _Graptolites_, occurring in the bituminous shales of the
Silurian sandstone period, afford only another instance of the same law to
which we have called the attention of our readers. In fact, the annals of
natural history abound in the most conclusive proofs, as well in the
fossilized as the living world, of what the paramount text of the Bible
teaches us.

When Professor Ehrenberg, one of the most distinguished classifiers of
minute forms of life in the world, declared, as he recently did before the
Royal Geographical Society of London, that there was "a great invisible
rock-and earth-forming life in nature," he came pretty near enunciating a
great truth in science; and had he connected his language with the
induction of "environing conditions" and the sequence of life therefrom,
he would have accomplished what we undertook to do in our work begun
several years ago, but not completed and published until 1880. For it will
be seen that we had been gathering the material for "Life: Its True
Genesis" for many years before we sat down to the task of writing it.

When we said to one of our most intimate college friends that we were less
than six months preparing it for the press, we stated what was literally
true; but we had no intention of giving him to understand that we had
spent only that time in gathering the vast amount of material at our
command--twenty times as much as we could possibly use in the preparation
of such a volume for the press. The long months and even years of toil and
study spent by us in the needful preparation, were a part of the labor, as
every author, writing intelligently on any subject, knows. The immense
amount of care and labor that enabled Hermann von Meyer to prepare his
paper on the _Archæopterix_, rescued from the lithographic slate, is a
case in point, as showing how small apparently the labor of accomplishing
a great work for science. The time devoted to preparing the paper was
trifling as compared with the result of his achievement. And so with every
one who enters the temple of science with a devout wish to attain success.

It will be apparent to the religious mind of this country and England, if
not to that of Mr. Tyndall himself, that, if the exegetical rendering we
have extended to the Bible be correct, there is no necessity whatever for
the vast uncomputed periods of time intervening the different geological
strata, to which that scientific gentleman refers in his fanciful musings
upon the Matterhorn!

Nor is there any such necessity for it, if what Professor Ehrenberg says
be true in regard to the basaltic rocks thrown up by volcanic action in
the Island of St. Paul. For if these rocks possess this mysterious power
of life, He who made them manifestly imparted it. One thing is certain, at
least, the rocks did not make themselves; nor did they impart to
themselves any life-originating power after they were made. The same power
that originated them originated all their characteristic properties, and
the same may be said of Professor Tyndall's "sky-mist" or any other
mistier name suggested by scientific men. We have only to take the
"Thesaurus" of the Silurian period, and connect it with the induction of
the biblical text, and we shall see that the forms characteristic of that
period appeared not only synchronously in time and space, but also in
physical conditions, and consequently, that no immense epochs were
expended in the propagation, of species on the "two-pair" theory of our
materialistic friends. They simply flourished over vast areas for a while,
and were then locked up as fossils where they are now found. How long it
took for this transformation to take place is manifestly beyond any data
we may now have for determining. In the case of some artificial baths in
which crystalline forms appear, we know that it takes only a few weeks at
least, and why should natural processes be any more delinquent or
defective in their operation than those that are purely artificial?
Remember that we are not "musing on the Matterhorn" as was the gifted
English naturalist, but upon the text of the equally gifted Isaiah, and
pondering the works of God as seen by the devout prophet in his day. When
Mr. Tyndall can tell us how long it took God to lift the towering
Matterhorn from its base, he will be in a frame of mind to answer the
other problems involved in the controversy between us. In an instant--the
twinkling of an eye--some of these phenomena have occurred, and recent
events, such as wide volcanic disturbances, show how idle it is for man to
place a limit to the power of the Most High. Even the "red snow,"
unmistakably a vegetal formation, appearing at times on the loftier Alps,
is as much a proof of God's power as the ragged mountain peaks on which it
appears--covering vast areas within a few hours' time.

When such men as the late Professor Silliman, and Professor Dana, Sen'r,
of Yale College, take up the Bible genesis, and speak in high commendation
of its value to science, it is idle for the Agnostics of that or any other
institution of learning to speak sneeringly of their efforts. They both
know (for the elder Benjamin Silliman "still lives") that the first
command of this genesis was, for the earth to bring forth its vegetation,
not from "seed" distinctively so-called, but from the germinal principles
of life therein; what Ehrenberg calls the "rock-and earth-forming life" or
power of life in matter.

That the second command was, for the waters of the earth to bring forth
their specific forms of life, including the birds; just where science now
asserts they originally came from.

And that the third command was, for the earth to bring forth the beasts
thereof, and every creeping thing thereon. Here the "rock-and
earth-forming" power of life ceased, and the language of the genesis
changes. It is no longer "Let the earth bring forth," but let the Divine
energy intervene!

"Let us (the divine Trinity in Unity) make man in our own image"--after
our own conception of what he should be--the being of two worlds, the
material and spiritual; and man was made accordingly. God breathed into
his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a "living soul." This is
the record--brief, grand, historic. No "evolution," no "involution," no
word without sense or meaning. He who was to have dominion, in his limited
sphere, over all the earth, thus came in due time for a wiser and grander
purpose than man has yet seen; but which, in the providence of God and the
light of His word, he will yet come to see, as scientific truth advances
with the march of religious knowledge. Heaven speed the day when this
millennium of truth shall dawn upon us here!

In this remarkable genesis we have a bridge that spans the chasm between
the man and the anthropoid ape as no other bridge spans it. It is a bridge
over which is flung the living garment of God, and angelic hosts may pass
it to and fro, as well as the master-minds of our own and future ages. It
takes man out of the category of a "beast of the earth," and places him
where all soul-aspiration lifts us--lifts even Robert G. Ingersoll, in his
higher inspirational moods, or will lift him when his extreme material
dogmatisms and false teachings desert him, as we trust they some day will.
Let him read the "Student," by Bulwer, and he will learn how narrowly
Voltaire escaped becoming a "Reformer" in the Church of England, instead
of the violent antagonist he was of the corrupt Church of Rome in France.
We do not make ourselves; it is the environing circumstances and
conditions in which we are placed which oftentimes determine our career
for good or for evil.

We had proposed embodying in this Preface one or two caustic reviews of
our late work, from an Agnostic source, but have been deterred from so
doing, for the reason that we deem it in bad taste as well as irrelevant
at this late day. We shall be pardoned, however, in alluding to _The
National Quarterly Review_, for the captious manner in which it treated us
after we had courteously replied to several inquiries made of us in its
two- or three-page review. After complaining that we had been "hailed, by a
class of callow religious critics, as a 'Savior' from scientific error and
enormities," it charged us with certain unscrupulous methods of
criticism,--such as putting language into Mr. Darwin's mouth that he never
thought of uttering, etc., etc. And as this pretentious Quarterly put
several questions to us, such as "When and where the great Evolutionist
had taught any such doctrine as this?" we ventured to reply as courteously
as we knew how. We endeavored to treat our reviewer fairly, as he had
handsomely accorded to us the credit of "searching the fields of natural
science, lance in hand, to deal hard thrusts at impious skeptics,
materialists, and evolutionists--of which Mr. Darwin and Mr. Bastian fare
the most severely." But we had no thought of using these offensive
adjectives toward either of the distinguished gentlemen named, and did not
so use them; however "unscrupulous" our methods may have been in other
respects. Our reply was unnoticed by the bulky Quarterly, and we were
content with knowing that it was received by its editor, and shared the
fate of all intrusive communications which it is easier to throw into the
waste-basket, especially in hot weather, than to answer in the interests
of science, when such answers are difficult to be made. This was the first
and only discussion we attempted to provoke with our "exhaustive
Reviewers," and it will, in all probability, be the last. Little is gained
by these polemical controversies, when conducted in the spirit of
unfairness, or with greater asperity than the true interests of journalism
demand. The beauty of its kindly advice to us, as a "scientific critic,"
was that every word of it came back, as a cruel boomerang, into the
writer's own face.

But this is enough. For the last three years we have been mostly engaged
in writing another book, the character of which is already sufficiently
indicated in this Preface. The reasons why we have been led to adhere to
our original purpose of making this a "Bible Genesis," as _The National
Quarterly Review_ speaks of it, are best known to our more intimate
friends, and we do not propose to disappoint them in their expectations.

If we have failed to make our theory understood by others, we regret it;
if others fail to understand the inspired text, it is manifestly a matter
for them to regret, and for us to deplore.

To those who have spoken kindly of "Life: Its True Genesis," we return our
thanks: to those who have extended to it their sharpest criticisms, in
what they believe the true interests of science, we also return our
thanks. We have no fear that Truth will be crushed in this contest:

  "Truth crushed to earth shall heavenward rise again,
  Like wayside flowers that lift their heads, aglow
  With a far sweeter fragrance when they've been
  All rudely trampled on by hostile foe,
  Than when in Flora's gentle arms they've lain
  The long night through, and wake at early dawn
  To greet Aurora--jewelled queen of morn!"

R. W. Wright.

West Cheshier, Conn., _Oct_. 12, 1883.



Prefatory.



The office of a preface is twofold; first, to introduce the author to the
public; second, to introduce his work. As the writer seeks no personal
introduction, beyond what a favorable or unfavorable reception of his work
may give him, he leaves the more formal, if not formidable branch of
salutation untouched.

The work has cost him some labor, as the reader will see. The field he has
traversed is vast and varied, and the facts he has gathered are numerous
and from many and diversified sources--all bearing more or less
conclusively on the one vital point he seeks to establish, viz: _That the
primordial germs (meaning germinal principles of life) of all living
things, man alone excepted, are in themselves upon the earth, and that
they severally make their appearance, each after its kind, whenever and
wherever the necessary environing conditions exist_.

The foundation of this emphatic formula we find in the Bible Genesis, in
the words given on our title-page, which are more accurately translated in
the Septuagint, than in our common English version of the Old Testament.
The words are to be found in the 11th verse of the first chapter of
Genesis, and the writer confidently believes that they contain the true
Genesis of Life, although entirely overlooked, heretofore, by both the
biblical and scientific scholar.

In the work which he here gives to the public, he will endeavor to show
that all the vital phenomena of our globe, with the single exception
named, find their complete explication in this Genesis of Life; and that
we have only to take the scientific Genesis out of some of its more
imposing categories, to make the two either entirely harmonize, or fall
into the same lines of incidence in human thought.

Science has long taught that the _absence_ of necessary physiological
conditions results everywhere in the _disappearance_ of vital phenomena;
by reversing its logical methods, it will also find that the _presence_ of
these necessary conditions results everywhere in the _appearance_ of vital
phenomena. Take, for instance, the vegetation of Northern Europe, where it
is known that the oak succeeded the pine, and the beech the oak, after
each had held possession of the soil for we know not how many thousand
years. In bringing about the necessary conditions of soil, the pine paved
the way for the oak, and that in turn paved the way for the beech. Neither
sprang from the other, nor did the "selection of the fittest" have
anything to do with the appearance or disappearance of either. Each
yielded fruit "after his kind," whose "seed" (germinal principle of life)
was in itself, i.e., after its own kind, upon the earth, and made its
appearance spontaneously,--that is, without the presence of natural
seed,--whenever the necessary environing conditions favored.

And the same law of vegetal propagation is everywhere operative to-day, in
the alternations of forest growths, the spontaneous appearance of oak
forests where pine have been cleared away, and _vice versa_, in some parts
of the country, where heavy forests of oak timber have been felled. So
with the new growths of timber springing up in the paths of tornadoes,
over large burnt districts, in soils brought up from below the last
glacial drift, and in hundreds of other instances which the reader will
find conclusively verified in these pages,--all making their appearance
without the possible intervention of natural seeds.

The great value of the Septuagint, as compared with other versions of the
Hebrew Bible, will appear from the fact that it is older by many hundred
years than any manuscript copy of the Hebrew text now extant. It was
undoubtedly translated at Alexandria, in Egypt, as early as the third
century before Christ, while the oldest known Hebrew MS. is a Pentateuch
roll dating no further back than A. D. 580. Its translators had before
them much older and more perfect MSS. than any that survived to the time
of the masoretic recension, when an attempt was made to give uniformity to
the readings and renderings of the Hebrew text by means of the vowel
points, diacritical signs, terminal letters, etc., all of which are now
subject to rejection by the best Oriental scholarship.

According to Irenæus, this Greek version was rendered at the request of
Ptolemy Lagi, in order to add to the treasures of the Alexandrian library,
and it no doubt derived its name from the number of Hebrew and Hellenistic
scholars,--probably the most eminent to be found in that day,--employed
upon the work. The version comes, therefore, with paramount authority to
our own times; and we accept its Greek rendering as the highest and most
conclusive evidence of the authenticity of the text, and the "new genesis
of life" we derive therefrom.

Σπέρμα (as contained in the Septuagint) has almost an identical
signification with the Hebrew word ZRA. It means the "_germ_ of anything,"
or the "germinal principle of life," as contained in anything that lives
or grows. No one will claim that it is used in its literal sense of
"seed," in the text. For, when the divine command was issued, there was no
plant or tree, and, presumably, had been none upon the earth from which
seed could have been derived. The word was used in its larger and more
comprehensive (that is, metaphorical) sense, as the "germinal principle of
life in matter," or precisely in the sense in which the Greek stoics used
it in their philosophy. Both Theophrastus and Diogenes use the terms
σπερματ´κοὶ γόγοι expressing "the _laws of generation contained in
matter_"--precisely the meaning we attach to it in its textual
connection. The eleventh verse should read, therefore, as follows: "Let
the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree
yielding fruit after his kind, _whose germinal principle of life, each in
itself after its kind, is upon the earth_"

We accept this rendering of "the seventy," because they had the most
complete and perfect Hebrew MSS. before them, and were no doubt better
scholars, and far more competent renderers of the original text than the
Masorites who came some seven or eight hundred years after them.

But this is not the most important point of inquiry in this connection.
The materialistic objector may say: "Admit all this; grant that the true
rendering is here given; grant even that the true law of vegetal
development and growth is here enunciated; what has 'star-eyed science' to
do with the '_odium theologicum_?'" We answer, nothing. We would bury both
theological rancor and atheistical pretension in the same barrow, and
agree never to "peep and botanize" over their common grave. But if a great
scientific principle--one that fits into all the phenomenal facts of
nature--explains them all, and is, in turn, explained by them--be found in
the Hebrew _Hagiographa_, of what less value is it to science than if it
had been originally enunciated by Aristotle or Plato? Or--to make the
inquiry still sharper and more emphatic--of what less value is it to
science than if it had originally come from Professor Tyndall or Mr.
Herbert Spencer?

Take the "biblical genesis" as we have enunciated and explained it--with
all the facts crowded into these explanatory pages--and science has no
longer any genetic mystery to brood over, further than that every
operation of nature is a mystery into which it is useless for scientific
speculation to pry. We know what nature _does_, or may know it by the
proper scrutiny, but we shall never know the causes of things, any more
than we shall find God at the bottom of Herbert Spencer's crucible, or at
the top of his ladder of synthesis. In the light of the Bible genesis,
science can account for the origin of the stalwart oak or the lordly pine,
without going back to any mycological or cryptogamic forms, to follow down
an ever-changing vital plexus that is as likely to land in a buttonwood
tree as an oak, or in a hemlock as a pine,--in fact, quite as likely to
land in a carnivorous animal as in an insectivorous plant. "Let the earth
bring forth," is still the eternal fiat,--just as implicitly obeyed to-day
as it was in the world's primeval history, when an exuberance of
endogenous vegetation laid the foundation of the coal measures. It
requires no greater effort on the part of nature to produce the pine, the
oak, the beech, the hickory--all of which we see springing directly from
primordial germs to-day--than it did to produce the lowest vegetal
organism, from an invisible, indestructible "vital unit," or Darwinian
gemmule, thousands of years ago.

He who is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, and in whose sight a
thousand years are but as yesterday, knows no such "law of variability" as
our materialistic friends have been spinning for us in their unverified
theories of evolution, natural selection, selection of the fittest,
rejection of the unfit--force-correlations, molecular machinery,
transmutation of physical forces, differentiation, dynamical aggregates,
_molécules organiques_, potentiated sky-mist, undifferentiated
"life-stuff," and other hylotheistic and purely hypothetical formulæ,
with which the average mind has been well-nigh crazed for the last fifteen
or twenty years.

Believing that the time has come to call for "a halt" in scientific
speculations, and a return to the phenomenal facts of nature as the true
and only basis on which to formulate the immutable laws of life, matter,
motion, etc., the writer submits this volume with trustful confidence to
the public. [1]

R. W. Wright.

West Cheshire, Conn.



True Genesis.



Chapter I.

Introductory.



It is undeniably true that the progress of scientific thought and
speculative inquiry, both in this country and in Europe, is rapidly
tending towards a purely materialistic view of the universe, or one that
utterly excludes the ancient and long-predominating metaphysical
conceptions of Life, to say nothing of the more regnant and universally
prevailing conception of a God. And it is quite as undeniable that the
current of experimental research and investigation is setting, with equal
rapidity, in the same direction. According to the views of many of our
more advanced chemists, physiologists, and other scientific and
speculative writers and thinkers--those whose experimental investigations
have, it is claimed, reached the ultimate implications of all material
substance--there are but two immutable, indestructible, and thoroughly
persistent elements in the universe--_Matter_ and _Motion_. Everything
else, they confidently assert, is either purely phenomenal, or else
essentially mutable, ephemeral, transitory. Force, according to their
theory, is only another name for motion or its correlates, and, hence, the
two terms are interchangeably used by them in predicating their ultimate
conclusions respecting matter.

Light, heat, electricity, magnetism, chemical affinity, molecular force,
and even life itself, are only so many manifestations or expressions, they
claim, of one and the same force in the universe--_Motion_, With the
exception of matter, it is the only self-persistent, permanently enduring,
ever active and reactive agency.

Light, they say, is dependent, heat conditional, electricity and magnetism
more or less phenomenal, chemical affinity and molecular force mere modes
or correlated forms of motion, and all-pervading life itself a mere
postulate of the schools, or at best only the result of the dynamic force
of molecules.

Deem not this collocation simply a burlesque on Scientific categories.
Professor Bastian, in his great work on the "Beginnings of Life," has
unhesitatingly said: "The 'vitalists' must give up their last
stronghold--we cannot even grant them a right to assume the existence of a
special 'vital force' whose peculiar office it is to effect the
transformation of physical forces. The notion that such a force does
exist, is based on no evidence; it is a mere postulate. The assumption of
its existence carries with it nothing but confusion and contradiction,
because the very supposition that it exists, and does so act, is totally
averse to the general doctrine of the correlation of forces."

And this defiant challenger of the "vitalists," who thus half-sneeringly
speaks of those who believe that the vital forces of the universe are
among the highest potential factors expressed therein, is one who, for the
last decade and a half, has mostly lived in the ephemeromorphic world, and
who, in diving into the "beginnings of life," has so far lost his way that
the all-glorious end of it is as much an inexplicable mystery to him now,
as when he was more successfully expounding pathological anatomy and
ruthlessly hacking away at anatomical subjects over the dissecting-slab of
the London University College. Had he spent less time over this
dissecting-slab, and more in studying the marvellous manifestations of
life in its outspoken beauty of leaf, bud, flower, fruit--things of not
mere guess and fancy--he would undoubtedly have had a higher appreciation
of what is most vital in nature, and less of what is simply material in a
non-functional sense. With Mr. Herbert Spencer, he gratuitously sneers at
the "old specific-creation hypothesis," or the divine fiat in the
beginning; but without that fiat, where would he find his ephemeromorphs?
or even the dead tissues used in his organic infusions for the vainest of
all human endeavors--that of producing life, or seeking to produce it, _de
novo_? He is so immeasurably disgusted with the vitalists that he hardly
allows himself to speak of "life" or even use the term "vital" as applied
to its simplest manifestations, without quotationizing them as terms to
provoke both incredulity and derision.

The world may, however, overlook much of this in him, in view of his past
professional pursuits, as well as in consideration of his eminent services
as a specialist in science. The dissecting-room of a university is not the
most desirable place in the world for profoundly studying the vital forces
of nature. It is too grim and ghastly a repository of dead men's skulls,
and "holes where eyes did once inhabit," in which to regard "life's
enchanting cup" as one sparkling to the brim. Detaching a muscle here, and
laying bare another there; taking out a sightless eye in one subject, and
putting the dissecting-knife deep into the pulseless heart of another;
cutting the fragments of a human body into shreds and tatters over one
dissecting-slab, and loading down another with splintered bones and
mangled hands and limbs, is not exactly the sort of occupation to enkindle
the highest enthusiasm for "life," in any of its more manifold phases in
nature. Too many lifeless notions get crammed into the head--to say
nothing of baffled endeavor in the pursuit--to admit of the more
conclusive and satisfactory inductions respecting living organisms.

But why should an assumption of the existence of life carry with it any
greater "confusion and contradiction," than a like assumption respecting
either matter or motion? Simply because the materialists insist, in their
logical inductions, upon so distributing the terms of their syllogism that
only a negative conclusion shall follow.

"Matter and motion," they say, are alone indestructible.

Life is neither matter nor motion,

Therefore: Life is not indestructible.

This syllogism is manifestly unanswerable, if there be no fallacy in the
distribution of its major and minor terms. But wherein lies the
incompatibility of reversing the order of its terms, so as to prove that
neither matter nor motion is indestructible? And would such a judgment,
thus derived, be any more spurious, the process of reasoning any more
illicit, or the conclusion any less unanswerable? We might as well say
that neither matter nor motion is an absolute entity in the universe,
without some apprehensive intelligence, or rational intuition therein, to
embrace them as distinct concepts or objects of thought; nor can either
have the least conceivable attribute without some co-existing intelligence
to ascribe it. For to ascribe an attribute, is to conceive or think of
such attribute. And as our general conceptions are conceded to be
realities, even by the materialists themselves, it necessarily follows
that this conscious _ego_--this thing that conceives, thinks, ascribes
attributes--is either co-existent with matter, or else antedates it in the
order of existence. And here--at this identical point in the argument--we
are irresistibly forced back, in our inductive processes, to the
theological conception of a God--the one supreme _Ego_ of the
universe--from whom alone all our intuitions of consciousness, as well as
apprehensive intelligence, is derived.

We can no more get rid of these inductive processes than we can change the
order of nature or reverse the inevitable laws of thought. Hence, we are
constantly driven to formulate the following, or some equivalent
inductions:--

1. Cause must exist before effect.

2. Without some vital principle, therefore, preëxisting as a cause, there
can be no life-manifestation.

3. But there can be no life-manifestation without organic structure.

4. The reverse of this proposition is also true.

5. Which, therefore, precedes the other as a cause, and which follows as
an effect?

6. Nothing can organize itself. To do so, it must contain within itself
both the operating cause and the resulting effect, which is at once an
incongruent and conflictive judgment.

7. But the thing that organizes must exist before the thing organized,
whether it be a vital principle or an intelligent agency.

8. Hence Life, either as a preëxisting cause or vital agency, must precede
both animal and vegetal organism.

Again:--

9. Cause is that which operates to produce an effect, as effect is that
which is produced by an operating cause.

10. But whatever operates to produce a life-manifestation must precede it
as an operating cause.

11. Life, therefore, whether as a blind or intelligent force or agency,
must precede its own manifestation; that is, must exist as an operating
cause before there is any produced effect.

12. And this is true both as regards physical and moral effects.

13. Our intuitions, as the final arbiters of judgment, demand this or some
equivalent order as the only one embraced in a logical praxis.

And since there can be no sound without an ear to appreciate it, so there
be can no matter without an existing _ego_, in some state of consciousness
in the universe, to apprehend it--to ascribe to it attributes.[2] On what,
therefore, are we to predicate the existence of either matter or motion,
except it be these intuitions of consciousness whose validity, so far as
we have any knowledge whatever on the subject, rests exclusively on that
"breath of life," which was breathed into man when he became a living
soul? But if our intuitions are not realities, then nothing is a reality.
All is as unsubstantial, as vague and shadowy, as Coleridge's "image of a
rock," or Bishop Berkeley's "ghost of a departed quantity," as he once
defined a fluxion. We may, therefore, retort upon Professor Bastian:--The
"materialists," must give up their last stronghold--we cannot even grant
them a right to assume the existence of either matter or motion, since
both manifestly depend, for their slightest manifestation, upon the more
potent agency of "vital force," as expressed in thought, volition, and
consciousness--that triumvirate of the intellectual faculties without
which neither matter nor motion could have so much as a hypothetical
existence.

The great trouble with Professor Bastian, as with Mr. Herbert Spencer, is
that he advances a purely materialistic hypothesis, and then goes to work,
with his quantitative and conditional restrictions, to eliminate all vital
force from the universe. As he has been no more successful in finding
God--the Infinite source of all life--at the point of his
dissecting-knife, than has the speculative chemist at the bottom of his
crucible, or Mr. Spencer at the top of his ladder of synthesis, he
resolutely grapples with logic, as a last resort, and as remorselessly
syllogizes God out of the universe as he would a mythological demon
infecting the atmosphere of his dissecting-room. In the same way, he
successfully syllogizes all life out of existence: although, in the very
act of constructing his syllogism, he demonstrates its existence as
conclusively as that matter and motion are objective realities in the
world of mind and matter which is about him. He fails to see, however,
that the thing which demonstrates must necessarily precede the thing
demonstrated, as life must necessarily precede its manifestation. In
admitting the existence of "vital manifestation," therefore, he virtually
admits an antecedent vital principle, lying back of an effect as a cause,
which must exclude anything like a contradictory judgment, so long as the
laws of the human mind, in respect to logical antecedents and consequents,
remain as they are.

Whatever may be the alleged inaccuracies of the Bible Genesis or the
disputes heretofore indulged in respecting the _Hagiographa_, or "sacred
writings" of the Jews, it will hardly be denied by the Biblical scholar
that some of the most important discoveries in modern science, especially
in the direction of astronomy, as well as in geological research and
inquiry, confirm rather than throw doubt upon their more explicit
utterances. This has been so marked a feature in the controversy, that
whenever scientific speculation has thrown down any fresh gage of battle,
as against the validity of these "sacred writings," the advocates of the
latter have only had to take it up to dispel the mists of controversy and
achieve a more conclusive triumph than ever. For the truth of this
statement it is only necessary for us to instance a few of the more
important facts contained in the Bible Genesis. And should it be found
that the writer of this volume has discovered, in a long overlooked, much
neglected, and inaccurately translated passage of this Genesis, a key that
unlocks the whole "mystery of life," as the great battle is now waging
between the materialists and vitalists of this country and Europe, it will
most conclusively establish the point we shall here make--that in no
equally limited compass, in ancient or modern manuscript or published
volume, since the first dawn of letters to the present time, are there to
be found so many conclusively established facts of genuine scientific
value as in the first chapter of Genesis.

In dispelling the mists of prejudice, and possibly of doubtful
translation, let us look this "genesis" squarely in the face:--

1. Take the statement that "in the beginning" the earth was without form
and void, and darkness rested upon the face of the depths. Here is not
only no conflict with science, but the great suggestive fact which led
Laplace to construct his "Nebular Hypothesis," or that magnificent
system of world-structures which regards the universe as originally
consisting of uniformly diffused matter filling all space, and hence
"without form and void," but which subsequently became aggregated by
gravitation into an infinite number of sun-systems, occupying
inconceivably vast areas in space.

2. Nor can science well afford to cavil at that other most important
suggestive statement that "the spirit of God"--the great formative force
of the universe--moved upon the face of the depths, after which the
evening and the morning were the first day, that is, the first distinctive
epoch in the order of creation. When materialistic science shall define
"gravitation"--the supposed aggregating force of infinitely diffused
matter in space--so as to make it a distinct and separate factor in the
universe from "the spirit of God,"--that spirit which was breathed into
man when he became a living soul, and which, we are told, "upholds the
order of the heavens," then its devotees may sneer at the Bible Genesis,
and the logical deductions to be drawn therefrom.

3. Again, science can have no conflict with the Bible Genesis, except in
the most hypercritical way, in the affirmative statement that God set two
great lights in the firmament, the one to rule the day and the other to
rule the night; and that "he made the stars also." For it is nowhere
stated that the "greater light" was not made to perform a similar office
for each of the other planets of our system, or that it was not set in the
firmament to adorn the skies of other and far-distant worlds, as "bright
Arcturus, fairest of the stars," adorns our own.

4. Nor can materialistic science dispute the more explicitly revealed
fact, that the order of creation, so far at least as animal and vegetable
life are concerned, is precisely that to be found in geological
distribution, or as unerringly recorded in the lithographic pages of
nature. And yet nothing was known of these pages--not a leaf had been
turned back--at the time the Bible Genesis was written. So that, whoever
was its author, this precise order of distribution could only have been
"guessed at," setting aside its inspirational claims, by the writer of
this most remarkable genesis.

5. And again, science can have no successful conflict--certainly none in
which she will ultimately come off victor--in reference to the equally
explicit statement that every living thing, and every living creature,
either yields seed, bears fruit, or brings forth issue, "after his kind,"
and distinctively none other. For this would seem to be the one inflexible
law governing all living organisms, from which there can be no divergence
in any such sense as the "scientific genesis," pretentiously so called,
would authoritatively indicate. No "increase in variety," which Mr.
Spencer regards as the "essential characteristic of all progress," will
ever enable us "to gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles."

6. Nor will materialistic science ever succeed in overthrowing the Bible
theory herein advanced, that "the germs of all living things, man only
excepted, are in themselves (that is, each after its kind) upon the
earth," and that they severally make their appearance whenever the
necessary environing conditions occur. This most remarkable statement of
the Bible genesis will be found to fit into all the vital phenomena
occurring upon our globe, explaining the appearance of infusoria, all
mycological and cryptogamic forms, as well as all vegetal and animal
organisms. All these come from "the earth wherein there is life," and
hence the divine command for the earth "to bring forth" every living thing
(except man) "after his kind."

But let us embrace, in the proper antithetical summary of statements, some
of the more distinctive points of antagonism between the Bible genesis and
that of materialistic science:--

THE BIBLE GENESIS.

1. The Bible Genesis presents the theological conception of a God, or an
Infinite Intelligence in the universe, with whom, as personified, there is
no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

2. The Bible Genesis represents every living thing as _perfect_ of its
kind, which the earth was commanded to bring forth from seed or "germs,"
declared to be in themselves upon the earth.

3. The Bible Genesis represents God as causing to grow, out of the ground,
every tree that is "pleasant to the sight and good for food," also every
plant of the field "before it was in the earth," and every herb of the
field "before it grew."

4. The Bible Genesis represents God as causing the waters of the earth to
bring forth abundantly great whales and every living creature that moveth
therein, and every winged fowl that flieth above the earth in the open
firmament of heaven.

5. The Bible Genesis represents God as causing the earth to bring forth
every living creature "after his kind," enumerating them in the order in
which they appear in geological distribution.

6. The Bible Genesis represents God as making man in his own image, after
he had commanded the waters and the earth to bring forth abundantly of
every other living creature.

7. The Bible Genesis represents God as breathing into man "the breath of
life," and he became a "living soul,"

8. The Bible Genesis represents God as creating the earth for the abode of
man--giving him dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air,
the beasts of the earth, and of every living thing that creepeth upon the
face of the earth.

9. The Bible genesis represents God as exercising a moral government over
man, to the exclusion of every other living creature.

10. In fine, the Bible Genesis represents man as only "a little lower than
the angels."


THE SCIENTIFIC GENESIS.

1. The Scientific genesis virtually eliminates the idea of a God from the
universe, by assigning to natural causes all the diversified and
myriad-formed phases and changes that have taken place therein, extending
through an infinite duration of past time, and constantly confronted by an
infinite duration of time to come.

2. The Scientific Genesis represents every living thing as more or less
_imperfect_ of its kind, but advancing towards perfection by some
underlying law of variability or selection of the fittest, or by gradual
development from lower into higher organisms.

3. The Scientific Genesis emphatically repudiates the idea of any divine
agency in the growth of plants and trees, and insists that "life," in all
its manifold phases, is only "an undiscovered correlative of motion," or,
at best, only a sort of _tertium quid_ between matter and motion.

4. The Scientific Genesis represents all fishes, amphibia, reptiles,
birds, etc., as travelling along their respective lines of developmental
progress and differentiation, from points far back in geologic time, and
constantly working their way up from cold and flabby creatures into those
of higher cerebral activity, and brighter and more varied life, until
gigantic winged reptiles mounted into the air and became birds.

5. The Scientific Genesis attributes the appearance of every living
creature upon the earth to a law of "evolution," by which one thing
constantly overlaps another, forming a sort of stairway for lower
organisms to climb into higher, without regard to "kind," or even orders,
genera, or species.

6. The Scientific Genesis distinctly takes issue with that of the Bible
respecting the divine origin of man, and insists that he has been climbing
up from protoplasmic matter, through a thousand other and lower organisms,
until he finally leaped from an anthropoid ape into man.

7. The Scientific Genesis emphatically repudiates the idea of a soul as
thus derived, and even insists that "conscience," the highest known
moral factor in the universe, is only a modified expression of the
social instincts of the lower animals--the difference being in degree
only, not in kind.

8. The Scientific Genesis promptly takes issue with this creative plan and
purpose--insisting, in the dazzling speculations and fancies of its
adherents, that well known physical and physiological laws have worked out
all these phenomenal aspects and changes, and that these laws are wholly
indifferent as to whether man shall have dominion over the shark and the
tiger, or they dominion over him.

9. The Scientific Genesis illogically insists that "natural laws,"--those
expressing no sovereign will, and having "no seat in the bosom of
God"--are fully adequate for the government of man, he exercising to that
end all the higher powers with which, by evolutional changes, he has
become endowed.

10. While the Scientific Genesis represents him as only a little higher
than the apes!

And yet no scientific authority has ever been claimed for these sacred
Hebrew writings. They were simply designed as a rule of human faith and
conduct, ostensibly having the divine sanction, and containing historical,
devotional, didactic, and prophetical writings, to be read through, at
least once a year, in the Jewish synagogues.

But the most important of these antithetical statements, so far at least
as modern scientific research and inquiry are concerned, is that which
represents the germs of all living things--man alone excepted--as being
implanted in the earth itself. We take the definition of the Hebrew word
_ZRA_, translated "seed" in the 11th verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis,
from Professor Edward Leigh, of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, in his "Critica
Sacra," first published in 1662:--"_Sparsit, asparsit, cum aspersione
fudit, diffudit_," etc, that is, "something sown, scattered, universally
diffused, everywhere implanted," as a germ in the earth. That the Hebrew
word _ZRA_. does not mean, in this connection, the seed of a plant or
tree, is manifest from the fact that the first plant or tree, from which
"seed" could have been derived, had not yet appeared upon the earth.

The exact translation is, "whose primordial germs are in themselves (that
is, each after its kind) upon the earth," implanted therein, as the
"_diversa diversorum viventium primordia_" of Dr. William Harvey, were
originally implanted in the earth. This illustrious physician and
biologist, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, not only taught
the doctrine expressed in his phrase "_omne vivum ex ovo_," but that of
"primordial germs"--living indestructible "principles of life"--existing
in the earth itself. For it is evident that he uses the word "egg," in its
more general sense, as designating any material substance capable of
receiving his "primordium" (first principle of life) and developing itself
into a living organism.

The whole controversy, as at present conducted by the materialists and
vitalists, resolves itself into this one question:--Whether life springs
from what Dr. Harvey calls a "primordium,"--a pre-existing vital germ or
unit--or whether it originates _de novo_, as the materialists assert, from
infusions contained in their experimental flasks, or from plastide
particles contained in protoplasmic matter, or from the still more daring
hypothesis of "molecular machinery" as worked by molecular force? It is
certain that the materialistic theory is quite as inexplicable, on the
basis of analogical reasoning and microscopical investigation, as that
indicated in the Bible Genesis; while the vitalistic theory would seem to
be more in harmony with vital phenomena, and hence the more rational
hypothesis of the two. Besides, the Bible Genesis answers to the logical
necessity of predicating a determinate cause for each and every vital
effect, or each living organism apparently springing from plasmic
conditions or mere structureless matter. Whenever the seeds of plants or
trees are actually planted or sown in the earth, this logical necessity
rests on an induction impregnably laid in cause and effect; while the
materialistic dogma, _nihil ex nihilo_, would necessitate a like induction
wherever seed is not sown. In either case the change that ensues is
manifestly due to vital properties, whether the same be inhering in the
seed, or in necessary environing conditions. And the vital processes are
the same, with the single difference as to actual environment.

The germ in the seed is capable of assimilating, by well-determined and
thoroughly specialized processes, the nutrient matter contained in its
environment, precisely as the "primordial germ" develops under its
environing conditions. From the moment they strike their rootlets into the
ground, the processes of development and growth are the same. The only
point, however, necessary to make in this connection, is, that when we go
back to the first living organism of a species--its primordially developed
form--we necessarily reach environing conditions within which there is no
such thing as a germ-cell with an exterior environment corresponding to
the testa of seeds, or to any conceivable notion we may have of seeds
themselves.

At this point--one not merely theoretical, or speculatively possible only,
but absolutely fixed and determinable in our backward survey of the vital
forces of nature--we find individual parentage lost in a natural matrix,
or in the vital principle implanted as a "primordium," in the earth
itself. To this inevitable induction of Dr. Harvey we are all driven in
the end, by those intuitive processes of reasoning which are hardly less
conclusive than mathematical induction itself. We may call these
"primordia viventium" plastide particles, bioplasts, vital units, or
whatsoever we will,--the name is nothing, the working process is
everything. Scientific speculation accomplishes nothing, therefore, by its
new terminology, except it be to confound the ignorant and astonish the
wise. To call the homogeneous basis of an egg "blastima," and its germinal
point a "blastid," is all well enough in its way; but it adds no new
knowledge, nor additional wealth of language, wherewith to predicate vital
theories, whether they relate to the progeny of a hen-coop or the lair of
a tiger in an Indian jungle.

Teach us to know what nature _does_, not what she _is_; and whatever of
"divine revelation" is vouchsafed us, whether it be found in the majestic
"Poem of the Dawn," attributed to the inspired pen of Moses, in the
"myriad-minded Shakespeare," or the irradiated and deeply-prophetic soul
of a Shelley, let us accept it with thanks, if not to the inspired authors
themselves, at least to "the great Giver of life" who imparted their
inspiration.

We accept the theory of "primordial germs," not simply because it is
contained in the Bible Genesis, nor because it was conceived by the great
and gifted Harvey as a possible solution of the whole difficulty, but
because it presents, as we have before said, a satisfactory explanation of
all the phenomenal facts of life with which we are acquainted. If Mr.
Herbert Spencer will descend from his stilted theory of "molecular
machinery worked by molecular force," and tell us what it all means; and,
at the same time, turn us out a single plastide particle, or fungus spore,
by any generating process referable to "the machinery" in question, we
will as devoutly worship Matter and Motion as ever ancient Egyptian did
the god Osiris. But until he does this, we prefer to accept the positive
assurance of Professor Lionel S. Beale, a far more competent authority to
speak of hypothetical molecules, that none of the "forces possessed by the
molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of the universe was composed"
ever produced a vital manifestation, or succeeded in "making life a slave
to force." We shall consider this question of "molecular force" in its
proper place, and with reference to the different theories of life
advanced by the materialists, without pursuing it further in this
connection.

The evidence we shall present in reference to the alternations of forest
growths, and the impossibility of accounting for them on any theory of
seed-distribution--alternations covering, in many instances, independent
forests springing up on a vast scale--and the still wider dispersion of
domestic weeds, grasses, forage plants, etc. in localities where they were
never known before, will be conclusive, we think, of the correctness of
our position, that the Bible Genesis contains _the true key to the mystery
of life_. Bear in mind that the true theory of life, whenever it shall be
reached in human conception and formulated into definitely-known processes
of action, must satisfactorily explain all life-manifestations, as
Newton's theory of gravitation accounts for the movements of all celestial
bodies. And the simpler the theory when once formulated--the more
perfectly it falls into the grooves of definitely-expressed thought, and
the more harmoniously it adapts itself to all vital manifestations--the
more conclusive must be the induction on which it rests.[3] The emphatic
statement that the "primordial germs" of all living things are in the
earth, from the lowest infusorial form to the highest vital organism below
"specifically-created" man, when supplemented by the scientific statement
that "vital units" make their appearance whenever environing conditions
favor, is conclusively a theory which accounts for all the
life-manifestations heretofore occurring upon our globe.

And this theory falls at once into the necessary categories of human
thought. Life, as generally defined, is a state of organized being wherein
there is functional activity; while a state, or _status_, is an incidence
determined by environing conditions. But back of each of these--life and
its _status_--there must lie some efficient cause, producing, in the first
instance, the environing conditions, and then the functional activity
dependent on organization. To assume that this efficient cause is simply
the effect or result of organization--one of its dependent conditions--is
begging the whole question, and, at the same time, discarding a very
important element in the problem--that of conditional environment. What
this efficient cause _is_, is a question that awakens no responsive
inquiry. It strikes its roots too deeply into the intuitions of
consciousness for the soul to give back an intelligible reply. Certain it
is that neither metaphysical speculation, nor scientific inquiry, will
ever enable us to reach the roots of this question, or extract from them
the first quantitive essence of life itself.

We shall also consider, in their proper place, the various theories of
life which have been advanced from time to time by the materialists, in
their avowed hostility to current religious beliefs, and especially those
founded on the sacred Hebrew writings, and the supplementary teachings of
the New Testament. And to show the extent of this hostility, and the real
_animus_ of those waging it, it is only necessary to refer to the great
central doctrine of the Sacred Scriptures, that Life--natural, spiritual,
eternal--is "the gift of God." And this is the grand corner-stone of all
religious edifices--those erected by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the
Phoenicians, the Greeks, and even the inhabitants of farther India.
Materialistic science must, therefore, deal its first and most effective
blows at "Life," either as a theory to be resolutely assailed and
overthrown, or else thoroughly ignored and set aside, in the more imposing
and august temple of Science. Hence, the reader will find, in none of the
great encyclopedias prepared under the supervision of scientific men, the
slightest mention whatever of "Life" as a subject worthy of consideration
at their hands. It finds, of course, its meagre definitional place in the
dictionaries, but the bulky and more exhaustive encyclopedias have no room
for it, except as it may be defined, under some correlate of motion, as
"the latent possibility of a nebula," or of "undifferentiated primeval
mist," originally pervading the interplanetary spaces.

We have no disposition to charge such materialists as Professors Tyndall,
Bastian, Haeckel, Virchow, and Mr. Herbert Spencer, with directing their
experimental batteries against the phenomenal facts of "life" for the
purpose of overthrowing the foundations of religious faith and belief in
the world. They are all eminent scientists, and apparently earnest seekers
after truth in the several directions in which their respective paths of
investigation have been pursued. But they manifestly array their opinions
against the vitalists on the assumption that there is no scientific value
whatever in the many and singularly diversified statements respecting
"life" in both the Old and New Testaments. And this, it may be claimed, is
necessitated by the generally accepted dogma, that science and religion
are more or less hostile, the former resting on the inexorable logic of
facts only, and the latter entirely on _pre_conceived and _pre_judicial
notions respecting faith and belief. To this position of theirs we have no
objection to make, so long as they subject their scientific statements to
the one rigid ordeal of positively ascertained facts. But when they set
themselves to spinning their theories of life on the strength of "nebular
potentialities," and the possibilities of "undifferentiated sky mist," we
must insist that they are infinitely wider of the mark than the
theologians who claim that the great formative power of the universe is
God, and that his "spirit," and not gravitation, "upholds the order of the
heavens:"--certainly much wider of the mark than was Pope, when he wrote
of the universe:--

  "All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
  Whose body nature is, and God the soul."

The truth is, that religion is quite as much the handmaid of science as
science can be said to be the handmaid of religion. She breathes far more
household laws for her devotees, if she does not veil her "sacred fires"
more modestly from the sight of men. She is certainly less dogmatic, less
dictatorial, less abounding in positive assertion, than what now passes
for "science," in the popular estimation. Perhaps Mr. Herbert Spencer
represents the scientific side of a greater number of questions agitating
the public mind to-day, than any other one man, and he is still
industriously engaged in solving, or endeavoring to solve, a greater
number of social problems. And yet the most enthusiastic admirer of this
gentleman will be forced to admit, when driven to the wall of actual
controversy, that one-half, if not two-thirds, of his more formidable
statements, put forth in the name of science, remain undemonstrated as
scientific truths. We are thankful enough, however, for the one-third he
has vouchsafed us to let the other two-thirds pass as the dogmatic
achievements of his wonderfully gifted pen.

Professor Beale asks the question, whether "a man who has the gift of
science must ever be wanting in the gift of faith?" It is certain that
this inquiry sharply emphasizes the antagonism at present existing between
materialistic science and religious faith. But there is only one reason
why this antagonism should be continued, and that is, the persistent claim
of science to superior recognition in all cases where there is the
slightest apparent conflict between the two. Certainly no man ever did
more to popularize the genuine truths of science in this country than
Professor Agassiz, or worked more successfully to that end. He was willing
to place the decorative wreath on the starry forehead of science, but
refused to pluck from the soul "the starry eyes of faith and hope," that
man might be dwarfed down to the "nearest of kin" to the anthropoid ape.

When we come to this assumed relationship in genetic types, we have not so
much as laid the first abutment of the bridge by which these revivers of
Lucretian materialism would span the chasm between mind and matter,
between the spiritual and physical side of man, between dark brute sense
and "a soul as white as heaven." For going back to undifferentiated
primeval mist, and following down the whole line of vital phenomena, from
whatever subtle molecular combinations their first manifestation may have
arisen, until we reach the highest differentiated organism below man, we
shall find the chasm between the physical and the psychical not a
thousandth part spanned. And even if man, with the assistance of all the
maleficent spirits that "walk the air both when we wake and sleep," could
span this chasm, it would be only by another bridge of Mirza across which
no daring mortal could ever pass.

Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his "Principles," thinks he has mastered the
necessary psychological, if not mechanical, engineering for the successful
construction of this bridge. In that branch of his work entitled the
"Principles of Psychology," he so far abandons the exact scientific method
as to take up psychical phenomena, and deal with them genetically, as he
would with the phenomenal manifestations of organic life, in the
continuous chain of ideas every where presented as consecutive thoughts in
the universe. He finds, or claims to find, in these psychical
manifestations, a constant tendency towards differentiation--towards
advanced and continuously advancing differences, varieties, and new modes
of thought--the same as, or similar to, those taking place in living
organisms. He accordingly assumes, for the science of mind, as complete a
foundation on which to base the doctrine of "evolution," as in the case of
either physical or physiological science. But he is no less troubled, in
this psychological realm, with divergent varieties, and exceptional
variations and changes, than when he plants himself on the more solid
substratum of life in the abounding realm of nature. His psychological
differentiations present too many and constantly-shifting divergencies and
re-divergences--exceptional branchings in one direction, and still more
exceptional in another--to admit of any sufficiently potentiated
potentiality for bridge timber. The arch to such a bridge would have to
abut, according to Professor Tyndall, on a vital foundation at one end,
and spring from undifferentiated sky-mist at the other.

The bridge will never be built.



Chapter II.

Life--Its True Genesis.



The profound Newton did not attempt to show what the gravitative force of
the universe was. He bore himself more modestly, only endeavoring to show
that such a force existed, and that it accounted for all the movements of
celestial bodies, even to their slightest perturbations. He frankly
admitted his inability to determine what this force was, but by
observations and calculations made with the greatest care, he ascertained
that its action upon matter was proportional to its mass directly, and to
the square of its distance inversely; and, with the requisite data and the
principles of pure geometry, he demonstrated that this mysterious
force--utterly inapproachable by human conception in its mystery--not only
governs and controls the movements of all the mighty masses of matter
rolling in space, but transmits its influence--not successively, but
instantly and without diminution--to the smallest conceivable molecule on
the outlying boundaries of the universe. In the same calm and
comprehensive spirit, if it be possible for us to reach it, let us look
upon this mysterious force called "life," not to show that it is simply a
"correlate" of this or that motion (a thing utterly impossible of
demonstration, if it actually exists), but to ascertain how and in what
way it acts, and by what known law, if any, it is governed.

In all the vast realm of Reality there is no more conclusive and palpable
fact than that "life" exists--appearing wherever the bright light flashes,
the loving raindrop falls, the dancing brook ripples, the sparkling
streamlet murmurs, and the broad river flows to mingle with the sea. All
along this bright pathway of sunlight and cool translucent wave, this
wonderful principle of vitality manifests itself in all-glorious
life--filling the air with balmy odors; making perennial bud, leaf and
flower, speeding from sire to son, from heart to heart, from spirit to
spirit, from age to age, from time into eternity.[4] For like all living
principles, in this realm of Reality, it cannot die. It is immortal in its
primal source, immortal all along its bright pathway, immortal as it flows
onward to eternity, immortal in its return to the bosom of God. It is no
postulate, no corollary, no mere hypothetical judgment; no "undiscovered
correlative of motion," no "baseless fabric of a vision"--but the one
grand comprehensive _Datum_ on which all the objective, as well as
subjective, data of the universe rest. It is the same "spirit that moved
upon the face of the depths," in that majestic Dawn of Creation when the
"evening and the morning were the first day;" the same spirit that
"upholds the order of the heavens;" that pervades the vast realm of
Reality, that flashes in the bright sunlight, descends in the loving
raindrop, ripples in the dancing brook, sparkles in the murmuring stream,
and forever flows onward bearing its primal fulness to the sea.

To deny the existence of this vital principle because we cannot bottle it
up in our airless flasks: to reduce it to some unknown correlate of motion
because it constantly defies our poor mental grasp; to insist upon its
artificial production because elementary substances may be chemically
handled in our laboratories--is the same sort of preposterous folly that
Newton would have been guilty of, had he attempted to show that there was
no such thing as "gravity" in the universe; that it was only some
undiscovered correlative of a thermal limit,--some unknown molecular
complexity or entanglement in cosmic ether--some spontaneously occurring
affinity or antagonism of ethereal molecules in the interplanetary
spaces--some "potentiated potentiality" of mere sky-mist,--conditions of
which he could have had no experimental knowledge, nor have given the
slightest analogical proof. That we are justified in thus partially
travestying the technical methods of some of our modern scientists, so
called--especially those of the materialistic school--those advocating a
purely physical theory of life, we need only quote a sentence or two from
Professor Lionel S. Beale, of King's College, London. This eminent
physiologist, in his recent work on "The Mystery of Life," says:
"Notwithstanding all that has been asserted to the contrary, not one vital
action has yet been accounted for by physics and chemistry. The assertion
that life is correlated force rests upon assertion alone, and we are just
as far from an explanation of vital phenomena by force-hypotheses as we
were before the discovery of the doctrine of the correlation of forces."
And he further adds that each additional year's labor, in this special
field of investigation, "only confirms him more strongly than ever in the
opinion that the physical doctrine of life cannot be sustained."

Many able and eminently learned physiologists have been disposed to
recognize the presence of pre-existing "germs" in the earth, but not to
the extent of accounting for all life-manifestations therein, as the
doctrine is conclusively taught in the Bible Genesis. The language of this
genesis is too clear and explicit to be misunderstood, in its proper
renderings. It especially emphasizes the remarkable and most extraordinary
statement, at least for the period in which it was written, that all life
comes primordially from the waters and the earth. Note the order in which
the command "to bring forth" was issued:--

1. Let the earth bring forth its vegetation.

2. Let the waters bring forth the fishes, the amphibia, the reptiles, _the
fowl of the air_.

3. Let the earth bring forth the beast, the cattle, every living creature,
and everything that creepeth upon the earth--each after his kind.

4. _Let us make man in our own image_.

And this is the precise order in which the Scientific genesis proceeds,
with all the lithographic pages of nature turned back for its inspection.
Before vegetation there could have been no animal life upon the globe.
This fact is most conclusively proved, not only by geographic and
paleontologic records, but by legitimate induction. From the highly
crystalline, and, for the most part, non-fossiliferous era, far back in
the Laurentian period, down, in the order of time, to the modern or
post-tertiary period, there is one continuous history of
life-manifestations, written upon the stratified rocks, in the order of
the Bible Genesis. Was this mere guess and fancy on the part of the
writer, even to the seemingly improbable element wherein is assigned the
origin of the "fowl of the air?" Bear in mind that nothing was known of
geological distribution at the time this most remarkable genesis was
written. Had there been, it is certain that the careful and painstaking
Hesiod, who suffered no important fact of the _Cosmos_ to escape him,
would have given us some hint of it in his "Works and Days;" for Greece
was, even in his early day, largely the recipient of Phoenician learning
and literature, as she was certainly Phoenicia's foster-child in letters.

But the more conclusive proofs of the correctness of the order of
creation, as given in the Bible Genesis, are to be found in the accurate
observations of modern geological science. Before there could have
appeared in the primeval oceans any living organism, even the lowest
primordial forms of crustacea, there must have been marine
vegetation--that springing from inorganic matter and laying the foundation
of organic life. Plants originate in, and are solely nourished by,
inorganic substances; or, to speak more definitely, they originate from
primordial germs--the first elementary principles of life--whenever
inorganic conditions favor, and, assimilating air, water, and other
inorganic materials, convert them into organic substances, or such as
answer to the conditions of organic life. In doing this, they take up and
decompose carbonic acid, retain the carbon, and give off oxygen--a vital
process not known to occur in the case of animal life. That their
primordial germs, or vital units, are in the earth, as the Bible Genesis
declares, is conclusively shown by the experimental processes first
successfully entered upon by the Abbé Spallanzani, Charles Bonnet, and
others, and more recently renewed and advocated by M. Pasteur, and his
co-laborers in super-heated flask experimentation, as well as logically
established by inductive methods.

_Nihil ex nihilo_ is conceded to be as conclusive an induction as _omne
vivum ex vivo._ That is, as without some chemical unit--some primary least
considered as a whole--there can be no chemical action, so without some
vital unit, in the same primary sense, there can be no vital
manifestation. The doctrine of "chemical units" is universally conceded,
and that of "morphological units" almost as universally claimed. What
greater incongruity is there, then, in assuming the presence between the
two of a physiological or vital unit? [5] At all events, it is as
impossible to demonstrate the non-existence of the one unit as the other.
And so long as legitimate induction supports the doctrine of the Bible
Genesis, it is useless to indulge in a contrary assumption which is wholly
without verification or proof.

But to return to land vegetation. This appeared and flourished throughout
the Devonian period, if not anterior to it, and long before the appearance
of batrachian reptiles and other low air-breathing forms of life. In fact,
there could have been no life-breathing atmosphere until the earlier land
vegetation had whipped out its more destructive elements, and paved the
way, in necessary conditions, for the appearance of air-breathing animals.
Hence the command for the earth to bring forth both marine and land
vegetation--the vegetation of the earth--before there was any similar
command respecting either marine or land forms of organic life. But by
what logical method was this exact order inferred in the Bible Genesis?
Neither the Jews, nor their earlier Hebrew ancestors, nor the Phoenicians
before or after them, were in any sense of the word metaphysicians; nor
did their language admit of those nicer distinctions and speculative
conclusions which would have enabled any writer using it, thousands of
years ago, to draw the commanding induction contained in this remarkable
genesis. There is nothing in the incomparable methods of M. Comte, or the
metaphysical spirit of Herbert Spencer, in his most daring speculations,
which gives the world a more legitimate and conclusive induction than is
contained in this simple statement of the order of creation. That it
should have been a mere piece of guess-work on the part of Moses, or any
other writer of his time,--covering, as it does, so many particularities
of statement, all according with the exact observations of geologic
science, and supported by paleontologic records,--requires quite as much
credulity of judgment as to accept it for divinely inspired truth. A
disciple of M. Comte might object to this conclusion as susceptible of two
interpretations, the one a legitimate induction, and the other not. But
the mind of the profounder reasoner would accept the interpretation which
is supported by the higher reason, and validated by the greater number of
conclusively-established facts. In the case of a strongly intuitive mind,
it might be possible to guess the exact order of three or four apparently
disconnected events, but to arbitrarily associate with them other and more
distinctively subordinate occurrences, like the appearance or
disappearance of whole groups and classes of plants and animals, the
supposition that guess-work, and not positive information, governed in the
formation of a judgment, is at once rejected because of its utter
incredibility.

It is not our purpose, however, either to affirm or dis-affirm the
inspirational claims of the Bible Genesis. We simply take its language as
we find it, stript of its Masoretic renderings and irrational
interpretations, and unhesitatingly aver that the three Hebrew words,
translated in our common version--"whose seed is in itself upon the earth"
--contains, when properly rendered, the key that unlocks the whole
"mystery of life," or, as Dr. Gull emphasizes it, "the grand _questio
vexata_ of the day." It expressly declares that "the primordial germs of
all plant-life (and, inferentially of all life) are in themselves (_i.e._
each after its kind) upon the earth," and we have only to supplement this
physiological statement with the "necessary incidence of conditions," as
formulated by the physicists, to explain every phenomenal fact of life
hitherto occurring upon our globe.

Take all the hints as to the spontaneous origin of life to be met with in
Aristotle; all those subsequently repeated by Lucretius and Ovid; all the
experiments of the renowned Abbé Spallanzani--all the alleged "fantastic
assumptions" of M. Bonnet--all the theories of "panspermism," by
whomsoever advocated--all the fortuitous aggregations of "_molecules
organiques,_" as put forth by the French school of materialists--all the
_primordia viventium_ of the gifted Harvey--all the "molecular machinery"
and "undiscovered correlates of motion" formulated by Herbert Spencer and
Professor Bastian--in fine, all the more brilliant theories of life ever
spun from the recesses of the human brain,--and we shall find that they
all fit into the three simple Hebrew words to be found in the Bible
Genesis, _and all are explained by them._ We say _all_, with one exception
only--that of man. And how inconceivably grand and majestic this
exception! The crowning work of creation was MAN. He came from no "muddy
vesture of decay;" no mere life-creating fiat spoke him into existence. He
who was to have "dominion over all the earth"--who was to be created only
a little lower than the angels--"in the image of God created He him." And,
breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, _he became a living soul_!

Here is the "bridge" over which the "evolutionist" may pass, if he will,
without wearing either the dunce's cap or the ass's ears. It spans the
chasm between the anthropoid ape and man as no other bridge can span it.
Across this bridge is flung the living garment of God, and how grandly,
yet reverently and humbly, did the profound Newton cross it! Oh, ye
defiant iconoclasts of sublime faith in the "old doctrines;" ye who talk
so flippantly of the "potentialities of life in a nebula;" who sit on the
awe-inspiring Matterhorn, at high noon, and muse in sadness over "the
primordial formless fog," teeming with all the mighty possibilities of
myriads of sun-systems like our own; and, musing, sneer, if you can, at
the idea of a "specific creation" in the beginning--of an Infinite
Intelligence that directs and superintends all! Because _you_ cannot
annihilate matter, nor conceive of its annihilation in the infinitessimal
compass of _your_ brain, is that any reason why Infinite power and
intelligence may not have spoken it into existence at _His_ sovereign and
commanding will? If man would presumptuously press towards the threshold
of the Infinite, let him do it reverently, and with humility of spirit,
and not as one "that vaunteth himself of strength," or "multiplieth words
without knowledge."

But let us examine the Bible Genesis a little further in this direction.
It is said in the second verse of the first chapter that "the spirit of
God moved upon the face of the waters," that is, upon the face of the
abyss--the chaotic mass at creation--the earth "without form and void."

What is here meant by "the spirit of God," is that life-giving breath or
power of God which operates (continuously operates) _to impart life to
inanimate nature._[6] From the connection in which it here stands it means
this, as in other connections it means the power which operates
(continuously operates) to produce whatever is noble and good (God-like)
in man. There is no implication in the text that this life-giving
principle or power was suspended in the act of creation. On the contrary,
there is abundant evidence in nature to show that it is just as operative
now as it was in the beginning. One of the definitions given by Professor
Gibbs of this spirit is, "that which operates throughout inanimate
nature," not that which once operated, and then forever ceased its
operations. And Professor Gibbs no doubt meant by "nature," in this
connection, not only all the physical phenomena she presents, but the
aggregate or sum total of all her phenomena, whether active or passive,
animate or inanimate, embracing the world of matter or the world of
mind.[7] "All are but parts of one stupendous whole,"--not a part nature,
and a part not nature.

Again, in the eleventh verse, it is distinctly declared that the _ZRA_.
the "germinal principle of life," is in the earth, producing each living
thing, at least in the vegetable world, after its kind, that is, after its
own class, order, genera, species. Hence, the three distinct and separate
commands given to the earth, or to the earth and its waters, "to bring
forth." No such command would have been given to the earth, had it not
first received its _baptism of life_ from God--in other words, derived the
animating principle of life from the source of all Life.

And hence, also, the two separate averments in the second chapter of
Genesis, both entirely meaningless apart from the construction we here
give it, that "out of the ground made the Lord God to grow" the
vegetation of the earth, and "out of the ground" produced he (or caused
to be produced) every beast of the field, etc.,--all of which has a
definite and comprehensive significance in this one sense only, that the
animating principle of life is in the earth, as the language of this most
remarkable genesis implies. And this seems to have been the patristic
idea, namely, that law and regularity, not arbitrary intervention, nor
any specific act of creation, were what governed in the case of both
vegetal and animal life.

St. Augustine says: "In prima institutione naturæ non quseritur
miraculum, sed quid natura rerum habeat." And it is certain that both St.
Thomas Aquinas and St. Basil held the same view. And they further held
that the animating principle of life once implanted in nature, held good
for all time. But we are not seeking for early and mediæval authority.
What we propose to show is, that nature is still implicitly obeying just
such a law as that implied in the command given her "to bring forth,"
however doubtful may be the authority on which it rests, in the opinion of
our modern scientists.

And how completely does this genesis of life take man out of the
definitional formula embracing the "beasts of the earth." From the lowest
vertebrate, in Mr. Darwin's plexus, to the highest quadrumane (his nearest
allied type to man), covering almost an infinite variety of distinct
living forms, the distance to be traversed, in order to reach man, is
hardly more than one-third the length of the still unlinked and
uncompleted chain. In the average capacity of the monkey's brain-chamber,
to say nothing of his other characteristic differences, the distance is
not half traversed. As a "beast of the earth," he remains allied to his
own type, and nothing higher. Both Darwin's vertebral _plexus_, and
Herbert Spencer's "line of individuation," must begin with the lancelet
and its disputed head, and end in the Catarrhine or Old World monkey. No
_a priori_ induction will ever extend this line _or plexus_ to man. The
developmental chain, if indeed there be one, has no congenital link that
will either drag man down to the "beast of the earth," or lift the latter
up to the transcendent plane of humanity. Each must remain specifically in
his own type, whatever may be their vertical tendencies, upwards or
downwards.[8] And this word "type" implies a fundamental ground-plan--an
archetype--an original conception of what each should unconditionally be,
and what plane each should as unconditionally occupy. Man's place in
nature can never be changed or modified by materialistic speculations.
Whatever theories the materialists may spin into the unsubstantial warp
and woof of their scientific formulæ respecting life, will never stand
before the tenacious and stubborn physiological facts which almost any
thoroughly-informed and well-read scholar of nature may readily present
against them.

Even the wild Indian of our prairies has a more rational conception of
life and its accountabilities, than some of these learned professors
whose theoretical conclusions we find it imperative to handle. With all
his rude, rough nature, hanging like so many mental clogs about him,
this unlettered savage recognizes the fact that the earth is the
_genetrix omnium viventium_, or the living _mother_ on whose bosom he
shall rest when his spirit has passed to the happy hunting-fields
beyond. Unlettered as he is, and unread in any genesis of life, he fails
not to perceive that the earth is forever teeming with the germinal
principles of life, and that when his prairie fires have invaded the
forests in which he had previously hunted the deer, other and different
forest growths are constantly making their appearance, without any
apparent intervention of seeds, but not without the supervisional care
and direction of the Great Spirit,--while many of his hardier prairie
grasses have disappeared, only to give place to the more nutritious
_gramma_ coveted by his favorite game.

And here we may as well anticipate an objection which will be raised
against the presence of this animating principle of life in the earth, as
to meet and answer it further on in the argument. But as the objection to
which we refer is one of those dragon's teeth we do not care to leave
behind us, we will meet it at the very threshold of the controversy. It
will probably be admitted that the vegetation of the earth may appear in
the way and manner indicated in the biblical genesis, the same as
infusorial forms appear in super-heated and hermetically-sealed flasks.
But how about the preëxisting germs or vital units of the mastodon, the
megatherium, and other gigantic mammiferous quadrupeds of the Eocene
period? From what experimental flasks, in the great laboratory of nature,
did they first make their appearance? The objection is a legitimate one,
and we will answer it.

But first, let us do so from the materialist's own stand-point. Time, they
all agree, is practically infinite--past time, as well as future; while
matter is susceptible of an infinite number of diverse movements, changes,
modifications, combinations, etc.,[9] chemically as well as molecularly
considered. This, they claim, is not a mere hypothetical judgment, but a
mathematically demonstrable proposition. Grant it for the sake of the
argument, and then see if the mastodon does not promptly emerge from some
one of their "experimental flasks," as they choose to put it.

For if the number of these diverse movements, changes, modifications,
etc., of matter, have been infinite, in its progress from the lowest
statical to the highest dynamical manifestation, then every possible, as
well as conceivable, form of matter, must have existed somewhere, and at
some time, in nature, even to its highest and most potentially endowed
plasmic form in which there is life. And if this be true, and the
materialists will not deny but rather affirm it, then the inter-uterine
conditions of matter, in the case of all animals (the mastodon included),
as well as the inter-cellular conditions in the case of all plant-life,
must have existed, with their necessary environments, somewhere and at
some time, in the all-hutched laboratory of nature. Hence, in the infinite
number of these changes and combinations--in the countless collocations of
molecules and chemically changed conditions of matter, we have the
possibilities of all terrestrial life-manifestations, as we have, in the
infinite number of cosmical changes, the possibilities of all planetary,
cometary, and asteroidal manifestations. For whenever these vital changes
occur, the life-manifestations dependent thereon, must as inevitably
follow as that infinitely diffused matter should be aggregated by gravity,
or by what Humboldt calls, in his "Cosmos," the "world-arranging
Intelligence" of the universe.

Who shall say, then, that in that immensely remote and long-protracted
era--the Eocene period--in which the gigantic elephantoids first made
their appearance, there did not exist somewhere, in some one of nature's
more cunning and prolific recesses, the exact plasmic conditions necessary
for the appearance of the mastodon? If they existed anywhere (which is
concessively possible), with the necessary environment (also concessively
possible), then the mastodon could no more help wallowing out of his
essential plasma than the earth can help responding to its axial motion.
All things are framed in the prodigality of nature, and she never commits
an abortion upon herself. If both the conditions and necessary environment
were at any time present, as they must have been on the materialistic
theory, the mastodon is just as easily accounted for as the first fungus,
or the first fungus-spore. [10]

All physicists, as well as physiologists, agree that individual species of
both plants and animals have _disappeared_ from the earth for the want of
the "necessary conditions" under which they once lived and flourished.
What greater fallacy is there, then, in the assumption that they
originally _appeared_ from the presence of these identical conditions,
whatever they may have been, and whenever they may have occurred? We put
this question not simply because the Bible Genesis asserts that "_out of
the ground_ made the Lord God to grow" every plant of the field "before it
was in the earth," as well as every herb of the field "before it grew;"
nor because it declares that their primordial germs are in the earth; nor
because it speaks of the earth as containing within itself the "animating
principle of life." But we put it on the irrefragable logic of the
materialist's own premises and conclusions. They may use other and
different physiological terms from what we should care to employ, but
their "correlates of motion," their "molecular force," their "highly
differentiated life-stuff," etc., may possibly mean nothing more than what
we mean by "vital units," "vital forces," "vital conditions," etc. Their
preference for the terms they employ, over essential "qualities" or
"properties" of matter, is entirely due to the obvious invalidity of their
conclusions, except as their physical theory of life may help them out of
an unpleasant dilemma. "Force" is a more convenient term on which to
allege the _de novo_ origin of life--its spontaneous manifestation in
their experimental flasks--than any vital principle primarily inhering in
matter, and manifesting itself whenever conditions favor. It is to
validate their own reasoning that they construct their fallacious
force-premises, from which to draw their materialistic inductions. In
other words, theirs is the fallacy of _non causa pro causa,_ or that
vicious process of reasoning which alleges some other than the real cause
of vital manifestation, and fastens induction where none is legitimately
inferable.

Burdach, Buffon, Pouchet, Needham, and other professed vitalists, agree
that in all life-manifestations there must be some preëxisting vital force
or principle, without which no living thing, whether plant or animal, can
come into existence.[11] M. Pouchet says: "I have always thought that
organized beings were animated by forces which are in no way reducible to
physical or chemical forces." The Abbé Needham is satisfied to formulate a
"force végetative," so far as plant-life is concerned; Buffon invariably
falls back on vital force or energy; and Burdach on a "force plastique,"
which is essentially inseparable from nature in her vital manifestations.
According to the latter, the whole universe is an "_organisme absolu_"
constantly endowed with life, and giving expression to it in all
conceivable directions. And all that these vitalists need, to give a full
interpretation to their facts of observation, is to supplement their
theories with the Bible declaration that the animating principle of life
is in the earth, from which all living things make their appearance, each
distinctively after its own kind, whenever environing conditions favor.
For they severally recognize these "necessary conditions" as inseparable
from all vital manifestation.

An effort has been made to show that Goethe was the great inspired prophet
of the doctrine of "Evolution," as a ceaselessly progressive
transformation of one thing into another, in the metamorphoses of plants
and animals; and Haeckel quotes this passage from him as entirely
conclusive of this point: "Thus much we should have gained (towards
solving the problem of life) that all the more perfect organic beings,
among which we include fishes, amphibians, birds, mammals (and at the head
of the latter, man), to be formed according to an archetype, [12] which
merely fluctuates more or less in its ever persistent parts, and moreover,
day by day, completes and transforms itself by means of reproduction." But
this attempt to give a poetic glorification to Haeckelism in Goethe's
speculations, and bring his commanding name into support of the evolution
theory of development, will prove utterly futile in the light of his
"archetype," and the persistency with which he concedes that nature
adheres to perfected forms.

Goethe accepts the doctrine of _vis centripeta_, beyond the influence of
which no developmental progress can be made in the way of diversifying or
variegating ideal types. In other words, he virtually fixes limits to
variability, from the outermost circumference of which reversion must
inevitably take place. His whole doctrine may be summed up generally, if
not specially, in these words: "The animal is fashioned _by_ circumstances
_to_ circumstances," as the eagle to the air and mountain top, the mole to
the loose soil in which it burrows, the seal to the water in which he
frolics, and the bat to the cave, the twilight, and the night air. We
should rather say that the animal is fashioned, after the Great
Architect's pattern, _to_ circumstances, and is only varied _by_
circumstances, and that within the narrowest limits of variability. For
the most that Goethe means by his "archetype" is an ideal pattern, after
which, or on which, a natural group of plants or animals has been
fashioned within the limits of possible variability. But by whose mind, or
rather within whose mind, was this ideal pattern--this essential
archetype--fashioned? Whence this ideal type, this natural group, this
_Archeus_ pervading all nature and fashioning all organic matter? Not from
the mind of Goethe certainly, nor from that of Aristotle or Lucretius, but
from the one supreme mind of the universe, in which the groups of all
living things were originally fashioned in the archetypal world--that
world "which," according to Bolingbroke, "contains intelligibly all that
is contained sensibly in our world."

This archetypal doctrine of Goethe, coupled, as he couples it, with the
influences of environment, or necessary external conditions, with typical
modifications only, while it entirely harmonizes with the Bible genesis of
types (everything modeled after its kind), is far from aiding, or in any
way abetting, the materialistic hypothesis of Haeckel, unless we make
nature at once the creator and modifier of her own archetype. And even
then the variability of species remains unaccounted for, except as we
attribute to nature a _purpose_ to modify persistent forms under a law
that is immutable even in its variability. For the assumption of an
archetype carries with it an archetypal plan and purpose, with a degree of
intelligence, either in or above nature, capable at once of conceiving the
type and determining the limits of its variability. The question is not,
therefore, as many may seem to think, whether species originate by miracle
or by law, but whether laws and causes can exist independently of any
predetermining will or agency in the universe.

Our language, and that of all civilized peoples on the globe, must be
thoroughly recast, not only in its philological and etymological
character, but in its ideologic, etiologic, and other significations,
before we can successfully fall back on an antecedent cause without an
effect, or an effect without an antecedent cause. Besides, the human mind
would have to undergo as complete a subversion of structure as language
itself, before any such attempt at recasting it, on the basis of modern
materialistic ideas, could possibly prove successful. And then, at least
one-third of our language would have to disappear in this iconoclastic
reform. For instance, take any well-tabulated synopsis of our categories
and their relations, and they would nearly all have to be recast or
entirely abandoned. Time, space, matter, motion, intellect, abstract
ideas, volitions, affections, etc., with their several correlates or
co-relations, would all have to undergo a thorough recasting process. The
personal, intersocial, sympathetic, moral, and religious relations and
obligations, would have to be summarily set aside for future revision, if
not for sweeping rejection. All our ideas of life, materiality,
spirituality, animality, vegetability, sensibility, etc., would have to
fall into greater or less desuetude, the language disappearing with the
ideas. All the words expressing our ideas of a superhuman agency, of God,
angels, heaven, revelation, religious doctrines, sentiments, acts of
worship, piety, human accountability to divine institutions, rites,
ceremonies, etc.,--to say nothing of maleficent spirits, mythological and
other fabulous divinities, entering so largely into the spirit and
machinery of all our best poetry--would utterly disappear from our
language. All our churches, minsters, chapels, tabernacles, cathedrals,
and temples erected to the "living God," embracing the finest and most
majestic architecture of the world, would have to succumb to the
iconoclastic zeal of these materialistic reformers. The ten categories of
Aristotle would disappear in the one category of Haeckel, or possibly the
two categories of Bastian--Matter and Motion! Philologically speaking, we
should all be at sea, drifting, like a set of deaf-mutes, on a wide and
inaudible ocean--all inarticulate, tongue-tied, voiceless--with only the
screeching of the sea-mew, or some other sepulchral bird of the night, to
greet us as in wide-mouthed derision of our speechlessness and folly.

But let us see how the incontestible facts of nature, and the truths of
science, fit into the three simple Hebrew words referring to "germs," or
the germinal principle of life, instead of the natural "seeds" of plants
or trees. We have given what we claim to be the true rendering of these
words. To show how perfectly they harmonize with all the phenomenal
manifestations of life in nature, we hurriedly pass to our third chapter.



Chapter III.

Alternations of Forest Growths.



No fact has more profoundly puzzled the vegetable physiologist than the
alternations of forest growths which are everywhere occurring without the
apparent interposition of natural seeds, and which have been considered as
wholly inexplicable except as one unsatisfactory theory after another has
been suggested to account for the wide dissemination and distribution of
their seeds. We have had any number of these theories, more or less
ingeniously constructed, but it is safe to say that none of them
satisfactorily accounts for more than a very limited number of the
phenomena presented. It is only within a comparatively recent period that
these alternations of timber growth have attracted the attention of
scientific men; consequently little more than crude suggestions and
ill-digested facts are at the command of the general reader and writer.
And yet the facts themselves, such as they are, would fill a dozen volumes
of the size of Dr. Hough's recent "Report upon American Forestry." We can
only give a few of the more important facts we have gathered, and many of
these are so deficient in necessary detail that their value is greatly
lessened for scientific uses. This is especially true of nearly all those
noticed and collated by Dr. Hough, in his report to the United States
Commissioner of Agriculture, made in 1877, in which the alternations in
question are referred to at length, but no new suggestions presented, nor
any very important new facts given.

If our construction of the Bible genesis be the correct one, it will, we
think, be unhesitatingly admitted that all the facts collected and
collated by Dr. Hough, together with others more carefully noticed by our
ablest writers on vegetable physiology, not only harmonize with this
ancient Hebrew text, but so completely fit into it, both in its
implications and explications, that adverse criticism will be awed into
silence rather than provoked into any new controversy on the subject. This
remarkable genesis declares that the germs of all living things are in
themselves upon the earth--"upon the face of all the earth." It is true
that this declaration, as contained in the 11th verse of the first chapter
of Genesis, is textually limited to the vegetation of the earth; but the
further emphatic statement that "the animating principle of life" is in
the earth, coupled with the more substantive fact that God commanded the
waters and the earth to bring forth abundantly of every living creature,
with the single exception of man, conclusively extends the language of the
11th verse to whatever vegetable and animal life the earth was
specifically directed to "bring forth." It is our purpose to consider, in
this connection, not only the various facts noticed and theories suggested
by our ablest writers and thinkers on the subject of seed-distribution,
but to ascertain, as far as possible, to what extent their several facts
and theories harmonize with natural phenomena, and at the same time
determine what disposition should be made of them in the light of this new
genesis, herein for the first time disclosed.

Professor George P. Marsh, in his work on "Man and Nature," in which he
treats largely of forestry in Europe, says that "when a forest old enough
to have witnessed the mysteries of the Druids is felled, trees of other
species spring up in its place; and when they, in their turn, fall before
the axe, sometimes even as soon as they have spread their protecting shade
over the surface, the germs which their predecessors had shed, perhaps
centuries before, sprout up, and in due time, if not choked by other trees
belonging to a later stage in the order of natural succession, restore
again the original wood. In these cases, the seeds of the new crop may
have been brought by the wind, by birds, by quadrupeds, or by other
causes; but, in many instances, _this explanation is not probable_." It is
manifest that Professor Marsh uses the word "germs," in this connection,
in the sense of seeds only; for no seed-bearing trees "shed" any other
germs than the natural seeds they bear. And while he admits that, in many
instances, the generally accepted theory concerning the dissemination of
seeds is not a probable one, he still clings to the exploded notion that
vegetable physiology furnishes a record of "numerous instances where seeds
have grown after lying dormant for ages in the earth." He further says, in
the same connection, that "their vitality seems almost imperishable while
they remain in the situations in which nature deposits them;" although he
is reluctant to accept the accounts of "the growth of seeds which had lain
for ages in the ashy dryness of the Egyptian catacombs," believing that
they should be received with great caution, if not rejected altogether.
But why he should scruple about receiving these speculative accounts of
ancient Egyptian cereals, which are sometimes hawked about the country for
two and three dollars a seed, and, in the same breath, accept the absurder
theory that seeds may lie dormant for ages in soils where the hardest and
most enduring woods will utterly perish and disappear in a few brief
years, is wholly inexplicable to us, except as an hypothesis to force a
conclusion, or to account for the otherwise unaccountable alternations of
forest growths.

But the idea that nature has any cunning devices by which she may hide
seeds away where they will remain "almost imperishable" for ages, is not
entirely new with Professor Marsh, nor is it any suggestion that would
be protected by copyright. In finding the winds, birds, quadrupeds, and
other assumed agencies of distribution improbable, he seeks, with Dr.
Dwight, for "the seeds of an ancient vegetation," and, finding none by
actual observation, concludes that nature has some occult, and
thoroughly surreptitious, method of hiding them away, even in soils
below the last glacial drift, where no microscope can possibly reach
them. As the accounts of seeds taken from the mummy-cases of Egypt may
answer the purposes of those seeking to palm off some new cereal as a
nine-days wonder on the ignorant, so these speculations about the
indestructibility of seeds, when hidden away by nature, may answer a
like purpose in imposing upon the over-credulous; but they will hardly
be accepted by the intelligent, much less the scientific, in the light
of all the facts herein given. The simple truth is that all seeds are
speedily perishable by out-door exposure. We hardly know a single seed
that will survive beyond the second year when subjected to such
exposure. If they do not germinate the first year, their vitality is
utterly gone the second year, as hopelessly so as if they had been cast
into the fire and consumed to ashes.

But there is a large class of vegetable phenomena which wholly excludes
the idea of this wonderful vitality of seeds. It is well known that soil
brought up from deep wells and other excavations, often produces plants
entirely unlike the prevailing local flora. This soil has been brought up,
in many instances, from beneath the last glacial drift, where it must have
remained for not less than a quarter of a million years at the lowest
calculation, and may have remained for millions of years, if not longer;
and yet the same singular phenomenon is presented. Exposed to the sun's
rays, and the fructifying influences of showers and dews, the soil
burgeons forth into an independent flora, and such as are nowhere to be
found in the surrounding locality. The writer, in digging a well in
Waukesha, Wis.,--a place now famous for the curative properties of its
waters--in 1847, struck soil at a depth of about thirty-five feet--that
which was evidently ante-glacial. The place is some twenty miles back from
Milwaukee, and the whole section, far into the interior of the state from
Lake Michigan, is one of drift, covering the primeval soil at various
depths, from a few feet up to a hundred or more; and the imbedded soil
must have remained in its place for untold ages. And yet, it was no sooner
brought to the surface than it produced several small plants that were
wholly unlike the prevailing local flora; although, unfortunately, they
did not sufficiently mature to enable us to determine their genera and
species. Considerable portions of this soil were dried and subjected by
us, and the late Dr. John A. Savage, then president of Carroll College, to
microscopic examination, but without discovering the slightest trace of
any seed, or anything resembling seed, in the several portions carefully
examined. The soil, however, contained, in its imbedded place, several
large Norway spruce logs, in a more or less perfect state of preservation.
But there were no cones, nor chits to cones, to be found in it, although
the most rigid examination was made at the time to discover them. That the
seeds of these delicate little plants should have survived the wreck of
this ancient Norwegian forest, or the drift from one, and burst forth into
newness of life after hundreds of thousands, not to say millions of years,
is decidedly too large a draft upon our credulity to be honored "without
sight." But we will return to the alternations of forest growths.

It is within a comparatively recent period that extensive areas of
hemlock, in Greene and Ulster Counties, N.Y., were cut off to supply the
neighboring tanneries with bark. These clearings were no sooner made than
oak, chestnut, birch, and other trees of deciduous foliage, sprang up and
entirely usurped the place of the hemlock; for the reason, no doubt, that
the soil had become chemically unbalanced for the growth of the latter,
while its condition was entirely favorable for the development of the
"germs" (not the natural seed) of the former. These changes in timber
growths have been widely noticed in all parts of this country, as well as
in Europe, but the universal supposition has been that they came from the
natural seeds of their respective localities, those either scattered by
the winds, or borne thither by the birds, by quadrupeds, or by some other
natural agency. No one has suggested the theory of "primordial germs" or
"vital units," or come any nearer to it than Dr. Dwight did in suggesting
"the seeds of an ancient vegetation." The great truth of the Bible genesis
has been wholly overlooked by reason of a faulty translation in the first
instance, as taken from the Masoretic renderings of the sixth century, and
implicitly followed since.

In 1845, a violent tornado swept a wide strip of forest in Northern New
York, from the more thickly settled portions of Jefferson County to Lake
Champlain. The timber that succumbed to the force of the tornado, and
growing at various points along its track, was mainly beech, maple, birch,
ash, hemlock, spruce, etc.; but it was rarely replaced, at any point, by
the same timber, in the growths that almost immediately followed. The
trees that are now growing along the track of the tornado are principally
poplar, cherry, birch, and a little beech and ironwood: no ash, maple,
spruce, or hemlock, except here and there, at considerable intervals, a
tree or two which may have been replaced by natural seed. The important
fact noticeable, in this connection, is that the aggressive timber--that
replacing the old--entirely usurped the place of the evergreen growths,
supplanting them with those that were wholly deciduous. Besides, it does
not appear that the poplar, the cherry, and the ironwood, which were
altogether aggressive, previously grew near enough to the track of the
tornado to have possibly supplied the seed necessary for their appearance
and growth.

The fact was specially noticeable at the time, and has been widely
communicated since, that the white oak timber cut off at Valley Forge for
fuel and other army purposes in the American camp, in the winter of
1777-78, was succeeded by black oak, hickory, chestnut, etc.--the white
oak entirely disappearing, although by far the most favorably situated for
propagation by seed. But the alternations of forest growths had attracted
too little attention at that time to render the meagre facts given of any
special value to scientific men. If the usurping timber had grown in the
immediate neighborhood (a fact not stated), it might have come from
natural seeds, and not from primordial germs under "favoring conditions."

In the Ohio Agricultural Report of 1872, an account is given of a
storm-track, in that state, which swept for a considerable distance, and
was violent enough to bear down all the timber before it. It is stated
that the path of this tornado (which must have occurred many years ago)
"had grown up with black-walnut, another and different growth from that
prostrated by the force of the storm." In this instance, there were no
neighboring trees, except perhaps at distant intervals, from which the
nuts of the black-walnut could have been derived, unless they had been
promiscuously strewn by the tornado along its entire track. But it is,
unfortunately, not stated that the tornado occurred at that opportune
season of the year when the nuts were properly matured for planting.

In many parts of the United States, particularly in the South and West,
the paths of local tornadoes--those sweeping the native forests long
before the axe of civilization invaded them--may still be traced by the
alternations of timber growths, extending for long distances, and
through forests where there were no neighboring trees from which it was
possible that their seeds could have been derived. One of these
tornadoes the writer traced many years ago (as early as 1837) in South
Alabama, and he is satisfied, both from observation and reading, that
the instances are rare, if not altogether exceptional, where the clean
path of a tornado, through any of our primitive forests, has been
succeeded by the same growth of timber as that borne down by the winds.
Where the path of this ancient tornado of Alabama swept through a pine
forest, a clean growth of oak was buttressed on either side by pine;
and _vice versa_, where it swept an oak forest. And it is certain that
the tornado, whenever it may have occurred, could have exhibited no such
discriminating freak as alternately to distribute acorns in pine
growths, and pine cones in oak growths, either to make good a scientific
theory or balk an unscientific one.

Professor Agassiz, in passing through a dense young spruce forest some
years ago, on the south shore of Lake Superior, noticed that the ground
was thickly strewn with fallen birch trunks, showing that their place had
been but recently usurped by the spruce; and he supposed that the birch
had first succumbed to the force of the winds, and the spruce promptly
taken its place, since, as a general rule, an evergreen growth succeeds a
deciduous, and _vice versa._ We have any number of well authenticated
facts similar to this stated by Professor Agassiz, but we cannot give
place to them, in this connection, without greatly exceeding our limits.

Dr. Franklin B. Hough, in his recent "Report upon American Forestry," to
which we have already referred, says: "It is not unusual to observe in the
swamps of the northern states, an alternation of growth taking place
without human agency. Extensive tracts of tamarack (_Larix Americana_) may
be seen in northern Wisconsin that are dying out, and being succeeded by
the balsam fir (_Abies balsamea_), which may be probably caused by the
partial drainage of the swamps, from the decay or removal of a fallen tree
that had obstructed the outlet." The writer of this work resided for a
period of ten years or more in Wisconsin, and during that time traversed
extensive portions of its territory, both before and after it became a
state. As early as 1844, the extensive tamarack swamps of that region were
manifestly dying out for the want of the proper nutritious elements in the
soil, and the balsam fir rapidly taking its place, especially where the
accumulations of soil, resulting from decayed vegetation, were favorable
for its appearance. The drainage of the swamps had not been thought of at
that time, nor had the swamps themselves been disposed of, to any
considerable extent, by the federal government. They were subsequently
granted to the state for educational purposes, and afterwards purchased up
in the interest of speculative parties.

But the decay of the tamarack had really commenced long before population
found its way, in any considerable numbers, into that section of the
country; and the balsam fir had begun its usurpation, in many of the
swamps, long prior to the advent there of the white man. Neither
artificial drainage, nor accidental drainage, had anything to do with the
appearance of the balsam fir, or the disappearance of the tamarack. The
latter was manifestly dying out for the want of the proper nutriment, and
the former coming in for the reason that the soil was chemically balanced
for the development of its "primordial germs"--those everywhere implanted
in the earth, to await the necessary conditions for their development and
growth. The natural seeds of this balsam fir were not present in either
the first, second, or third tamarack swamp in which this alternation of
growth originally took place. The change commenced as soon as conditions
favored, and not before. It is safe to say that, in none of these tamarack
swamps, was there a single balsam fir cone, or a single chit to a cone,
nor had there probably been for thousands of years, before the time when
the first balsam fir made its appearance in that section. They came, as
all primordial forests come, from germs, not from the seeds of trees.
Universally, the germ precedes the tree, as the tree precedes the seed, in
all vegetal growths, from the lowest cryptogam to the lordliest conifer of
the Pacific slope. Otherwise, we should be logically driven back to an act
of "specific creation," which the materialist stoutly rejects, and the
Bible genesis nowhere affirms.

Mr. George B. Emerson, in his valuable work on the "Trees and Shrubs of
Massachusetts," suggests as a cause (undoubtedly the true one) for the
dying out of old forests, "the exhaustion of the nutritious elements of
the soil required for their vigorous and successful growth." But he is
evidently at fault in his speculations as to the alternations of forest
growths. The Cretan labyrinth that everywhere confronts him is the
"seed-theory," which is so inextricable to him that he constantly
stumbles, as one scientifically blind, yet eager to lead the blind. All
the phenomenal facts with which he deals admirably fit into the Bible
genesis, but he fails to see it because the sublime truth (with him) lies
locked up in an unmeaning translation. He is indefatigable, however, in
his hunt after seeds where there are no seeds, and in his jumps at
conclusions where there are manifestly no data to justify them.

He says: "Nature points out in various ways, and the observation of
practical men has almost uniformly confirmed the conclusion to which the
philosophical botanist has come from theoretical considerations, that a
rotation of crops is as important in the forests as in the cultivated
fields." And he supplements this statement (measurably a true one) by
adding that "a pine forest is often, without the agency of man, succeeded
by an oak forest, _where there were a few oaks previously scattered
through the woods to furnish seed._" This is a very cautious, as well as
circumspect, statement; but one that Mr. Emerson would not have made, had
his experience and observation been that of Professor Agassiz, Professor
Marsh, and others we might name. His few oaks previously scattered through
the woods are no doubt among the "theoretical considerations" taken into
account by him, as a philosophical botanist rather than a practical one.
They were necessary for the extreme caution with which he would state a
proposition when its "conditioning facts" were not fully known by him. His
anxiety to account for the appearance of an oak forest in the place of a
pine, where the latter had been cut off, was commendable enough to justify
him in a pretty broad supposition, but not in any such general statement
as he here makes. Had he consulted any of the older inhabitants of
Westford, Littleton, and adjoining towns, in his own state, he would have
found that not a few oak forests had succeeded the pine without the
intervention of "scattered oaks," or even scattered acorns, in the
localities named. Nor would his "squirrel-theory" of distribution have
been very confidently adhered to, fifty years ago, in localties where the
shagbark walnut was almost as abundant as the white oak itself. No
squirrel will gather acorns where he can possibly get hickory nuts, and
few will gather hickory nuts where the larger and thinner-shelled walnuts
are to be had for the picking. The squirrel is provident, but no more so
than he is fastidious in the choice of his food. He never plants acorns
except for his own gratification, and is never gratified with indifferent
food so long as he can command that which is to his liking.

In further speaking of the "exhausted elements" of the soil--those
necessary for the food of trees as well as plants, and without which they
inevitably perish and disappear--Mr. Emerson says; "This is clearly
indicated in what is constantly going on in the forests, particularly the
fact which I have already stated, and which is abundantly confirmed by my
correspondents, that a forest of one kind is frequently succeeded _by a
spontaneous growth of trees of another kind._" In the sense in which he
manifestly uses the term "spontaneous" in this connection, his new forest
might be accounted for on the theory of "primordial germs," but not on
that of "seeds;" for few trees or shrubs in Massachusetts bear winged
seeds, or possess any other means of dispersion (the _Acer_ family
excepted) than those common to our general forest growths. Spontaneity, in
a strictly scientific sense, is not predicable upon the artificial or
chance sowing of either acorns, hickory nuts, or the chits to pine cones.
A spontaneous growth implies a process which is neither usual nor
accidental--a growth without external cause, but from inherent natural
tendency--and it is questionable whether there is any such process in
nature. It belongs to the same class of idle speculations as "spontaneous
generation" in the infusorial world--a subject that will be considered as
we advance in this work.

Our vegetable physiologists, Mr. Emerson among the number, are simply
unfortunate in their use of terms--those expressing even the commonest
operations of nature. In their genesis of plants and trees they need to
adhere a little more closely to the genesis of induction, and use language
in harmony with the phenomenal facts and characteristics which they are
called upon to explain. But Mr. Emerson was not alone at fault in this
almost universal slip of the scientific pen. He quotes from a letter of
Mr. P. Sanderson, of East Whately, Mass., in which the writer says: "There
is an instance on my farm of spruce and hackmatack being succeeded by a
spontaneous growth of maple wood;" and he adds that "instances are also
mentioned by him (Mr. Sanderson) of beech and maple succeeding oaks; oaks
following pines, and the reverse; hemlock succeeded by white birch in cold
places, and by hard maple in warm ones; beech succeeded by maple, elm,
etc; and, in fact, the occurrence was so common that surprise was
expressed at the asking of the question."

These several alternations in timber growths, effectually vouched for by
Mr. Emerson, occurring "spontaneously" as stated, can hardly be accounted
for on any other theory than the presence of "germs" and "favoring
conditions," such as we have named in connection with the Bible genesis.
They might possibly be explained on the theory of "scattered seeds," if
the several growths had made their appearance gradually, and not
"spontaneously," as stated. The misfortune with Mr. Emerson, as well as
with his several "reliable correspondents," was, that his facts are too
meagrely imparted, in the necessary details, to draw any satisfactory
conclusions from them--such as the nearness or distance of surrounding
trees of the same species, and the possible chances of their seeds taking
lodgment in the soil from which they grew. But, fortunately, there are
facts, and those abundantly substantiated, which entirely negative the
presence of seeds in the soils where these "spontaneous growths" are said
to have appeared. In some instances, they cover large tracts of land, at
distances of thirty, forty, fifty, and even hundreds of miles, from any
native forest from which seed could have been derived.

Dr. Dwight, in the second volume of his "Travels," mentions visiting a
town in Vermont (Panton, near Vergennes), in which a piece of land that
had been once cultivated, but was afterwards permitted to lie waste,
"yielded a thick and vigorous growth of hickory, _where there was not a
single hickory tree in any original forest within fifty miles of the
place_." Of this piece of land he says: "The native growth here was white
pine, of which I did not see a single stem in the whole grove of hickory."
He is greatly puzzled to account for this isolated growth of hickory, but
readily concludes that "the fruit was too heavy to be carried fifty miles
by birds; besides" he adds, "it is not eaten by any bird indigenous to
Vermont." And even if the birds had carried the nuts thither, not one of
them could have been planted there unless the nut-eating bird had been
caught and destroyed on the spot, and the nut released from its crop. This
might account for the appearance of a single tree, but not for a "whole
grove of hickory;" and the squirrels certainly could not have been
provident enough to plant any considerable grove in this particular
locality, and nowhere else within fifty miles of it. The winds could not
have borne them that distance without dropping a single nut by the way,
and there is only one supposition left, which is that indicated in the
Bible genesis.

While Dr. Dwight emphatically rejects the "transportation theory," he
imagined he had solved the difficulty in his suggestion "that the
cultivation of the land had brought up the seeds of a former forest,
within the limits of vegetation, and given them an opportunity to
vegetate." But the utter absurdity of this theory may be demonstrated by
any one inside of two years, by placing hickory nuts, in different soils,
at a depth to which an ordinary plough-point would reach in cultivation;
and then, at the end of the second year, examining those that did not
germinate the first year. The commonest observer of a hickory forest knows
that if the fallen nuts do not germinate the first year, their vitality is
utterly and hopelessly gone. It makes no difference whether you leave the
nuts on the ground where they fall, or place them one inch or twenty
inches beneath the soil, the result will be the same. At the end of two
years, you can pulverize them between thumb and finger almost as easily as
so much dried loam. The idea of deriving a new forest from such nuts, is
hardly less absurd than that of emptying the Egyptian catacombs of their
old mummy-cases, in the expectation of seeing a race of Theban kings
stalking the earth as before the foundations of either Carthage or Rome
were laid.

Dr. Dwight was a very close and accurate observer of nature, and suffered
few of even the minor points of detail to escape him. In the same work, as
well as in the same connection, he gives an account of another forest,
which he supposes sprang spontaneously from "the seeds of an ancient
vegetation." He says: "A field about five miles from Northampton (Mass.),
on an eminence called 'Rail Hill,' was cultivated about a century ago
(_circiter_ 1720). The native growth here, and in all the surrounding
region, was wholly oak, chestnut, etc. As the field belonged to my
grandfather, I had the best opportunity of learning its history. It
contained about five acres, in the form of an irregular parallelogram. As
the savages rendered the cultivation dangerous, it was given up. On this
ground there sprang up a grove of white pines, covering the field and
retaining its figure exactly. So far as I remember, there was not in it a
single oak or chestnut tree;" and he adds, "_there was not a single pine
whose seeds were, or, probably, had for ages been, sufficiently near to
have been planted on this spot_." He supposes, however, that the "seeds"
(pine cone chits) had lain dormant for ages before cultivation brought
them up "within the limits of vegetation."

As early as 1807, Judge Peters, of Philadelphia, became satisfied that all
that elevated region around the head waters of the Delaware, Alleghany,
and Genesee Rivers, then covered with heavy growths of hemlock, or with
forests of beech and sugar-maple, was originally an oak forest, probably
covering most of that entire region. And Mr. John Adlum, of Havre de
Grace, Md., who originally surveyed the lands south of the great bend of
the Susquehanna, between that river and the Delaware, conceived the same
idea as early as 1788. The section surveyed by him was chiefly covered
with beech and sugar-maple; in fact, it was in what was called, at the
time, "the beech and sugar-maple country." He drew his inferences from the
fact that he found, here and there, at irregular intervals, red and white
oaks growing to an enormous size, none being less than sixteen feet, and
many measuring twenty-two feet or more, in circumference five feet above
the ground. He says that "the hemlock in this region seems to have
succeeded the oak, while the beech and maple no doubt succeeded the
hemlock." This last inference would seem to have been made from the fact
that clumps of large hemlock trees were, at that time, still growing at
intervals among the larger deciduous trees.

Indeed, there is no better established fact in vegetable physiology than
that of these alternations of forest growths. They sometimes come on
gradually, but, in a majority of instances, they make their appearance at
once on the cutting off of old forests, in the tracks of tornadoes, or
where fire has devastated extensive regions of timber. From the facts
which have been gathered, it is difficult to determine any regular order
of alternation, except that oaks and other deciduous trees succeed the
different varieties of pine and other evergreen growths, and, perhaps,
_vice versa_. In Dr. Hough's report upon American Forestry, he makes a
brief summary of the order of these alternations in different sections of
the country, on the authority of persons apparently more or less
well-informed on the subject, but by no means accurate observers. He says
that in the region about Green Bay, Wis., overrun by the fires of 1871,
"dense growths of poplars and birches have sprung up, and are growing
rapidly;" but he omits the most important fact of all, in his failure to
state the previous growths of timber, or whether there were any
neighboring growths of poplar along the track of the burnt district from
which seed might have been derived.

Here are some of his more important statements:--

"At Clarksville, Ga., oak and hickory lands, when cleared, invariably grew
up with pine. This is true of that region of country generally."

"At Aiken, S.C., the long-leaf pine is succeeded by oaks and other
deciduous trees, and _vice versa_."

"In Bristol County, Mass., in some cases, after pines have been cut off,
oak, maple, and birch have sprung up abundantly."

"In Hancock County, Ill., oaks have been succeeded by hickories."

"In East Hamburgh, Erie County, N.Y., a growth of hemlock, elm, and soft
maple, was succeeded by beech, soft maple, and hard maple, but a good deal
more of the last named than any other."

This is the general character of the summary given, and if its object were
simply to show the fact that these alternations actually took place (one
that nobody has disputed in the last half century), his chapter on the
"Alternations of Forest Growths," is a scientific success. The information
really desired in these cases, was that imparted by Dr. Dwight in his
suggestive work of travel, in which all the incidental facts and
surrounding circumstances are fully given. It does not appear from any of
the foregoing statements, given as a specimen, that there were any
neighboring trees sufficiently near to have supplied seed for the new
forests taking the place of the old,--manifestly the most important
physiological fact connected with the whole inquiry, whether looking to
proper forest-management, or to future "schools of forestry," certain to
be established in this country, as they have been in most of the leading
countries of Europe.

It is, however, stated by Dr. Hough, in his voluminous report, that, "in
New England, the pine (without giving its varieties) is often succeeded by
the white birch, and, in New Jersey, by the oak; the succession of oak by
pine, and the reverse, in the southern states." And it is further stated,
without reference to the nature and quality of the different soils, or the
absence or presence of neighboring seed-trees, that "poplars and other
soft woods are very often found coming up in pine districts that have been
ravaged by fire." "We have noticed," he continues, "in Nebraska, ash, elm,
and box-elder following cottonwood. In the natural starting of timber in
the prairie region of Illinois, where the stopping of fires allowed, we
often see a hazel coppice; after a time the cratægus, and finally the
oaks, black-walnuts, and other timber. These growths are often quite
aggressive on the prairies. In Florida, the black-jack oak usually takes
the place of the long-leaf pine." In all these cases, the contiguousness
of similar, or dissimilar growths, is not stated.

He nevertheless cites a most important fact respecting the alternations of
timber growth, noticed by Sir Alexander Mackenzie, in his overland journey
from Montreal to the Arctic Ocean, in 1789, who found, in the vicinity of
Slave Lake, that the banks were covered with large quantities of burnt
wood lying on the ground, where young poplar trees had sprung up
immediately after the destruction of the previous growths by fire. In
noticing this fact, the indefatigable English explorer remarks: "It is a
very curious and extraordinary circumstance that land covered with spruce,
pine, and white birch, when laid waste by fire, should subsequently
produce nothing but poplars, _where none of that species of tree was
previously to be found"_. But facts of a similar character are too
numerous and well-authenticated to be questioned by any intelligent
authority. And they all point to but one solution--that of primordial
germs quickened into life by the necessary environing conditions. The
appearance of a single poplar in the locality named, or even a dozen of
them for that matter, might be accounted for on the theory that a bird of
passage had dropped them there after the fire; but, under no conceivable
circumstances, could the dispersion of the requisite amount of seed to
plant an extensive burnt district, along the banks of Slave Lake, have
occurred on any other theory than that emphatically set forth, as a
physiological fact, in the Bible genesis.

There is manifestly importance enough attaching to this subject to justify
a much wider range of observation and inquiry than has yet been made. Pine
forests have been cut off in Alabama and Georgia, covering extensive
areas, where there was not a single oak tree in a circuit of miles; and
yet the oak has promptly made its appearance, in several varieties, over
the whole cleared district. And it is entirely safe to say that, had the
ground been thoroughly examined, from the surface to ten feet below it,
after the pine had been felled, not the first sign of an acorn could have
been met with anywhere within the whole area of the clearing, no matter
whether it covered ten acres, twenty, or a hundred. The paths of the
tornadoes we have referred to conclusively show this. The new-born
forests, in these cases, do not come from seed, but from the living,
indestructible, vital principles implanted in the earth, before it was
specifically commanded to "bring forth," in the language of the Bible
genesis. The "materialists," like Professor Bastian, Herbert Spencer, and
others, may sneer at this declaration, but let them advance some rational
theory to the contrary, to account for these alternations of forest
growths, before they lay bare the joints of their scientific armor too
confidently to the thrusts of the next new-comer in the field of
scientific investigation. Sneers are cheap weapons--the mere side-arms of
pretension and frippery--but they never bear so deadly a gibe as when
effectually turned on the sneerer.

Professor Moritz Wagner, in his description of Mount Ararat, mentions "a
singular phenomenon," to which his guide drew his attention, "in the
appearance of several plants on soil lately thrown up by an earthquake,
which grew nowhere else on the mountain, and had never been observed in
this (that) region before." This writer, thereupon, goes into a
disquisition upon the vitality of long-buried seeds, but only to mar the
value of his very important observation. The fact that these new plants
were rejected by the other soil of the mountain--that not thrown up by the
earthquake--is the only other observation of value made by this writer.
And the importance of this one observation lies in the apparent, if not
conclusive fact, that the conditions of the other soil of the mountain
were not favorable for the development of the primordial germs, or vital
units, contained in that which was thrown up by the earthquake, a
circumstance that most materially strengthens the view we have taken, as
all candid and impartial readers will agree.

Mr. Darwin inadvertently makes a very material concession in favor of the
theory we have advanced, although unconscious of any such theory, except
that so broadly and unqualifiedly put forth by the "panspermists" as to
meet with a ready refutation. He is laboring, of course, to strengthen his
position that nature eternally works to get rid of her imperfect forms, or
to ensure "the survival of the fittest." But while his facts accomplish
little in this direction, they establish much in another, as the reader
will see. He says: "In Staffordshire, on an estate of a relative, where I
had ample means of investigation, there was a large and extremely barren
heath, which had never been touched by the hand of man; but several
hundred acres of exactly the same nature had been enclosed twenty-five
years before, and planted with scotch fir. The change in the native
vegetation of the planted part of the heath was most remarkable--more than
is generally seen in passing from one quite different soil to another; not
only the proportional numbers of the heath plants were wholly changed,
_but twelve species of plants _ (not including grasses and sedges)
flourished in the plantation which could not be found on the heath."

The attempt is here made, by Mr. Darwin, to convey an altogether different
meaning to his facts than what they will warrant, even as adroitly handled
by him. No heath plants were "wholly changed" in characteristics, but only
in proportional numbers; nor did the "twelve new species of plants" make
their appearance by virtue of any law of variability or selection of the
fittest. The growth of scotch fir had simply changed the conditions of the
soil, so that certain varieties of heath growth disappeared for the want
of "necessary conditions," and certain varieties of forest growth made
their appearance because conditions favored. Similar, if not greater
changes, are constantly occurring in hundreds of localities in New
England, where choked and worn-out pasture lands are left, untouched by
the hand of man, to grow up as best they may into new forests. The
open-field plants and shrubs entirely disappear, as the stronger and more
aggressive trees, taking root in favoring soils, advance in the struggle
for supremacy, while the less hardy and more modest plants--those quietly
seeking shelter in the woods--make their appearance, because they find,
beneath the shade of the usurping forest, the precise conditions necessary
for their more successful growth.

No perishable seeds have been awakened from their "sleep of untold
centuries" by these changed conditions of the soil; but nature, everywhere
obeying the divine mandate, brings forth her implanted life in all its
bountiful diversity of stalk, leaf, bud, bough, blossom, fruit,--not in
obedience to man's husbandry alone, but because, as the "vicar of God,"
she must provide for her benefice. "Let the earth bring forth" is the
eternal fiat. Nature forever heeds it, and forever obeys it. "Oh, ye blind
guides, who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, doubt it if ye will." But
forget not that nature has her "compunctious visitings," and will rise up
in insurrection against you. Nothing in her breast lies dormant for ages,
or even for an hour. Her appointed times and seasons forbid it. If the
butterfly does not sport in her sunshine to-day, it is because it lies
dead in its golden-colored shroud, and can never become a butterfly. In
all her profusion and prodigality--flinging her glittering jewels, even in
mid-winter, over all her enamored woods, and causing her little fountains
to leap up from their crystal beds in delight, that they may be frozen,
mid-air, into more sparkling jets--she exhibits no such munificence as in
her unsparing prodigality of life. To be prodigal in this was the first
command she received, and her great heart constantly throbs to give it
expression. And in all this she simply obeys a kindly law which has been
implanted in her bosom, and can never be displanted. She has no need of
seeds in her cunning laboratory to perpetuate plant-life, and only yields
them to man for use, and not abuse. He can utilize them if he will, so
that all things of beauty and golden-fruited promise shall be his. In the
language of her greatest and most profoundly philosophical poet,--

      "Nature never lends
  The smallest scruple of her excellence,
  But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
  Herself the glory of a creditor--
  _Both thanks and use_."

Those who think, therefore, to make nature a debtor, by reversing her laws
of propagation and making her dependent on what she bestows in use, will
never find out the smallest scruple of her excellence, nor add to her
glory as a creditor. All things are framed in her prodigality, and the
seeds of plants and trees are no exception to the quality of her
bestowals. We may reason, syllogize, speculate as we will, the first plant
and the first tree were not nature's thankless bastards, but her
legitimate and loving offspring. She engendered them in her own fruitful
breast, and her "copy is eterne."



Chapter IV.

The Distribution and Vitality of Seeds.



Few questions have attracted more attention among vegetable physiologists,
of late years, than the dispersion and migration of seeds from place to
place in the earth, and it is safe to say that none has been more
unsatisfactorily answered. In the case of quite a number of plants and
trees, special contrivances would seem to have been provided by nature for
insuring their dispersion, as well as migration. With a small number of
plants, for instance, the seeds are discharged for short distances by the
explosive force of their seed-vessels, when properly matured; an equally
small number have certain membranous contrivances, called "wings," by
which they may be borne still greater distances; others, again, are
provided with light feathery tufts, to which the seed is attached, and
these may be carried by the winds several miles before finding a lodgment
in the soil; while many others are inclosed in prickly and barb-pointed
coverings by which they attach themselves to animals, and even birds, and
may be transported to almost any distance. But with the great majority of
plants and trees, as the seeds fall so they lie, and must continue to lie
until they either germinate or perish, or are accidentally dispersed or
scattered by some extrinsic agency. The anxiety of speculative botanists
to account for the recognized alternations of forest and other growths,
have led to the different theories of transportation we have named; and
when these theories have been supplemented by the alleged wonderful
vitality of seeds, in the cunning recesses in which nature manages to
conceal them, they imagine the whole difficulty solved, when, in point of
fact, it remains wholly unsolved.

This theory of the "wonderful vitality" of seeds is simply one, as we
have said, to force a conclusion--to get rid of a lion in the scientific
path. Professor Marsh, with other eminent and scholarly writers on
vegetable physiology, scouts the idea that the seeds of some of our
cereal crops have been preserved for three or four thousand years in the
"ashy dryness" of the Egyptian catacombs. But what better repository in
which to preserve them? Certainly, none of our modern granaries, with all
their machinery for keeping the grain dry, or from over-heating. Nor are
the catacombs to be despised, as compared with any out-door means of
storage yet suggested by the wit of man. The only means nature has of
storage, or rather of preservation by storage, is to welcome the seed
back to her bosom--the earth from which its parent-seed sprang--where it
may be speedily quickened into life, and bear "other grain," not itself.
For "that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die;" and much
more is that dead which is not quickened. Whenever seed is thus returned
to nature's bosom--all-palpitating as it is with life--whether it
quickens or not, it dies; and there is no resurrection for dead seed from
the earth, any more than there is for the occupants of the exhumed
mummy-cases of ancient Thebes.

The belief in this wonderful vitality of seeds, in the positions in which
nature deposits them, is pretty much on a par with that which assigns a
thousand years to the life of a crow. As nobody but the scholastic fool in
the fable has ever attempted to verify the correctness of this latter
belief, so it is safe to assume that the experiment of verifying the
former will not be successfully undertaken within the next thousand years,
to say the least. It is well known that the vitality of seeds (so far, at
least, as nature handles them) depends, upon her cunning contrivances for
their preservation, as well as their dispersion. But many seeds, in which
these contrivances would seem to be the most perfect, will not germinate
after the second year, and few will do so to advantage after the third or
fourth year, even when they have been kept under the most favorable
circumstances, or in uniform dryness and temperature. Farmers, who have
had practical experience in this matter, and care little for what is
merely theoretical, will never plant seed that is three or four years old
when they can get that of the previous year's growth. It is certain that
no hickory nut will retain its vitality beyond the first year of its
exposure to a New England soil and climate, and few seeds are better
protected by nature against such exposure; and it is equally questionable
whether the chits to Dr. Dwight's pine cones would have had any better
chance of survival at the time the Indians infested the neighborhood of
Northampton, and regularly fired the woods every autumn.

Although Professor Marsh confidently says, in his work on. "Man and
Nature," that "the vitality of seeds seems almost imperishable while they
remain in the situations in which nature deposits them," he will no doubt
admit that this statement rests on no experimental knowledge, but simply
on the hypothesis that the new forests and new species of plants to which
he refers, originated from seeds, and not from primordial germs everywhere
implanted in the earth. Dr. G. Chaplin Child, who swallows the "Egyptian
wheat" story, mummy-cases and all, in speaking of some of the English
"dykes" or mound-fences which have existed from time well-nigh immemorial,
says: "No sooner are these dykes leveled than the seeds of wild flowers,
which must have lain in them for ages, sprout forth vigorously, just as if
the ground had been recently sown with seed." He also mentions, as a more
or less remarkable fact, "that a house, which was known to have existed
for two hundred years, was pulled down, and, no sooner was the surface soil
exposed to the influence of light and moisture, than it became covered
with a crop of wild-mustard or charlock." And he instances these facts to
show that the seeds of this charlock, and these dyke plants, had lain
dormant in the soil from the time the dykes were built, and the house
erected. But these physiological facts, however well authenticated they
may have been, are no more conclusive of the presence of dormant seed,
than the appearance of the common plantain about a recently built
dwelling-house, where none ever grew before, is proof that the seeds of
this common household plant had lain dormant for ages before the house was
erected. We cannot tell why this common plant follows the domestic
household, any more than we can tell why rats follow civilization. But
they are both sufficiently annoying at times, to satisfy us that they _do_
follow, however inexplicable the reason may be.

The same writer further says, in connection with the foregoing statements:
"Instances (of the vitality of seeds) might easily be multiplied almost
indefinitely, but we shall be satisfied with noticing one of a very
extraordinary kind. In the time of the Emperor Hadrian, a man died soon
after he had eaten plentifully of raspberries. He was buried at
Dorchester. About twenty-eight years ago, the remains of this man,
together with coins of the Roman Emperor, were discovered in a coffin (!)
at the bottom of a barrow, thirty feet under the surface. The man had thus
lain undisturbed for some 1700 years. But the most curious circumstance
connected with the case was, that _the raspberry seeds were recovered from
the stomach_ (!) and sown in the garden of the Horticultural Society,
where they germinated and grew into healthy bushes," Here is
circumstantiality enough to satisfy the most unlimited skepticism,
provided that the facts were satisfactorily vouched for by the living, and
the record left by the dead were sufficiently explicit in detail, and
conclusive in identity of subject. Then to suggest even a reasonable doubt
would, we admit, be equivalent to making truth a circumstantial liar.

But this most remarkable story will bear repetition, with a few running
comments. "The man (presumably a Roman soldier) died seventeen hundred
years ago." This is not unlikely. "He died of eating too plentifully of
raspberries;" a circumstance not altogether improbable. "He was buried at
Dorchester;" where, of course, there were no records of deaths and burials
kept at the time, and hence, we should have to question the record, if one
were presented. "He was also buried in a coffin, or, at least, dug up in
one." This statement must be received _cum grano_. The Romans never used
coffins, and, under the empire, they burnt most of their dead. After a
battle, however, they generally piled them up in heaps, and, where there
was a lack of fuel to burn them, they covered them with the surface soil,
taking good care to put a Roman coin in each soldier's mouth, so that he
might pay the ferryman in Hades. "There was thirty-five feet of surface
soil shoveled on top of this particular Roman,"--showing that he was a
very consequential personage in camp. No wonder, then, that all these nice
particularities of statement should have been circumstantially noted in
the commanding general's "order of the day," and thus been handed down to
posterity for the future advancement of science! "He had lain undisturbed
for nearly two thousand years." Almost any one would have done so, with
that amount of surface soil shoveled on top of him. "The seeds were
recovered from his stomach;" that is, after improvidently snatching away
the Roman soldier's life, they took good care to preserve their own, as
well as the stomach in which they were deposited. "The seeds were planted
in the Horticultural Society's garden, where they flourished vigorously."

All these circumstantially narrated facts (?) were gathered (by somebody)
about forty years ago. In what authentic and satisfactorily verified
record are they to be found to-day? The writer gives us no clue. The
stomach, the coffin, the Roman coins, some of the wonderfully preserved
seeds, as well as the _obolus_ in the mouth of the dead soldier, should be
found somewhere. They could not have disappeared in a night. If they had
withstood the relentless tooth of time for seventeen hundred years, in the
surface soil of Dorchester, the last forty years ought not to have
obliterated all trace of them. The story is simply too incredible for
belief, if printed in forty "Great Architects of Nature."

From 1847 to 1851, the writer went into any number of Wisconsin
mounds--those not essentially dissimilar from the Roman barrows in
England--in company with the late I. A. Lapham, of Milwaukee; and the idea
of finding any human stomach, with or without seeds in it--with probably
not half the time intervening between burial and exhumation, as in the
case of this Roman soldier--would have been instantly rejected by the
distinguished archaeologist accompanying us. Indeed, had any such
discovery been made, he would have unhesitatingly pronounced the mound
tampered with for the purposes of imposition. It is possible that surface
soil, containing some raspberry seeds, may have been taken to the
"Horticultural Society's garden" to which Dr. Child refers, and planted
there as stated; but that they were from a human stomach that had lain
buried for seventeen hundred years in the surface soil of England, or any
other country, is simply preposterous. It caps the climax of all the
wonderful "seed-stories" yet manufactured for the scientific mind to
wrestle with. It is easy enough to find soil about old stumps, and fallen
trunks and branches of trees, which will produce raspberries, either with
or without the presence of seed. And soil might have been taken from the
bottom of this Dorchester barrow which produced them. But the appearance
of the bushes must have depended on the conditions of the soil, not on
seeds eaten by a Roman soldier nearly two thousand years ago. That version
of the story must be summarily dismissed the attention of scientific men.

Professor Marsh, in the work to which we have already several times
alluded, says: "When newly cleared ground is burnt over in the United
States, the ashes are hardly cold before they are covered with a crop of
fire-weed, a tall herbaceous plant, very seldom growing under other
circumstances, and often not to be found for a distance of many miles from
the clearing." The botanical name of this plant is _Erechthites
hieracifolia_, and it is well known to the botanists of New England. Its
seeds are almost as destructible by fire as thistle-down itself; and it is
not to be supposed that any of the seeds borne by the winds or by birds,
and scattered through the clearing before it was burned, could have
survived the intense heat to which they must have been subjected in the
burning off of a heavy and dense growth of felled timber. The seeds, if
any, must have been scattered after the fire, and not before it. But these
heavy clearings--those in which we have witnessed the most abundant crops
of fire-weed--are generally burnt off in the early spring, when there are
no seeds to be scattered, as all those of the previous year's growth find
their proper lodgment in the soil before the winter fully closes in. The
seeds for which Professor Marsh would have to search, therefore, would be
those _grown in some corresponding latitude, or plant zone, in the
southern hemisphere_, not within thousands of miles from the clearing in
which they so promptly make their appearance.

Professor Marsh suggests, however, that they may have come from "the
deeply buried seeds of a former vegetation, quickened into life by the
heat." But had he examined these plants, in their incipient stages of
growth, he would have found that they sprung directly from the surface of
the burnt soil, their initial rootlets hardly extending to the depth of
two-thirds of an inch below it, and where they must have utterly perished
from the heat. The theory he suggests is the only possible one, he thinks,
to account for the mystery, and hence its suggestion by him. But he has
only to pass one of the delicate seeds of this plant through the flame of
a candle to see that it instantly perishes by fire. His suggested theory
must be abandoned, therefore, and that of the Bible genesis accepted in
its place.

The fact is, and it ought to be well known to the closer student of
nature, that the fire-weed makes its appearance in the "conditions" of
the burnt soil, just as stramonium does in the conditions of the soil
where a coal-pit has been recently burned; that is, not from seed, but
from "vital units," or germs, everywhere present in the earth--those
taking advantage of environing conditions, just as _Bacteria_ or
_Torultz_ spring from the proper organic infusions. And the young shoots
of stramonium, in a recently burned coal-pit, will be found to spring
directly from the surface of the burnt ground, where all seeds and living
organism must have perished in the heat, and not at any considerable
depth below it. Their first appearance is on the immediate surface of the
burnt ground, the same as in the case of fire-weed, and at a time when
there were no seeds to be distributed, except such as must have come from
the southern hemisphere, or been casually picked up by birds, and taken
their slim chances of survival after passing through the natural
"gristmills" of the birds. And even this supposition, would only account
for the appearance of a single stramonium plant or two, not for a thick
bed of it covering the entire ground. The theory of seed-distribution, in
this and other cases, is wholly out of the question; as much so as when
white clover makes its appearance on a closely-grazed prairie, hundreds
of miles away from where there has been a single sprig of clover growing
in a thousand years. Every closely observant person, living for any
length of time on our western prairies, is familiar with the fact that
when the rank and hardier grasses, usually growing thereon, are
effectually fed down by stock, and especially by sheep, the prairie
grasses disappear, and the ground at once comes in with white clover, and
the other nutritious gramma or grasses of our common pasture lands. No
seed has been sown in these localities, and none could have been found
had every square inch of the surface soil been examined by the most
powerful microscope. The white clover and these nutritious grasses make
their appearance on these prairies, just as the first sprig of vegetation
did on the earth, not from seed, but from preëxisting vital units or
primordial germs, implanted therein from the beginning, and awaiting the
necessary conditions for their development and growth.

The "bird theory" is the one almost universally relied upon for the
explanation of these phenomena, where the seeds distributed, or supposed
to be distributed, are not winged. But we are satisfied that birds perform
no such important office, in the matter of seed-distribution, as is
generally attributed to them. We have examined, during the past two
seasons, a large number of bird-droppings, and find our previous
impressions respecting them fully verified. With all the more delicate
seeds--those of our common field grasses and weeds--the chances are a
thousand to one that none of them will ever pass the cloaca of the bird
eating them, in any condition to germinate. All seed-eating birds are also
gravel-eaters; and the pebbles and gravel they eat are mostly silex, or
the material from which our best buhrstones are made. These pass into the
gizzard, or pyloric division of the bird's stomach, where they are
utilized, the same as we utilize our buhrstones. The gizzard has sharply
corrugated interior walls, extremely thick and muscular, which
involuntarily contract and expand, giving the bird a tremendous grinding
power over his food, considering the size of his grinding apparatus. The
seeds--all the seeds, in fact, he eats--pass at once into his crop, or the
natural "hopper" to his "gristmill," where they undergo a moistening or
macerating process previous to being ground into the finest pulp in the
gizzard. As a general rule, all the seeds a bird eats are ground into this
pulpy state before they pass into the intestinal canal, extending from the
gizzard to the cloaca. The hard, semi-translucent, and highly elastic
outer coating of most small seeds, may be measurably preserved in its
passage through the gizzard, and, resuming its oval shape in the thinner
pulpy mass contained in the upper portion of the intestine, present the
appearance of seed in the cloacal discharges, and thus deceive the casual
observer. But the use of a spatula and a small piece of polished stone
slab will show that the entire discharge is excrementitious matter, with
the single exception of this silicious coating of the seeds.

The case is different, however, with the fruit-eating birds. The fruits
they consume are retained but a comparatively short time in the crop, pass
hurriedly through the gizzard, and no doubt carry along with them some of
the smaller seeds of berries, and now and then the pit of a cherry or
small plum. The gizzard, in these cases, is simply gorged with the pulp
and juices of the fruit, its muscular action more or less relaxed, and
some of the seeds consequently escape the grinding process they would
otherwise undergo. And yet we are satisfied that a majority of these seeds
even, are more or less thoroughly triturated by a healthy gravel-eating
bird. This would certainly be the case if they were retained for any
length of time in the pyloric division of the bird's stomach. All birds
have gizzards, but their grinding capacity depends very much on the
character of the food they eat. Birds of prey, and others subsisting
mostly or entirely on animal food, have thin, membranous, and
comparatively flabby gizzards; while those living on hard grains and seeds
have extremely thick, powerful, and muscular ones,--those capable of
crushing up and thoroughly triturating all the food they take into their
crops. These gizzards are nature's gristmills, and they grind exceedingly
fine. If any seed escapes, it is because the mill has been flooded by the
bird, and not because of any defect in the grinding apparatus.

These birds are not, therefore "natural sowers of seeds," as Professor
Marsh and some others claim; but are, at most, only accidental or
chance-sowers. Nature never designed that they should do anything more
than consume the food they eat, or submit it to the proper action of their
digestive organs. It might as well be claimed that the secretary bird is a
"natural sower of serpents," as that many of the grain-eating birds are
"the natural sowers of seeds." The theory is too foraminated--too full of
loopholes and unsatisfactory conditions--to be accepted as an explanation
of the more general phenomena presented. The fruit-eating quadrupeds are,
relatively, far better sowers of seeds than the birds, for they eat fruit
without sending their grists to mill. Dr. Dwight rejected the
transportation theory as early as 1820, and Professor Marsh gives any
number of cases where it was necessary for him to abandon it. And yet some
of our ablest writers, publishing works of quite recent date, adhere to it
as the only theory that accounts for all the phenomena presented.

Professor George Thurber, in speaking of the dissemination of seeds, finds
other agencies therefor than winds, birds, quadrupeds, etc., such as we
have already named. For instance, he claims that rivers, ocean currents,
mountain torrents, and even wars, contribute largely towards their
dispersion and dissemination throughout different parts of the earth. All
this may be true to a limited extent; but none of these enumerated
agencies will account for more than a very few of the many
well-authenticated facts we have given, and many others that might be
given, if our limits permitted. Among the instances where wars have had,
or are claimed to have had, an important agency in the distribution of
seeds throughout an invaded country, he mentions the fact that "after our
late civil war, a little leguminous plant (_Lespedeza striata_) sprang
up all over the southern states," and adds, "that it was not known how it
came, or where from, but its native country is Japan." In some parts of
the South it is known as "Japan clover," and is highly valued as a forage
plant. But the war had nothing more to do with the appearance of this
plant "all over the southern states," than the changes of the moon, or the
phenomenal man therein. The plant had been noticed in certain localities
in the South before the war, but the circumstance of its very general
appearance throughout a large area of that section of country, was not
particularly noticed until the confederate troops began to move from one
southern state to another, when, finding it a valuable forage plant, they
naturally enough regarded it as a providential dispensation, especially in
those sections where other forage plants and nutritious gramma were not
abundant. But this plant would have made its appearance just the same had
the war never been thought of as a possible remedy for aggressive
legislation, however real or imaginary it may have been.

It can be easily accounted for, however, on the theory we have
suggested--that of the germinal principle of life implanted in the earth,
as the Bible genesis indubitably indicates. The plant in question has long
been a native of Japan, which lies in the same warm temperate zone as the
southern states. The same general hygrometric and thermometric conditions
prevail throughout the two countries or sections of country. These, added
to the necessary telluric conditions, give the required moisture, heat,
and soil-constituents for the development of the Japan clover in the
South, the same as it was originally developed in its native country. And
it is just as much native to the South now, as it was hundreds or
thousand's of years ago to Japan. It did not come from seeds scattered by
war, or any other imaginable agency of man, but from the indestructible,
vital units or germs implanted in the earth itself. Had the plant appeared
in any one locality, or even in half a dozen separate localities, in the
South, it might possibly have been accounted for on the theory of
Professor Thurber. But its simultaneous appearance over "all the southern
states," as he puts it, absolutely negatives any such theory. Neither
winds, river or ocean currents, casual mountain torrents, birds,
quadrupeds, war, or even man himself, could have effected this sudden and
wide distribution of the plant in question. It came as did all other
plant-life, in the first instance, from geographical conditions--those
favoring the development of primordial germs--just as the different
organic infusions, experimentally prepared by the physiologist, produce
their respective forms of infusorial life; each distinctive form depending
on the chemical conditions of the infusion at the time the microscopic
examination is made. Change the conditions, or defer the examination until
the conditions themselves are changed, and other and different forms of
life will make their appearance, in harmony with the physiological law we
have named.

This wonderful play of the vital forces of nature is no less dependant on
"conditions"--on the necessary pre-existing plasma, chemically balanced
soils, organic solutions, etc.--than the alleged "dynamical aggregates,"
"_molecules organiques_," "plastide particles," or "highly differentiated
life-stuff," insisted upon by the physicists, in their materialistic
theories of life. These physicists make even the slightest change in
developmental phases--whether statical, as in the case of crystals, or
dynamical, as in the case of living organisms--to depend on physical
conditions,--those aiding and abetting what they call the "molecular play
of physical forces." But with their theory that matter and motion are the
only self-subsistent, indestructible elements in the universe, what
"molecular play" can be attributed to matter but that which is derived
from motion, or some one of its alleged correlates? We can only imagine
two sorts of motion as possible metaphysical conceptions in connection
with matter--_molar_ motion, or that relating to matter moving in mass,
and _molecular_ motion, or that relating to the movements of matter in its
unaggregated form, or as confined to molecules.

But motion itself is not an absolute entity. It is not so much even as a
collocating or placing force of matter itself. It is, at best, only a
mechanical impulse imparted by one moving body to another; or, more
accurately speaking, a continuous change of place in a moving body. In
other words, it is simply a _process_ or _mode_ of action, and stands in
about the same relation to matter as _growth_ does to a living plant or
tree. Independently of matter it has no existence, either objectively or
subjectively, or even as a metaphysical conception. To allege its
indestructibility, as the physicists do, is simply to predicate an
additional property of indestructible matter. We may call it
"force"--something that constantly expends itself in a moving body--but
it is utterly incapable of definition, or of conception even, except as
it stands related to such moving body. All the marvellous "correlates of
motion," therefore, producing such wonderful effects upon matter, in
both its molar and molecular states or conditions, are nothing more nor
less than vague and inconclusive inductions, derived from premises
having, at best, nothing but a relative existence in a universe of
moving matter. It would be decidedly better to agree with Haeckel, that
matter is the only actual existence, than to predicate of matter a
co-existent and wholly inexplicable "somewhat," whereon to base a purely
physical hypothesis of life.

But let us return from this slight digression. The beautiful and purely
local fern (_Schizoea pusilla_) growing in the pine barrens of New Jersey,
affords quite as conclusive proof of the correctness of the Bible genesis
of life as the phenomenal appearance of Japan clover in the South. It was
at one time supposed that this most delicate and beautiful of all our
ferns was peculiar to the New Jersey pine barrens. But it has been
ascertained that it grows quite as abundantly in similar barrens in New
Zealand, which are in the south temperate zone, at about the same latitude
south, that these pine barrens of New Jersey occupy in the temperate zone
north. So that, at whatever period this fern originally made its
appearance in either locality, it unquestionably found the exact
thermometric, hygrometric, telluric, and other conditions necessary for
the development of its vital germs. Take any accurate, or even
half-accurate, chart of plant distribution on the earth's surface, and it
will be found that, everywhere, under the same favoring conditions, plants
of the same genera and species make their appearance independently of any
known processes of dissemination in the case of seeds. The distribution is
not one of seeds, but rather of geographical conditions--thermometric,
hygrometric, telluric, and possibly chemical. And this is true of all
vegetation, whether growing in the same plant zones, in high latitudes, at
high altitudes, or under one degree of temperature and moisture or
another. Whenever the telluric conditions are the same or similar, in the
respective localities named, and the temperature and moisture correspond,
the necessary plant distribution follows in obedience to the divine
mandate--"Let the earth bring forth." This is the one uniform law that
governs everywhere, and the only one that accounts for all the diversified
manifestations of plant-life, now, as heretofore, taking place upon our
globe. And the same is measurably true of animal life. It accounts for the
appearance of every form of life in organic infusions; for _Bacteria_ in
the blood, _Torulæ_ in the tissues, plastide particles, morphological
cells, and every other vital manifestation, from the smallest conceivable
"unit" of life in protaplasmic matter, to the lordliest and most defiant
forest oak that ever bared its arms to the storms and tempests of
centuries. A purely materialistic science may perk its head with an air of
affected incredulity, and superciliously turn aside from this hypothesis,
because it does not shock our veneration for the Sacred Scriptures, but
let its special advocates advance some more consistent and rational
life-theory than that of "molecular machinery worked by molecular force,"
or content themselves, with Dr. Gull, in confessing that they are unable
to draw the first line between "living matter" and "dead matter," as they
absurdly use these terms.

It is conceded that much extravagant speculation has been wasted upon this
question of the distribution of seeds. The ambition of each new writer has
seemingly been to hit upon some new theory of distribution. The "bird
theory" is a failure, as we have shown; nor do they invariably fly due
east or west, so as to supply the several climatic zones with their
respective vegetations. The same is true of the "squirrel theory," for
this nimble little rodent is as likely to head north or south as to follow
the course of the sun; the "wind theory" is subject to too many shifts and
changes to be accounted a reliable agency; the "river-and-ocean-current
theories" are still less satisfactory, since rivers flow in diverse
directions, and ocean currents bear with safety only their own aquatic
plants; the "mummy-case theory" is hardly an accredited agency, and the
"war theory" is attended with too much destruction of life to be safely
relied on as conserving the vital forces of nature. The climatic zones,
and high and low altitudes, have still to be consulted to get at the real
causes of distribution, or such as conclusively satisfy the scientific
mind. For no single plant is really a cosmopolite. They are simply the
habitats of their own separate zones, except as high altitudes are
reached, and climatic and other conditions favor the appearance of such
vegetation as belongs to other plant zones. If we would find the more
common plants and weeds of New England in North Carolina or Tennessee, we
must go into the mountainous regions of those states, at an altitude which
compensates for the difference in latitude, and where the influencing
conditions of plant-life are essentially the same. In such localities, we
shall find the same household plants, garden weeds, and general
vegetation, as in higher northern latitudes, not because their seeds have
been borne thither from New England or elsewhere, but because the same
climatic, telluric and other conditions prevail as in the more northern
localities. And these conditions are what determine the development and
growth of local vegetations.

And so of the alpine firs, grasses, harebells, lichens, mosses, etc. Their
seeds have not been scattered, by any known agencies, over intervening
regions, for thousands of miles or more, in order to find lodgment on
these lofty mountain cones; but, conditions being the same, the same
vegetable growths appear. This is nature's method of propagating "vital
units" and diversifying plant-life--geographical conditions everywhere
determining the proper distribution. But if nature is so prolific of vital
resources, in the propagation of plant-life, what need has she of natural
seeds? We anticipate this inquiry only to answer it; for we recognize it
as a legitimate one in this connection. Our answer is that the seeds are
given for the use of man, that he may control and utilize vegetation, and
not have to depend on more or less uncertain conditions. Agricultural
chemistry must be carried to a much higher degree of perfection than it is
likely to reach in the next ten centuries at least, to determine whether
any particular plat of ground has been chemically balanced for the growth
of wheat, to the exclusion of other cereal crops. Besides, the process of
soil-balancing might be altogether too expensive to be indulged in by
judicious husbandry. These chemical conditions admit of too many possible
failures, in balancing even the smallest patch of ground, to justify
experiments in the direction named. Seeds also subserve the important
subsidiary purpose of supplying food for many birds and animals, more or
less useful to man.

But chemistry has its limits as to usefulness in all human laboratories.
As man's wisdom is limited, so is his power over the elementary forces of
nature confined to very narrow boundaries. It is given to him to search
out many inventions, and to pry, thus far and no farther, into the secrets
of nature, or, more properly speaking, into the secrets of God. There is
no doubt that if our chemico-molecular theorists respecting
life-phenomena, could produce, in their laboratories, the exact
inter-uterine plasma, or plasmic conditions, of an animal--any animal, in
fact--and continue these conditions during the proper period of gestation,
they _might_ produce life _de novo_.[13] But the most daring physicist
would stand aghast at the bare proposal of such an experiment. Neither his
knowledge of chemistry, nor the present uncertain value attaching to
"molecular machinery," would justify him, for a moment, in entering upon
such a purely tentative and empirical an undertaking.

It is hardly necessary to assume that the same law of vital force governs
in the appearance and geographical distribution of _fungi_, as universally
obtains in the higher and more complex vegetal growths. And although it
may be difficult, in some instances, to draw the precise line between
certain low mycological forms and the amoeboid and some other primitive
manifestations of animal life, yet all vegetable physiologists agree in
assigning a purely vegetable origin to all the primary groups of
fungi--their general cellular character determining their proper place in
classification. And in all their extended family groups, pervading nature
as widely as animal and vegetable life, we find that uniform chemical and
other conditions produce uniform mycological results. Spores are no more
necessary for their appearance, in the first instance, than acorns are
essential to the appearance of an oak forest when it succeeds the pine.
Wherever the necessary conditions of moisture and heat are found to
obtain, in connection with decayed or decaying substances, the particular
form of fungus indicated thereby, whether parasitic or non-parasitic, will
make its appearance. Continuously damp walls, or wall-paper, will produce
them in specific variety, not because their invisible spores are flying
about in the atmosphere to find appropriate lodgment, but because the
necessary conditions obtain for their manifestation, or for the
development of their vital units--those everywhere diffused, and ready to
burgeon forth from the proper matrix, or from certain nutrient conditions
to be met with in all vegetable substances, after the process of decay has
commenced. Some orders appear only in a single matrix, but the greater
part of them flourish on different decaying substances.

Dr. M.C. Cooke, in speaking of non-parasitic fungi, and especially of
moulds, says: "It would be far more difficult to mention substances on
which they are never developed than to indicate where they have been
found." The parasitic fungi, however, generally confine themselves to
certain special plants, and rarely to any other. It is only the condition
of these special plants, when affected by decay, that seems favorable for
their development; not because their spores (assuming that all fungi come
from spores,) possess the intelligence to fly about and hunt up the proper
nutrient matter on which to subsist during their developmental progress
from specific spores into genetic forms of life. The rust or blight of
grain is not the cause, therefore, but rather the result, of the common
disease known as "blight." Without some excess or deficiency of absorption
and elaboration in the growth of grain or plants--something essentially
disturbing their normal and harmonious processes of development--no
mycological forms would appear on their stems or roots, nor would they
develop themselves on their fading leaves or congested and decaying fruit.
To say that there is any intelligent preference in these fungi--the
different species of _Mucor_, for instance--for disgusting offal over
decaying fruit, bread, paste, preserves, etc., is to predicate a higher
degree of intelligence of fungus spores than of the average brute
creation, with all its wonderful instincts for guidance.

We might refer to other classes of fungi developing themselves in the
testa of hard seeds, and in the interior of acorns, sweet chestnuts,
etc.,--those in which there is no discoverable external opening by the aid
of the microscope--to show the absolute absurdity of the theory that the
spores of fungi, including the non-parasitic and other autonomous moulds,
go madly foraging about the country in pursuit of decaying cocoanuts,
apples, pears, plums, oranges, etc., and even committing their
depredations on hermetically canned fruits, the concealed honeycomb of
beehives, the pupa of moths, and whatever else they may intelligently
select as a desirable matrix or habitat. No such theory as this will stand
the test of thorough research and investigation, in any mycological
direction. Fungi everywhere make their initial appearance in the
conditions of decay, as plants and trees originally make theirs in the
environing conditions of vital manifestation. That our life-giving
atmosphere--the "_pater omnipotens Æther_" of Virgil, "descending into the
bosom of his joyous spouse (the earth) in fructifying showers, and great
himself, mingling with her great body" for the development of all things
of life--should be so immeasurably thronged with death-pursuing fungi that
myriads of their spores might dance without jostling on the point of a
cambric needle, is infinitely more fanciful than the conceptions of the
poet, in personifying the atmosphere as "father Æther," and the earth as
his "joyous spouse." But life, with its "pardlike spirit, beautiful and
swift," has reached its highest conceptions in the mind of the poet, not
in the speculations of the scientist. What a "mingled yarn," spun from
many-colored yet invisible threads, is it in the creative mind of a
Shakespeare, and how it looms up into "a dome of many-colored glass,
staining the white radiance of eternity," under the magic touch of a
Shelley! And yet how is it dwarfed down to a contemptible piece of
"molecular machinery" by the scientist--one so utterly contemptible in its
manifestations that it is ordered to take "a back seat" in this universe
of all-potential matter and motion!

Dr. Cooke, in his "Handbook of British Fungi," virtually concedes that the
spores of the large puff-ball (_Lycoperdon giganteum_), as well as those
of mushrooms, truffles, and other edible fungi (those with whose methods
of propagation man is best acquainted), may be produced artificially. But
the process by which their production is thus effected, is more properly a
natural than an artificial one. In speaking of truffle-grounds, he says
(quoting from Broome) "that whenever a plantation of beech, or beech and
fir, is made in the chalky districts of Salisbury Plain, after the lapse
of a few years truffles are produced, and that the plantations continue
productive for a period of from ten to fifteen years, after which they
cease to be so." No truffle spores were planted in these cases, but the
conditions of the soil, interlaced by the roots and shaded by the branches
of the young beech trees, or the beech and fir, became favorable for the
development of truffle "germs," and they made their appearance just as
mushrooms do in caves and other places, where artificial beds are made and
chemically balanced for their development and growth. And the reason why
they disappeared, after a period of ten or fifteen years, was simply
because the proper nutriment of the soil was exhausted, and not in
consequence of its being too deeply shaded by the growing trees. One
uniform rule would seem to govern in the culture of this much-coveted
fungus. Wherever the necessary environing conditions obtain, they
_appear_, and wherever these conditions fail, they _disappear_,
notwithstanding the most persistent efforts to save them by watering the
soil with fresh infusions of the plant. In proof of this, one form of
truffle (_Tuber æstivum_) appears under beech trees, another form (_Tuber
macrosporum_) under oak trees, and still a third form (_Tuber brumale_)
under oaks and white poplars; showing that so slight a change in soil
conditions as that resulting from the presence of poplars among oaks,
produces a very material change in the character of the fungus--one
amounting to a specific difference in variety.

The process of artificially producing mushroom spores is a very simple
one, and may be easily followed. You have only to collect a quantity of
horse-droppings, mingle with them some common road sand, place them under
cover, see that they are well beaten down in order to prevent
over-heating--turning them occasionally for the same purpose--and in due
time they will generate sufficient spores for a dozen mushroom beds of the
ordinary size. The reason for their appearance is the same as that
governing truffle spores--they come whenever conditions favor, that is,
whenever the soil is chemically balanced for their development and growth.
In other words, they come because it is just as impossible for them not to
come, in their proper environing conditions, as it is for the earth, in
its present cosmical relations, not to respond to its axial rotation. "Let
the earth bring forth" is just as much an outspoken law of nature, and one
as inexorably obeyed, as that unerring force of gravity which led
Leverrier, in the faith of his inductions, to indicate the precise point
in the heavens where the far-off planet, now bearing his name, might be
seen by the required telescope.

Dr. Cooke, quoting Mr. Cuthill's directions for producing mushroom spores,
says: "These little collections of horse-droppings and road sand, if kept
dry in shed, hole, or corner, under cover, will, in a short time, generate
plenty of spawn, and will be ready to spread on the surface of the bed in
early autumn." The collections should, of course, be made in the early
summer. But it is no part of our object to indicate, in this connection,
the process of truffle or mushroom culture. We merely refer to the methods
to show that the vital units, or germinal principles of life, in the case
of fungi, are just as dependent on "conditions" for their development, as
were the primordial germs of the gigantic cryptogams of the carboniferous
era. These primordial germs, or the _ZRA_ of the Bible genesis, must have
preceded the first fungous growth, as they preceded the first
spore-bearing cryptogam.

M. Gasparin, in his report on the production of truffles, made to the
great "Paris Exposition" of 1855, refers to the "natural truffle-grounds
at Vaucluse," where the "common oak produces truffles like the evergreen
oak;" although, in other localities, owing no doubt to the different
conditions of the soil, those gathered at the base of the one species of
oak differ very materially from those gathered at the base of the other.
All these experimental results, and many others we might give in
connection with the culture of edible fungi, point to the conditions of
the soil, produced by natural rather than artificial means, as
all-essential for the propagation of fungus spores, as well as their
development into full-sized plants. The cultivation of other and minuter
fungi, for scientific purposes, need not be referred to in this
connection. The same general observations will be found to apply in the
case of all the experiments tried, although some very curious and
remarkable modifications occur where pseudospores are to be found in the
micelium of different plants. Nearly all these fungi have their own
parasites, originating undoubtedly in the diseased conditions of the plant
from which they derive their nutriment. Indeed, all fungi, whether
parasitic or non-parasitic, have their origin, more or less definitely
occurring, in decay. It is no more true that death is a necessity of life,
than that life is an equal necessity of death. As out of the dead past
springs the eternally living present, so from the "muddy vesture of decay"
spring all the marvellous powers of reproduction with which nature was
endowed from the beginning.

But it is unnecessary to dwell longer on the spores of fungi. As with the
seeds of plants and trees, these spores never had an existence, and never
could have had one, before the first independent fungus appeared to
produce them. The fungus before the spore is the inevitable induction. No
distinction between necessary and contingent truth can ever take a
stronger hold than this on the human mind. Whence, then, the _first_
fungus? or whence, rather, all those colonies, families, orders,
divisions, and countless distinct individuals, extant everywhere, in the
mycological world? The answer we shall give will be anticipated from what
we have already so confidently affirmed. Life comes from Life, as spirit
comes from God. And when "the spirit of God" moved upon the face of the
depths--upon the face of all the earth--at whatever stage in the progress
of our planet, from its original form to its present myriad-thronged
condition of life, that transcendent event occurred, _Nature_, as we
half-idolatrously worship her, received her first baptism of life, and her
solemn consecration as "the vicar of God." No wonder, then, that at that
ecstatic moment, when the ineffably bright mantle, fringed with "the white
radiance of eternity," fell upon her, "the morning stars sang together and
all the sons of God shouted for joy." And nature has been true to both her
baptism and her consecration. She claims no worship, no adoration, no
idolatrous homage from man, but continually sends up her eternal chant and
choral anthem of praise to the great Giver of life. Every flower of the
field, every blade of grass, every stream that mirrors the heavens above
her, every mountain top from which she points an index finger, every
breeze in which she whispers, and every cataract in which she speaks, all
proclaim the power, the wisdom, the goodness of God--the source of all
life in the universe, from the minutest spore to all-inventive,
soul-endowed man.



Chapter V.

Plant Migration and Interglacial Periods.



Among the leading propositions laid down by Arthur Renfrey, Esq., F.R.S.
etc., etc., in the able article prepared by him for "The Physical Atlas of
Natural Phenomena," by Alexander Keith Johnston, Edinburg Edition, 1856,
on "The Geographical Distribution of the most Important Plants Yielding
Food," are the following:--

1. "The primary condition of the existence of any species of plant, is its
absolute creation, of which we know nothing.

2. "But we assume each species to have been _created but once in time and
in place_, and that its present diffusion is the result of its own law of
reproduction under the favorable or restrictive influences of laws
external to it.[14]

3. "The most important of external laws are those relating to climate,
since _any species can flourish only within narrower or wider, but always
fixed limits, of temperature, humidity etc_.,

4. "The climate depends primarily on latitude, since this indicates
distance from the source of heat, and the degree of obliquity of the
heating rays."

There are other governing conditions, of course, such as the average
rain-fall, distance from the equator, the elevation above the sea level in
the various mountain systems of vegetation, etc., including the
hygrometric, thermometric, telluric, and other conditions, of the several
localities in which the different species of vegetation make their
appearance.

But why should this distinguished naturalist insist upon the specific
creation of either plants or animals? No scientific work of any paramount
value confines the creative power of the universe to such narrow and
restricted limits. Nor is there a particle of evidence to be drawn from
the Bible that either plants or animals primarily originated in pairs.
"Let the earth bring forth" is a command without limitation, or
restriction, as to time, place, or number; and there is no reason to
doubt that myriads of living forms swarmed everywhere, at first as now,
in nature.

The idea, as expressed by Mr. Renfrey, that they were specifically created
at one time and place only, whether in pairs, tens, twenties, or hundreds,
is neither a rational one, nor has it any experience-argument or
scientific authority on which to stand. Take, for instance, an
experience-argument directly in point:--When the salt wells were first
bored at Syracuse, N.Y., and the salt water was suffered to flow in waste
over the low grounds about the salt-works, the small saline plants
peculiar to salt-marshes in the warm temperate zone made their appearance,
not in pairs, tens or hundreds, but in thousands rather, and have
nourished there ever since. They came because conditions favored; because
a salt-marsh had been artificially produced hundreds of miles away from
the sea coast. This is only one of a large number of cases--more than we
have room to specify in this connection--showing that wherever man,
artificially or otherwise, produces the necessary conditions of
plant-life, nature responds to the germinal law precisely as she did
millions of years ago when the first salt-marsh favored the appearance of
these saline plants--such as grow under no other conditions or
circumstances.

But this idea of plants coming primarily from a single pair of
progenitors, and each primordial pair branching off into diversified
offspring, as in the case of the cabbage, assumed to be the original
ancestor of all the turnips and ruta-bagas, may be an article of botanical
faith, but never of experimental proof. "_Entia non sunt multiplicanda
præter necessitatem_" is an old and well-approved maxim, applicable alike
to the countless myriads of living organisms, as to the innumerable
crystalline forms to be found everywhere in nature. Nothing is produced
without the necessary conditions on which its production depends.
"Necessity," in its primitive signification, is a term of the very widest
meaning, and most universal application. It applies as well to the course
of nature as to the course of human events--to the laws of vegetable and
animal growth as to the inevitable march and order of celestial movements.
As applied to any form of life-manifestation it implies a law of
development and growth, as well as the physiological conditions without
which vital manifestations are impossible. For law, in a physiological
sense, is that mode of vital action by which effects are invariably and
inevitably produced.[15] And this law is just as dependent on necessary
vital conditions as vital manifestations are dependent on a physiological
law. There must always be this reciprocal dependence and relationship
between conditioning causes and effects. Whenever and wherever the
necessary vital conditions exist, the physiological law takes effect, and
the requisite vital manifestation is witnessed. And this is no doubt as
true of animal as of vegetable life.

The earth's surface has been divided into eight separate zones, each of
which is distinguished by its peculiar or characteristic fauna and flora.
Their order, measured from the geographical equator, is as follows;

  1. The Equatorial Zone, extending from  0° to 15°.
  2. " Tropical       "      "         " 15° "  23°.
  3. " Sub-tropical   "      "         " 23° "  34°.
  4. " Warm Temperate "      "         " 34° "  45°.
  5. " Cold           "      "         " 45° "  58°.
  6. " Sub-arctic     "      "         " 58° "  66°.
  7. " Arctic         "      "         " 66° "  72°.
  8. " Polar          "      "         " 72° "  82°.

These several zones become sixteen in number when considered with
reference to both the northern and southern hemispheres. And a like
division of isothermals is made in the case of all our mountain systems,
extending in both directions from the equator. In ascending our
equatorial, tropical, and sub-tropical mountains, we find, of course, at
their several bases, the temperature of the zones in which they
respectively lie; from two thousand to three thousand feet, we reach the
next higher zone, and so on, at about the same ratio of altitude, until we
ascend to the polar zone or the line of perpetual ice and snow. The peak
of Teneriffe, for instance, lies in the sub-tropical zone, but, at the
elevation named, we meet with the vegetation which characterizes the warm
temperate zone. And this holds true of all our mountain systems, in all
latitudes, and at all altitudes, in all parts of the globe.

They all present the same or strikingly similar characteristics in plant
life, with such variations and modifications only as might be accounted
for, were all the influencing conditions and surrounding circumstances,
modifying geographical distribution, known to us. From the lowest to the
highest regions in which vegetation flourishes, this rule, with slight
exceptions only, will be found to obtain, and it is in this direction that
the observations of the scientific, as well as practical botanist, should
hereafter be extended.

Humboldt noticed this characteristic feature of the earth's vegetation
quite early in his explorations, and accordingly divided the tropical
mountains, as the earth's surface was then divided, into three separate
zones, the tropical, the temperate, and the frigid. But a closer
classification now distinguishes them into the same number of zones as are
marked, in approximate isotherms, on the earth's surface. Mr. Renfrey
gives us further statistics of great value respecting these several plant
zones of the globe, all of which fit so admirably into our theory of
plant-distribution, that we can hardly see how the most prejudiced mind
can resist the force of its application. Among the most important of these
statistical facts are tables giving the comparative rain-falls in the
different plant zones of the old and new worlds, and the classes of
vegetation peculiar to each of them.

The Equatorial zone, for instance, is characterized by extreme luxuriance
in growth, owing no doubt to the great heat and abundant moisture therein,
and exhibits a vegetation which is peculiar to itself, and which could
only thrive under the hygrometric, thermometric, telluric, and other
conditions of that extensive zone.

The Tropical zones (those north and south of the equator) are
characterized by a more abundant and diversified underwood, and, while
retaining some of the equatorial forms, present fewer parasites and less
rapid and luxuriant growths. They contain many plants and trees which are
peculiar to their own limits, and these are generally the hardiest and
most abundant. All equatorial forms disappear in these zones, that is do
not pass into the sub-tropical zones. And these characteristics obtain in
both the northern and southern tropical zones, as well as in the mountain
systems within the equatorial regions.

The Sub-tropical zones, while retaining some of the more marked forms and
general features of the tropical zones, such as palms, bananas, etc.,
exhibit the most striking characteristics of their own, consisting of a
greater abundance of forest trees, especially those having broad, leathery
and shining leaves, like the magnolias, the different species of laurels,
and plants of the myrtle family. The tropical forms all disappear in these
zones, as the equatorial do in the tropical zones.

The Warm Temperate zones exhibit the same disposition to retain some of
the hardier and more abundant sub-tropical forms that characterize the
other zones, in respect to their adjoining isotherms. But the trees and
plants peculiar to this zone north, (and the same is no doubt true of the
corresponding zone south), are more numerous, and embrace a wider range of
deciduous, as well as evergreen growths. Evergreen shrubs, heaths,
cistusses, and leguminous plants are everywhere more abundant. The marked
characteristic of these zones is that the trees, plants, and arborescent
grasses differ more widely in their general character, as well as run more
extensively into varieties.

The Cold Temperate zones retain many of the deciduous trees of the warm
temperate, but with less conspicuous blossoms, while a stronger tendency
is shown toward social conifers, and the trunks of the deciduous trees are
more profusely overrun with mosses, lichens, etc. These zones are also
abundant in grasses.

The Sub-arctic zone north largely retains its hold upon the social
conifers, giving place, northward, on this continent, as well as in Europe
and Asia, to birch and alder, alternating with willows where the soil is
sufficiently moist. Green pastures are still abundant, and showy flowering
herbs abound during the brief spring, summer, and autumn months.

The Arctic zone retains few of the sub-arctic forms and its vegetation
generally corresponds to what we call alpine shrubs, grasses, etc.

The North Polar zone shows few signs of vegetation and is thought to be
entirely devoid of shrubs. A few small herbacious perennials of the most
extreme dwarf habit, with a few lichens and mosses, constitute its entire
vegetation.

There are some seeming exceptions to these general statements respecting
plant-distribution, but they are hardly exceptions when we consider the
elevation at which any one species, as the birches for instance, may
appear, as they frequently do, in three several zones.

From these facts, gathered from the highest authorities, and well-attested
on all hands, what general conclusions, if any, are to be drawn? Before
answering this inquiry, let us proceed to state what conclusions _have_
been drawn. According to all the authorities we have examined on the
distribution of plant life; on the migration of plants and animals; on
climate and time as affecting the transference of isothermal and
isochimenal lines; on glacial and inter-glacial periods (with one
important exception only), the assumption maintained is substantially that
of Mr. Renfrey, that "each species of plant and animal was created but
once in time and place," and that its present diffusion is the result of
its "own law of reproduction under the favorable or restrictive influences
of laws external to it." In other words, they insist upon original
plant-centres, without definitely stating when or where they occurred, and
that from these centres both plants and animals have migrated to all parts
of the globe where they now appear, even crossing the equatorial zones
where they could not live for a single day. This migration theory they
attempt to explain in a way that is altogether more ingenious than
satisfactory.

The important exception to which we refer is that of Professor Agassiz, as
reported by his associate professor of Harvard University, Mr. Asa Gray,
in his "Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism." In this work
Professor Gray says of his late distinguished associate, that so far as he
was aware, Professor Agassiz was the only leading naturalist "who did not
take into his very conception of a species, explicitly or by implication,
the notion of a material connection resulting from the descent of the
individuals composing it from a common stock, of a local origin."

And Professor Gray adds this further testimony to the closeness of his
associate's observations, in considering the very point here under
consideration: "Agassiz wholly eliminates community of descent from his
idea of species, and even conceives a species to have been as numerous in
individuals, and as widely spread over space, or as segregated in
discontinuous spaces, from the first to the later periods." And this view
is undoubtedly the correct one. At all events, it entirely harmonizes with
the facts of the biblical genesis, and obviates the necessity of
accounting for the appearance of the same genera and species of plants or
animals in the southern as in the northern hemispheres; in fact, their
appearance in all parts of the globe, in corresponding isotherms, and
under similar conditions of moisture and soil-constituents.

Wherever the hygrometric, thermometric, telluric, and other conditions
favor, the class of vegetation indicated by the presence of these
conditions makes its appearance, just as the fire-weed makes its
appearance in our warm temperate zone, not from the presence of seed, but
simply the presence of "conditions"--the _pro_vision of man harmonizing
with the _pre_vision of nature. In the same way the "Japan clover" made
its appearance, as Professor Thurber states, "all over the southern
states" during the late civil war, not from the migration of plants, but
the presence of natural conditions.[16]

The numerous facts we have already given, and many others that might be
arrayed in advocacy of our position, taken in connection with the general
facts here presented in regard to plant-distribution, all point directly
to climatal and soil conditions as the real cause of dissemination, and
not to their migration from continent to continent, and across vast
intervening seas and oceans, as the theory of Professor Gray and others
would require us to believe. Take the case of the _Schizoea pusilla_ of
the New Jersey pine barrens, to which we have already referred, growing in
similar barrens in New Zealand, and how are we to account for their
antipodal appearance upon the globe? Professor Thurber refers to this
plant as a "purely local fern" of New Jersey, and says it was for a long
time supposed to be peculiar to that state until it was ascertained that
it grew in New Zealand. Whether this plant "travelled" from New Zealand to
New Jersey, or journeyed in the opposite direction, none of these
"specific-centre" gentlemen can well inform us. Professor Agassiz would
have said that it might have appeared, in numerous individuals, in both
localities at the same time, or at different times, as conditions favored;
and this would have been an exact scientific statement, no doubt, of the
fact. Mr. Arthur Renfrey, and those who accept his scientific formulæ,
must insist that this most beautiful of all our ferns was such a "favorite
child of nature" that she condescended to create it _twice_ "in time and
place," instead of only _once_. It is a poor rule, they may say, that has
no exceptions in phenomenal manifestation.

Professor Gray may insist that such a phenomenon as this requires belief
in the supernatural, and that migration by ocean-currents is the more
rational theory of the two. But M. Alphonse de Candolle--quite as high
authority as we can quote--has come to the conclusion that marine
currents, and all other suggested means of distant transportation, "have
played only a very small part in the actual dispersion of species," even
across narrow channels and the near arms of seas. But why should the
appearance of this fern at opposite points of the globe, with thousands of
miles of ocean and continent intervening, be any more supernatural than
the presence of _Bacteria_ or _Torulæ_[17] in different organic
infusions? If the vital units of these _infusoriæ_, are present in
experimental infusion, as Professor Bastian virtually admits, why may not
the vital germs or units of this _Schizoea pusilla_ have made their
appearance, in developmental forms, both in New Zealand and New Jersey, at
the same or different periods of time? If Professor Gray regards the
microscopical forms in organic infusions, or the statical forms in
inorganic solutions, as supernatural, or as above the powers of nature,
then we have no exceptions to make to his position. First, prove that
these vital manifestations of nature are above the powers with which she
has been endowed, or was originally endowed and we will concede the
question of supernaturalness, and drop all exceptions to his line of
argument. Whenever a dynamic law, or a statical, is found to be uniformly
operative under a given set of conditions, we had supposed the operation
not to be above the powers of nature, but in entire accord with them, and
hence not supernatural.

But let us see into what an inextricable labyrinth of difficulty we are
led by this theory of plant-migration from the equatorial to the
sub-arctic zone, and _vice-versa,_ and even beyond the equator to the
sub-antarctic zone, and still _vice versa_. Before proceeding to consider
the probable duration of the several geographical epochs, called glacial
periods, on which their theory of plant-migration depends, or considering
the evidence touching these glacial periods, we will state their position
in regard to these possible migrations as briefly and concisely as we know
how. Mr. Darwin's solution of this problem is the generally accepted one
of the evolutionists, as well as most of the present scientific world. As
the truth, or rather the falsity, of his pet theory of evolution depended
on the satisfactory solution of this vexed problem, it became necessary
for him to give his best and entire mental energies to the gigantic task
which was, by universal consent, assigned him. The reader shall see how
admirably the thermal equator is crossed by Mr. Darwin, with his vast
swarms of flies, mosquitoes, insectivorous and other plants, forest trees,
anthropoid apes, and general menagerie of wild animals, such as would
gladden the heart of the "great American showman" beyond the most
extravagant comparison.

The question, bear in mind, which he was specially called upon to solve,
was how the temperate forms north--those, for instance, of the warm and
cold temperate zones--managed to cross the thermal equator, and invade the
corresponding zones in the southern hemisphere; just as though there was
any more necessity of determining this question than the opposite one, of
how the southern forms came to invade the northern hemisphere. We will
give his solution of this problem in his own language, that we may not be
charged with misrepresentation.

He says, in speaking of the glacial periods: "As the cold became more and
more intense, we know that arctic forms invaded the temperate regions;
and, from the facts just given, there can hardly be a doubt that some of
the more vigorous, dominant, and widest-spread temperate forms invaded the
equatorial lowlands. The inhabitants (flora and fauna) of these hot
lowlands would at the same time have migrated to the tropical and
sub-tropical regions of the south; for the southern hemisphere was at this
period warmer. On the decline of the glacial period, as both hemispheres
gradually recovered their former temperatures, the northern forms living
on the lowlands under the equator would have been driven to their former
homes or have been destroyed, being replaced by the equatorial forms
returning from the south. Some, however, of the northern temperate forms
would almost certainly have ascended any adjoining highland, where, if
sufficiently lofty, they would have long survived, like the arctic forms
on the mountains of Europe.

"In the regular course of events the southern hemisphere would, in its
turn, be subject to a severe glacial period, with the northern hemisphere
rendered warmer; and then the southern temperate forms would invade the
equatorial lowlands. The northern forms which had before been left on the
mountains would now descend and mingle with the southern forms. These
latter, when the warmth returned, would return to their former homes,
leaving some few species on the mountains, and carrying southward with
them some of the northern temperate forms, which had descended from their
mountain fastnesses. Thus we should have some few species identically the
same in the northern and southern temperate zones, and on the mountains of
the intermediate tropical regions."

We are sorry to spoil so ingenious a theory as this to account for
plant-migration from the temperate zones north to the corresponding zones
south. But in spite of all the great names which will frown down upon us
in the attempt, we are obliged to demolish this altitudiness structure,
even at the risk of its tumbling about our own ears.

But first let us lay down a few undeniable propositions, on the
strength of which this ingenious and purely speculative theory of Mr.
Darwin must rest:--

1. It is universally conceded by the scientific world that these glacial
epochs, however many of them there may have been in the past and however
few there may be in the future, depend, for their occurrence, upon the
maxima of eccentricity in the earth's orbit about the sun.

2. The actual amount of heat which the earth annually receives from the
sun is in no way affected by the eccentricity of its orbit. It is a
constant quantity, and only unequally distributed on the earth's surface,
being neither increased nor diminished, as our winters occur in aphelion
or perihelion.

3. The actual amount of ice-cap accumulated about the two poles of the
earth, is also a constant quantity. And to measure the severity of any
glacial epoch, we have only to determine the exact amount of ice (not
altogether an impossible problem) about the two poles at any given time,
and then determine the effect of its entire transference from one pole to
the other.

4. It is not probable that the present ice-cap of the south pole extends
continuously and permanently much farther north than 80° or 81°. Mt.
Erebus, in Victoria Land, lies in about this latitude, and it was only a
few years since that the coast line of that island or continent was
traversed, by English exploring vessels, from Mt. Erebus to a point some
ten or twelve degrees further north. [18]

5. But if we estimate the southern cap as extending continuously to 75°,
what would be the effect of its transference at once to the ice-cap of the
north pole? Would it extend it, after assuming its proper glacial slope,
below 60°, a point falling within the present subarctic zone? The utmost
limit to which Mr. Croll, in his great work on "Climate and Time,"
conceives it possible that it should extend, in any glacial epoch, is to
55°, or about the northern boundary of England.

Now unless the astronomers and physicists are all at sea about the causes
of glaciation, the warm temperate zone can never be pushed any further
south than the tropical zone, nor the cold temperate any further than the
sub-tropical. This would be the extreme limit. Mr. Croll says, in speaking
of these glacial periods; "It is, of course, absurd to suppose that an
ice-cap could ever actually reach down to the equator. It is probable that
the last great ice-cap of the glacial epoch nowhere reached half way to
the equator. Our cap (that of Europe) must therefore, terminate at a
moderately high latitude." And if the gulf stream flows southward during
the glacial period north, as he supposes probable, the cap on this
continent would probably terminate at the same moderately high latitude.
Assuming that Mr. Croll's estimate is the more probable one, it would only
push the cold temperate zone down to the line of the Gulf States; the warm
temperate, to the southern line of Mexico; the sub-tropical, to the
Central American States, and the tropical to the United States of
Columbia, Venezuela, and Guiana.

Suppose, then, that some seven hundred thousand years ago, more or less,
when the North Pole had fully donned the earth's ice-cap, with all the
isothermal and isochimenal changes thereby effected, what must have been
the line of march taken by our northern vegetal and animal forms to escape
the cataclysm of ice and snow then impending? Manifestly, they would have
flocked, first to the Gulf states, then to Mexico, and afterwards to the
Central American states; but none of them could ever have been crowded
through the Isthmus of Panama, since at the height of the last glaciation,
that portion of the continent must have been the tropical barrier to our
northern forms, as it is now the equatorial barrier.

For the sake of the argument, however, we will suppose the northern
ice-cap to have been even more imperative in its demands than Mr. Croll
has deemed possible, driving some of our warm and cold temperate forms
down into the lowlands of Columbia, Venezuela, etc., in the extreme
northern portions of South America. But how would these forms have
managed, even then, to cross the thermal equator and secure a permanent
habitat in the present warm and cold temperate zones of that continent?
Manifestly, this question has never been practically solved, nor is it
ever likely to be in our day or generation. It is nevertheless susceptible
of solution, as Mr. Darwin thinks, by easy mental processes. We have only
to take a bird's eye view of the situation, and mentally follow these
forms in their long geographical tramp from the northern to the southern
hemisphere.

They must have started, of course, some twenty thousand years or more
before the earth reached its last superior limit of eccentricity. At that
distant epoch the sub-arctic breezes must have been blowing pretty stiffly
in our present temperate latitudes, and these forms would have been
constrained, in due time, to seek a more congenial isotherm. They must
accordingly have set out on their expedition, at about the period
indicated, with the prospect of a long and tedious journey before them.
Some twenty thousand years must have transpired before they reached the
line of the present Gulf states, and it would have taken as many more
years for them to deploy to the right and successfully enter the Mexican
states. In another twenty thousand years or so they might have doubled
Vera Cruz, and headed, in a southeasterly direction, for the Central
American states. The thermal equator would by this time have reached a
point some thirty degrees south of the geographical equator, while the
northern ice-cap would have swept down upon the traditional "hub of the
universe," or some ten or twelve degrees in excess of Mr. Croll's
calculations.

To have accomplished this grand glaciatorial feat the North Pole must have
donned some twenty times the amount of ice now about both poles of the
earth, and so changed the earth's centre of gravity as to have inundated
every foot of land on its habitable surface. But if this terrible
catastrophy had been avoided, and some of our extreme northern forms had
forced their way through the Isthmus into the lowlands of Columbia, they
must have done so at their greatest possible peril, even if they had
reached the base of Old Mt. Tolima in advance of the thermal equator, now
fleeing in dismay before the southern Ice-monarch, with all his
isochimenal hosts in mad pursuit of their invaders. And if these
adventurous northern forms had succeeded in ascending Mt. Tolima, they
could never have got down again, with the assistance of forty glaciations.

But we can imagine Mr. Darwin promptly snatching his pen to show the
stupidity of these northern forms in not climbing Popocatepetl or some
other lofty mountain in Central America or Mexico, on their retreat before
the still advancing thermal equator. But how this would have helped them
to cross the geographical equator, we fail to see. When Mr. Darwin, and
the eminent corps of geologists and physicists accepting his solution of
this "vexed question," can make a "warm term" south _succeed_ a "cold
term" north, we shall have no difficulty in solving the problem ourself.
But, unfortunately, the two terms--the cold one north and the warm one
south--are simultaneous in occurrence, and the same causes which forced
these northern invaders into the tropics, when they followed _after_ the
thermal equator, would have driven them ignominously back again _before_
it. The climbing of mountains would only have prolonged their disaster.
For after the glaciation north comes the glaciation south, and unless our
cold temperate zone were pushed down beyond the geographical equator, none
of its living forms could ever have reached the corresponding zone in the
southern hemisphere.

But as this "migration theory" is one of paramount importance to modern
science, and especially to "Darwinism," [19] distinctively so called, let
us, at the risk of repetition and tediousness, propose a scientific
expedition for the better solution of this problem. To do this, we propose
to cut loose from our stupid predecessors, the plants and animals, and
invite Mr. Darwin and some of his more distinguished European
contemporaries, not omitting Professors Gray, Winchell, Yeomans, and some
few other American admirers of his, to accompany us on a fresh expedition
from the warm and cold temperate zones north to the corresponding zones
south, _purely in the interest of science_. To make it certain that the
time fixed upon for this "expedition" to start, will not escape their
attention, we will state what many of them already well know, that the
present eccentricity of the earth's orbit is very low, being only 0.0168,
and that, in the year of our Lord 851,800, it will reach its next superior
limit, with a few intervening oscillations of such minimum value as to
render it hardly worth our while to start before that time.

We shall be obliged, of course to invite our distinguished European party
to join us on this side of the Atlantic, as their own narrow and
contracted continent furnishes no proper field for determining the problem
in question. We shall insist upon one condition only: "_That they shall
never leave the warm temperate zone in which we shall set out on our
expedition, except to pass halfway into an adjoining zone as is the habit,
at times, with plants and animals_." This condition will have to be
rigidly observed, otherwise our expedition would be of no scientific value
to future generations. As we shall have plenty of time to provide the
necessary outfit, we will appoint Mr. Darwin purveyor-general of the
party, and hold him responsible for any misadventure.

We will arrange for the expedition to start in the early autumn of the
year of our Lord 831,800, or about twenty thousand years before the earth
shall reach its next superior limit of eccentricity,--all of us eager, of
course, to brave the climatic vicissitudes of the journey, and to solve
the "great problem of the ages," which is, to determine how the gigantic
elephantoids of the Eocene period managed to cross the thermal equator,
and pass into the present arctic regions of our globe.

As "the king never dies," so the old southern Ice-monarch will be
succeeded by the young northern one, at about the period named. We shall
then have a decided advantage over our predecessors, the plants and
animals, in their journey southward, since we shall know the exact route
they took, and need only follow it. Presumably they had no such
information, nor had they either chart or compass to guide them,--a
circumstance which Mr. Darwin has not sufficiently taken into account in
predicating intelligence of his favorite pedestrians. Besides, these
vegetal and animal forms had one difficulty to encounter which we shall
not experience. With all the northern forms driven down into the Central
American states, they must have been sadly crowded for room, especially
near the Isthmus. The social conifers must have monopolized all the more
favored sites on the mountain sides and tops, while the humbler denizens
of the forest must have contented themselves with still more limited
quarters. The more impatient animals, for lack of necessary forage, must
have crowded through the Isthmus only to be driven back by the tropical
heats to their proper isotherms.

But our warm temperate zone is now moving southward, and our scientific
expedition is moving with it. The northern Ice-monarch has resumed
absolute sway, and our aphelion distance from the sun has increased some
tens millions of miles. We have, in the mean time, moved down to the line
of the Gulf states, and are deploying to the right in order to make a
triumphant entry into Mexico. Mr. Darwin is daily consulting the
isochimenals, and is confident that our northern ice-cap will equal Mr.
Croll's highest expectations. The news finally reaches us that the Gulf
stream has turned its course southward, and is now pouring its immense
treasures of heat into the South Atlantic, if not turning the African
"horn" and washing the far-off Australian coast. This fact greatly
increases the enthusiasm of our European party, and they hasten forward
into the sub-tropical zone, almost "violating conditions" in their haste
to enter the tropics.

At length, we crowd the narrow passages of the Isthmus, and the glory of a
warm temperate climate bursts upon our view in the Columbian states, of
South America. _The expedition promises to be an entire success_. At
least, Mr. Darwin thinks so, and he is now the Sir Oracle of our party. We
deliberately enter the lowlands of Columbia, and make ready to ascend the
sub-tropical mountains--those formerly equatorial--where the "great
scientific problem of the ages" is to be demonstrated. But we are
measuring time by almost _Sirius_ distances, and vast geologic periods
sweep by without apparent record. The northern ice-cap has been a
prodigious one, crowding us nearly down to the geographical equator, with
the advantage we have of appropriating some five and half degrees of the
sub-tropical zone.

But the year Anno Domini 851,800 finally rolls round, and the maximum of
the earth's ice-cap is reached. Old Mt. Tolima looms up in the distance,
and we soon ascertain that its height is sufficient for all scientific
purposes. Its summit displays a glittering ice-cap, and we are certain to
find the proper isotherm by climbing its umbrageous sides. We accordingly
make haste to reach its base, and get there not a minute too soon; for the
young southern Ice-monarch has stolen a march on the thermal equator, and
is driving it irresistibly back to its old quarters. His march northward
is a continuous triumph and ovation up to 55°, and the heart of Patagonia
is made glad by his near approach. True, the white gates of commerce are
closed about the Horn; but that is no concern of these wild Patagonians.
The aggressive Britton is driven out of New Zealand, and that is another
source of joy to the savage breast. Tasmania would extend a gladder
welcome than all to the Ice-crowned monarch, but alas, not a drop of
Tasmanian blood runs in human veins! Cape Good Hope has now a sub-arctic
climate, and the heart of the wild Kaffir and Zulu rejoices that the
sceptre of "perfidious Albion" is broken.

The thermal equator at length reaches the base of Mt. Tolima, and hastens
northward to the Isthmus, and thence to Hondurus and New Guatemala, where,
by sheer force of exhaustion, it comes to a halt.

But, as the equatorial zone extends fifteen degrees both ways from the
thermal equator, its southern limit now rests on the geographical equator,
and accordingly encircles the base of our "mount of refuge." We are now up
this mountain some sixteen thousand feet above the equatorial lowlands,
with the sub-tropical, tropical, and equatorial zones between us and the
possibility of our further migration southward, without violating the
express conditions imposed at the outset of our expedition.

The fact soon stares us in the face that we have been no more successful,
in our efforts to cross the thermal equator and pass into high southern
latitudes, than the stupid plants and animals before us; and Mr Darwin's
faith in high mountains springing from equatorial lowlands, disappears in
jest and derision as we all good-humoredly agree "to break conditions,"
and find our way back to the centres of activity and trade in the Old and
New Worlds, leaving the great scientific problem of the ages to solve
itself as best it may. We accordingly descend from our mountain fastness,
hasten to the coast, and take passage by steamer to Manhattan, the great
commercial metropolis of the world. Here we find that the barometer of
exchange was long ago taken down in London and hung up in New York. The
Old Antiquarian Society rooms are the first object of interest sought by
us. On making our way thither we look for a copy of the _Herald_, of the
date of our departure, in which we find an account of the scientific
expedition fitted out by us, facetiously termed "_The Great Wild-Goose
Chase after the Thermal Equator_"--presenting one of the most humorous
bits of sensational pleasantry ever given to the American public.

But an apology is due the staider reader for the seeming levity of this
narrative adventure. The exposition of Mr. Darwin, though widely accepted
on both sides of the Atlantic by the scientific world, has seemed to us
too trivial for serious reply. If we have leaped over vast periods of
time, it makes no difference with the argument. So long as the thermal
equator, or more properly the equatorial zone, or any part of it, lies
between the warm or cold temperate forms, whether plants or animals, and
their point of destination in the southern hemisphere, they can never
migrate thither, any more than the right whale of the arctic seas can swim
the equatorial oceans. Nothing is gained by going out of the way to climb
mountains, except to hopelessly retard the return of both plants and
animals to their native zones. If we have not demonstrated this fact to
the reader's fullest comprehension, it will be useless for him ever to
write a Q.E.D. at the end of any proposition.

It is true that some eminent astronomers and physicists hesitate to
accept the theory that these glacial epochs are due to the eccentricity
of the earth's orbit. But the argument favoring it is well fortified and
ably advanced, and if we add to the astronomical considerations involved,
the physical proofs of a change in the earth's centre of gravity, caused
by the excessive accumulation of ice about either pole, and the probable
shifting of the Gulf stream to a southerly direction during the glacial
period north, it is difficult to resist the conviction that the real
cause of glaciation has been suggested in this theory. With all the ice
now accumulated about the south pole transferred to the north pole, it
would make an ice-cap of over thirty miles in thickness at the pole, and
one sloping in all directions southward to about 60°. This accumulation,
it is claimed, would so change the earth's centre of gravity as to cause
all the equatorial warm waters to flow southward instead of northward, as
they now do.

This would certainly seem to be a most wonderful provision of nature, as
well as one strongly calculated to impress the human mind with the belief
that an Infinite _Pre_vision lies behind all possible _pro_vision, whether
witnessed in the heavens or in the earth, in astronomical or physical
phenomena. Everywhere we see infinite perfection, combined with infinite
beneficence, in the adaptation of means to ends. Nothing runs to
waste--all things are conserved for use.

But in all the outspoken grandeur of the universe, there is nothing so
grand, in exhibition at least, as the simple faith of a child, that "He
who watereth the hills from his chambers," and "causeth the day-spring to
know his place," will watch over the trustful little sleeper during the
darkness and silence of the night.



Chapter VI.

The Distribution and Premanence of Species.



Professor Gray, in his address before the American Association for the
advancement of science, delivered at Dubuque (Ia.) in 1872, while
remarking upon the wide extent of similar flora in the same plant zones,
says: "If we now compare, as to their flora generally, the Atlantic United
States with Japan, Mantchooria and Northern China,--_i.e._ Eastern North
America with Eastern North Asia--half the earth's circumference apart, we
find an astonishing similarity." But why astonishing? Had our
distinguished botanical professors, in this country and in Europe,
thoroughly informed themselves as to the climatic conditions, the general
physical features, geographical characteristics, soil-constituents, and
other conditional incidences of this Asiatic region, in the light of all
the physiological facts before them, the circumstance of this great
similarity of flora would have been anything but astonishing. Indeed, the
astonishment, if any, would have been expressed at the want of similarity,
had it been found to exist.

Ever since 1862, these distinguished professors have had the great
plant-charts of Mr. Arthur Renfrey before them, with the warm temperate
zone north accurately laid down in its proper isotherms, as well as the
different classes of vegetation peculiar to the two regions referred to,
and some general conclusions of value to science might have been drawn
therefrom. Besides, the fact of these similar antipodal flora was well
known to many of them before this chart was issued. They also knew that
all along the higher mountain ranges of this country, as well as in
Europe, the same alpine flora was to be found under the same or similar
alpine conditions. From Mt. St. Elias, in Alaska, to the Central American
States, and thence, through the Isthmus, to the southern extremity of the
Andes in South Patagonia, there is one unbroken line of alpine vegetation
pressing the sides or summits of the loftier mountain ranges, at altitudes
correspondingly varying with the latitudes in which they occur. And the
same is true of the Alps in Europe and the Himalaya ranges in Asia, if not
of all the mountain systems of the globe.

These, and hundreds of other equally suggestive facts, all pointing to
geographical, climatic, and other influencing conditions, as the real
objective points of inquiry, have been constantly before our botanical
friends; and yet they have been content with Mr. Darwin's theory of
climbing mountains to cross the geographical equator, under the impression
that an enormous ice-cap, or rather prodigious "ice-ulster," would
ultimately drift them into the southern hemisphere, or enable them to
"coast" their way thither with the greatest imaginable ease. But why
insist upon the migration of plants growing in the lowlands and about the
bases and sides of mountains, and not suggest some means of transport for
the equally beautiful flora, known as "alpine," on the mountain summits of
the earth? These are distributed, as we have before shown, over all our
mountain systems, in all latitudes and in all parts of the globe, as well
as in the higher regions of vegetation as we approach the north pole.
Surely, the delicate little harebells of these alpine regions should
attract some interest, if not sympathy, from those who are constantly
hunting up means of transport for the more hardy and robust plants that
seem able to take care of themselves almost anywhere.

When the next great ice-cap shall sweep down from the north pole upon
these beautiful alpine flowers they will have to travel somewhere. There
is manifestly as much necessity for them to get out of the way as for the
rest of the flora. How will they manage to get down the mountains into the
lowlands, and traverse uncongenial plains and deserts, to find other and
far-distant alpine homes? They can never, of course, get very far away
from the regions skirted by eternal frost, for their cup of joy must be
chaliced by the snow-flake, or their beautiful life is soon ended. But if
all our alpine flora have traveled from one evolutional centre, or have
been "created but once in time and place," how have they managed to cross
the thermal equator and spread themselves out over all the alpine regions
of the globe? We call upon Mr. Darwin and Professor Gray to rise and
explain. Not that we want any explanation, but that their theory of
plant-migration stands sadly in need of one.

The theory which the Bible genesis suggests to us is fully adequate to the
explanation wanted. It explains not only _why_ these alpine flora appear
where they do, but why they cannot appear anywhere else. It also explains
all the physiological facts to which we have referred in the foregoing
chapters. Wherever the necessary alpine conditions exist the earth
responds to the divine command, and the beautiful little alpine harebell
is cradled into life, and rejoices in the bright embroidery it wears. And
so, wherever streams are turned aside to flow through new meads and
sheltered woods, or over broken and swaly places where cowslips never grew
before, hardly a year will pass before this "wan flower" will hang therein
"its pensive head," while all along the line of the stream the black alder
will make its appearance in the lowlands, no matter how far its current
may be diverted from its original channel, or how distant the supply of
natural seeds. For nature's sternest painter can only delineate her as
"instinct with music and _the vital spark_."

If our botanical professors would come forth into the true light of
nature, they should accept the position of pupil to her, and not assert
that of teacher. So long as they continue to peep and botanize upon her
grave, or over ancient mounds and Hadrianic tumuli, they will never find
out the cunning of her processes, much less the means she employs to
accomplish her perfected ends. This modern idolatry of "hypotheses," with
our chronic neglect of what nature _does_, is the great scientific
stumbling-block of the age in which we live. Our botanists all agree that
certain plants and trees disappear--hopelessly die out--from the
_absence_ of "necessary conditions;" when will they come to recognize the
reverse of this undeniable proposition, and agree that the _presence_ of
necessary conditions may cause the same plants and trees to make their
appearance, that is, spring into life in obedience to some great primal
law, as unerringly obeyed by nature as the attractive force of the
universe itself?

For nearly half a century the fact has been known that the geographical
distribution of the European flora, and especially that of the British
Islands, was referable to latitude, elevation, and climatic conditions. As
early as 1835, Mr. Hewett Watson, a well-known botanist of that day, in
his published "Remarks on the Geographical Distribution of Plants, in
connection with Latitude, Elevation, and Climate," drew the attention of
the botanical world to this remarkable feature of plant distribution;
while the late Professor Edward Forbes pursued the same line of thought in
his attempt to show how geographical changes had affected plant areas in
Great Britain as far back as the last glacial drift. And yet all our
botanical writers have been steadily persisting on immense
plant-migrations to account for their geographical distribution, and have
given us maps without number to show how the vegetal hosts have traversed
vast continents, swam multitudinous seas, braved the fiery equator, and
scaled the summits of the loftiest Andes. In the mean time, no botanist of
any distinguished note, except M. De Candolle, has confidently ventured to
question this migration theory, so imposing and formidable has been the
array of names which have frowned down, like so many gigantic ghauts, upon
the audacious questioner.

But the present actual state of knowledge on this subject forbids us any
longer to accept theories for facts, premises for conclusions, or
fallacious reasoning for legitimate induction. Truth and daylight never
meet in a corner, and no one, in our day, need go to the bottom of a well
in search of either. We are forever stumbling over the truth without
knowing it, because our old traditional beliefs, like so many
superannuated grasshoppers, are constantly springing up in our path and
diverting our attention from her. There are physiological facts enough
daily obtruding themselves upon our attention, if we would but notice
them, in the case of wayside plants, garden and household weeds, and the
more aggressive vegetation of worn out pasture-lands, to satisfy us of the
truth of our theory, were it not for the swarms of these old traditional
grasshoppers continually rising into the air before us, and shutting out
the truth as it is in nature. And the worst feature about this whole
business is, that we have come to regard these multitudinous insects as a
delight instead of a burden.

But it is hardly necessary to pursue this subject further. We have shown,
or shall show in the succeeding pages, that all crystalline forms come
from necessary or favoring statical conditions; that all infusorial forms
come in the same way, only their conditions may be said to be dynamical
rather than statical; that all mycological forms (fungi) are dependent,
for their primary manifestation, on conditions of moisture and decay; that
all plant-life, from the lowest cryptogam to the lordliest conifer, is
dependent on some similar incidence of conditions; that the mastodon, now
only known by his fossil remains, must have wallowed forth from his
"necessary mire" (plasmic conditions) in the Eocene period; and that all
animal life must have come from some underlying law of primordial
conditions, as impressed upon matter, in harmony with the "Divine
Intendment" from the beginning; and that this law is still operative in
the production of new forms of life whenever and wherever the same may
appear. We shall also show that all living organisms, such as seeds,
fungus-spores, morphological cells, etc., perish at a temperature of about
100° C., and that _Bacteria, Torulæ_, and other infusorial forms, making
their appearance in super-heated flasks, originate not from morphological
cells, plastide particles, bioplasts, or any other vital organism, but
from indestructible vital units, which are everywhere present in the
organic matter of our globe, and ready to burgeon forth into life whenever
the necessary vital conditions exist, and the proper incidences of
environment occur.

We have also shown that the earth still obeys the divine command to bring
forth, or--if objection be made to this form of statement as
unscientific--still obeys some inexorable underlying law tantamount to
such command, and can no more help "bringing forth," when the necessary
telluric conditions favor, than the cold can help coming out of the north,
or the clouds dropping rain, when the necessary meteorological conditions
occur. Give the future American botanist the physical geography of a
country--its average rain-fall, temperature, etc., and the plant zone in
which it lies, and, whether explored or unexplored, he will give us the
general character of its vegetation, and name most of the plants and trees
peculiar to its soil. And he will do this, not because he has any faith in
the present theories of plant-migration, nor in the necessary distribution
of seeds, but because he will study his favorite science with reference to
latitude, elevation, climate, physical characteristics, rain-fall,
soil-constituents, and other influencing conditions of plant-life.

But we will now proceed to consider the duration of vegetable species, for
the purpose of showing that the evolutional changes they are undergoing,
if any, must cover infinitely vaster periods of time than we have any data
for determining, to say nothing of the unverified theories the
evolutionists have been spinning for us.

Our geologic and paleontologic records are becoming richer in materials,
more interesting in details, and more authentic in character, every year.
We are turning back page after page of these lithographic records, only
to find the domain of science widened and deepened in interest as we
advance, or as our rocks are being excavated, our mountains tunneled, our
vast mines explored, and the beds of our rivers and arms of seas
thoroughfared and traversed by the iron rail. Meanwhile, science exhibits
signs of becoming less devoted to new-fangled theories, more exacting in
her demands upon her votaries, and more eager to extend the domain of
facts as the only true basis on which to rest her claims for future
recognition. She is less dogmatic to-day than she was a year ago, and is
likely to become less so a year hence than now. And this is largely due
to her methods of research and inquiry. She is now everywhere sending out
her hardier and more enthusiastic sons into new fields of exploration, to
return laden with ampler materials to build, and richer treasures to
adorn, a temple worthy of her name. In the field of the fossilized fauna
and flora, these treasures are of the highest value and interest, all
indicating not only wide areas of distribution, but immense periods of
time, in which species have existed without any greater changes in
character than the necessary shadings into varieties would seem to
require. For nature everywhere characterizes her methods of production
and reproduction by a loving tendency to diversify and variously adorn
her species, as if to express the infinite conceptions of that power
above her, which "spake and it was done, which commanded and it was
brought forth."

From the fossilized plants of Atanekerdluk--a flora rich in species and
wonderfully preserved in type--and the Miocene flora of Spitzenburg, to
the southernmost limits of vegetation on the globe, science has reached
out her hands for materials, and gathered them with as much success as
avidity. And all scientific botanists agree in referring these fossilized
forms from the high northern latitudes, to the Miocene period--one so
remote that we can form no adequate conception of it, except as time may
be measured by geologic periods. And these materials show that varieties
of the _Sequoia_, the tulip-tree, oaks, beeches, walnuts, firs, poplars,
hazelnuts, etc., etc., all flourished in these sub-arctic regions during
the far-distant period we have named. Many of them must have grown on the
spot where their trunks are now to be found, as their roots remain
undisturbed in the soil, as well as at a time when these regions enjoyed a
warm or cold temperate climate. Many of these fossilized and carbonized
forms are identical with the living species of to-day, conclusively
showing that neither natural variation, nor any secondary causes, have
worked out any changes capable of being scientifically expressed in
genetic value.

There is also abundant evidence to show that many of the present tropical
forms flourished in central and southern Europe as far back as the warm
inter-glacial epoch in the Eocene period. And if these inter-glacial
periods occurred at the lowest minimum limits of eccentricity in the
earth's orbit, as calculated by Leverrier's formulæ, we can have no
conception whatever of the length of time actually intervening the period
named and our present era. Mr. Croll has given us the limits of highest
glaciation covering the last three million years, and shows that there
have been but two periods of superior eccentricity in that time, and can
be only one in the next million years, with but two or three intervening
maxima and minima that may, or may not have been, of any special value. It
is true that he assigns importance to these maxima, as affecting possible
glaciations, but there are other eminent astronomers and physicists who
differ from him, and really attach little or no importance to these of any
other intervening periods of eccentricity. If Mr. Croll is correct in his
theory and estimates, we must separate these superior glacial epochs by an
interval of not less than one million seven hundred thousand years; and
nearly three of these periods must have intervened since some of the
present tropical forms flourished in Europe. And if these forms have
undergone no specific change in all this time, how many years will it
require to work out even _one_ of Mr. Darwin's many evolutional changes?

The kinship between some of these arctic and sub-arctic fossilized flora
and the living forms of to-day, is so near that they cannot be
distinguished by a single difference. This is true of some of the
varieties of the _Sequoia_ family, the oaks, beeches, firs, hazelnuts,
etc., while others are so nearly identical that it would be difficult to
classify them as separate varieties. At all events, if they cannot be
placed in the list of identical species, they cannot be ruled out of
representative types. But why should our speculative botanists insist upon
these "evolutional changes" in plant-life--these "derivative forms" of
which they are constantly speaking? Paleontological botany has given us
the very highest antiquity of species, and the most that can be claimed is
that nature was just as prolific of diversified forms millions of years
ago as now. Because we, by forcing nature into unnatural, if not
repugnant, alliances, can produce

            --"Streak'd gillyflowers,
  Which some call nature's bastards."

it is no evidence that she commits any such offence against herself. Her
alliances are all loving ones. She indulges in no forced methods of
propagation. If she produced the _Sequoia gigantea_, or the great redwood
tree of our California Sierra, as far back as the Crustaceous period, she
has propagated it ever since according to her own loving methods, and it
is idle to talk of the _Sequoia Langsdorfii_ as being the original
ancestor of this tree, or any other distinguished branch of the sequoias.
How much more rational the suggestion of Professor Agassiz that these
trees--the entire family of sequoias--were quite as numerous in
individual varieties at first as now, and that the fruit of the one can
never bear the fruit of the other.

Again, take the still hardier and more numerous branches of the
_Quercus_ or oak family. M. De Candolle has expended a vast deal of
ingenuity to show that the various members of this old and
ancestrally-knotty family have all descended from two or three of the
hardier varieties. He arrives at this conclusion from a geographical
survey of what he would call the "whole field of distribution," and
"the probable historical connection between these congeneric species."
But science should deal with as few probabilities as possible,
especially where experience furnishes no guide to certainty, and only
the remotest clue to likelihood. We should never predicate
probabilities except on some degree of actual evidence, or some
likelihood of occurrence, falling within the limits, analogically or
otherwise, of human observation and experience. In no other way can we
determine whether an event is probable or not. But here we have not so
much as a probable experience to guide us. Geographical distribution in
the past is hardly a safe criterion to go by, because we can never be
absolutely certain that we have the requisite data on which to form a
determinate judgment. The _Quercus robur_ may furnish the maximum test
to-day, but a few concealed pockets of nature may bring some other
variety of the congeneric species to the front to-morrow, requiring M.
De Candolle to correct his classification. There are no less than
twenty-eight varieties of this one species of oak, all of them conceded
to be spontaneous in origin, and it has been on the earth quite as long
as the more stately tribe of Sequoias. Besides, not more than one
twenty-thousandth part of the earth's surface has been dug over to
determine the extent to which any one of its varieties has flourished
in the past.

Since these several varieties are only one degree removed from each other,
M. De Candolle supposes divergence to be the natural law which has
governed their growth, and not hereditary fixity. But here again he has
only remote probabilities to work upon, no absolute data. We are still
speaking of his fossilized herbaria, not his modern specimens. These may
show a large number of genetically-connected individuals, or those claimed
to be so connected. And yet no naturalist can be certain that, because
they exhibit similarly marked characteristics, the one ever descended from
the other; for the universal experience-rule still holds good that "like
engenders like," and we search in vain for anything more than a similarity
of _idea_, or logical connection, which justifies a recognition of the
_individuorum similium_ in Jessieu's definition of species. But similarity
must not be mistaken for absolute likeness, which nowhere exists in
nature. Infinite diversity is the law, absolute identity the rarest
possible exception. No two oak leaves, for instance, in a million will be
found actually alike, although taken from the same tree, or trees of the
same variety; and the same may be said of the segmentation and branching
of their limbs, as well as the striatures of their corticated covering,
_Et sic de similibus_ everywhere, and with respect to every thing. Nature
is more solicitous of diversity and beauty, than of similarity and
tameness of effect, in all her landscape pictures; and the Platonic
conception that "contraries spring from contraries," may be only a
supplementary truth to that of _de similibus_. In the eye of the soul all
objective existences are discerned in their logical order, or as
consecutive thoughts of the Divine mind, as outspoken in the material
universe. To insist upon cutting down these transcendental forms[20] into
the smallest possible number of similar or identical forms, may be all
well enough to accomplish scientific classification; but the productive
power of nature can never be limited by these mental processes of our own.

The oak family can be traced back to the Miocene period, and consequently
enjoys quite as high an antiquity as the sequoias. Professor Gray, in
speaking of the _Quercus robur_ and its probable origin, says that it is
"traceable in Europe up to the commencement of the present epoch, looks
eastward, and far into the past on far-distant shores." By "far-distant
shores," he undoubtedly means Northwest America, where its remotest
descendants still flourish. But that these trees should have waded the
Pacific, or sent their acorns on a voyage of discovery after new habitats
on the Asiatic coast, is hardly more probable than Jason's voyage after
the golden fleece, in any other than a highly figurative sense. The
spontaneous appearance of a forest of oaks on the eastern shores of Asia
was just as probable, under favoring conditions--though occurring
subsequently to the time of their appearance on this continent--as that of
the miniature forests of "samphire," or small saline plants, which
spontaneously made their appearance about the salt-works of Syracuse, when
conditions actually favored. The high antiquity of the oak makes no
difference in respect to the principle of dispersion, since geographical
conditions are what govern, and not the theoretical considerations of the
speculative botanist.

Mr. A. R. Wallace's formula concerning the origin of species, that they
"have come into existence coincident both in time and place with
preëxisting closely-allied species," may or may not be true so far as
individual localization is concerned. But it proves nothing in the way of
original progeny, nor can we, by any actual data before us, satisfactorily
determine, under this formula, which of the two closely-allied species
preceded the other. If they came coincidently, both in time and place,
their existence must have been concurrent, not separated by preëxistence.
The formula may be true to this extent, that the conditions favoring the
appearance of one species may have equally favored what we call a
closely-allied species. But even in this case, the material sequence is
lost, and we have nothing to express a relationship as from parent to
progeny. For, however restricted as to localization, each species
preserves its own characteristics, the similarities always being less than
the dissimilarities. These, and other equally conclusive facts of
observation, led Professor Agassiz to question any necessary genetic
connection between the different species, or between even the same
species, in widely-separated localities; his idea being precisely that
advanced by us in connection with the Bible genesis, that localization
depended on geographical conditions, not on the migration of plants or the
dispersion of seeds.

The actual geographical distribution of species--any species--does not
depend solely on lines of ancestry, however great their persistence of
specific characters; nor on any principle of natural selection, nor on the
possibility of fertile monstrosities, but on the simple incidence of
conditions; and M. De Candolle, in his "Geographie Botanique," virtually
concedes this, while treating of geographical considerations in connection
with distribution. He in fact says, in so many words, that the actual
distribution of species in the past "seems to have been a consequence of
preceding conditions." [21] And he is forced to this conclusion by his
virtual abandonment of plant-migration, and the alleged means of
seed-distribution.

The question after all, says Professor Gray, is not "how plants and
animals originated, but how they came to exist where they are, and what
they are." On only one of these points--that of favoring conditions--can
any satisfactory answer be given, except as we defer to the Bible genesis,
which explains all. And the reason is, that we can never determine what
forms are specific without tracing them back to their origin, and this is
impossible. Orders, genera, species, etc., are only so many lines of
thought on which we arrange our classifications, just as the parallel
wires of an abacus, with their sliding balls, are the lines on which we
make our mathematical computations. Agassiz would not allow that varieties
existed in nature, except as man's agency effected them, that is, as they
were brought about by artificial processes.

These artificial processes are quite numerous, and many of them have been
practised from remote antiquity. But they seem to have no counterpart in
nature, except as insects may contribute to modifications by the
distribution of pollen. But all modifications of this character tend
towards infertility, while few plants accept any fertilizing aid from
other and different species. Any break in their hereditary tendencies,
resulting in a metamorphosis that involves the integrity of their stamens
and pistils, is stoutly resisted by nature. In considering the question of
species, therefore, we should confine our observations to those produced
by natural, not artificial, methods; to plants as propagated by the loving
tendencies of nature, not by the arbitrary and exacting methods of
man--those looking to his gratification only. All these fall into the
category, of "nature's bastards," as Shakespeare happily defines them. In
view of these considerations, and the new methods of classification, such
as grouping genera into families or orders, and these into sub-orders,
tribes, sub-tribes, etc., we can readily understand why the great Harvard
Professor should have wholly eliminated community of descent from his idea
of "species," or hesitated to regard varieties otherwise than as the
result of man's agency.

Indeed, the whole question of species, as well as varieties, is likely to
undergo material modifications in the future. On some points the botanists
and zoologists differ widely already, many making likeness among
individuals a secondary consideration, and genealogical succession the
absolute test of species. Others, on the contrary, make resemblance the
fundamental rule, and look upon habitual fecundity within hereditary
limits as provisional, or answering to temporary needs only. These
differences of opinion would seem to be the more tenaciously held as the
question of new varieties presses for solution at the hands of nature,
rather than by the agency of man. All these varieties tend less to new
races than to cluster about type-centres, and can go no further than
certain fixed limits of variation, beyond which all oscillations cease.
But none of these questions touch the real marrow of the controversy as to
origin, or aid us in determining the duration of species.

The presence of the two great families of trees--the sequoias and the
oaks--as far back as the Miocene period, if not extending through the
Eocene into the Cretacious, is conclusive of the point we would make, that
no great evolutional changes have taken place in the last two or three
million years, and none are likely to take place in the next million
years, except that the _Sequoia gigantea_ may drop out, from the vandalism
of man or the next glacial drift.

M. Ch. Martins, in his "Voyage Botanique én Norwege," says "that each
species of the vegetable kingdom is a kind of thermometer which has its
own zero." It may also be said to have its hygrometric and telluric
gauges, or instruments to determine the necessary conditions of moisture
and soil-constituents. When the temperature is below zero, the
physiological functions of the plant are suspended, either in temporary
hybernation or death. And so when the hygrometric gauge falls below the
point of actual sustentation, the plant shrinks and dies; while, without
the necessary conditions, it would never have made its appearance. There
was nothing more imperative in the command for the earth to bring forth
than the necessary conditions on which plant-life depended in the first
instance, and still depends, as we have endeavored to show.

Dr. J.G. Cooper, in an interesting article prepared by him at the expense
of the Smithsonian Institute, on the distribution of the forests and trees
of North America, with notes and observations on the physical geography,
climate, etc., of the country, after classifying, arranging, and
tabulating the results of the various observations forwarded to that
institution, indulges in the following general observations: "We have with
a tropical summer a tropical variety of trees, but chiefly of northern
forms. Again, with our arctic winters, we have a group of trees, which,
though of tropical forms, are so adapted to the climate as to lose their
leaves, like the northern forms, in winter. But, here, it must be
distinctly understood, is no alteration _produced_ by climate. Trees are
made for and not _by_ climate, and they keep their characteristics
throughout their whole range, which with some extends through a great
variety of climate." The italics are the authors, and we suppose he means
by "tropical" and "arctic," the sub-tropical and sub-arctic.

In making his general observations, he had before him large collections of
the leaves, fruits, bark, and wood of trees from all parts of the United
States, including portions of Mexico, the Canadas and Alaska, and
extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. But one of the most important
elements--in fact, the _most_ important--is wanting in the tables before
us, and that is, the elevation at which these thousands of specimens were
obtained. So great an oversight as this should not have occurred, although
it may not have been entirely Dr. Cooper's fault. He had his materials to
work upon, and may have done the best that any one could with them. And
yet it is just as important to know at what _elevation_ a particular tree
grows in its own plant zone, as to know whether it comes from a sub-arctic
or sub-tropical region.

But this was not the comment we designed to make. Dr. Cooper labors, with
most professional botanists, under the delusion that all our plants and
trees originated in some one "centre of creation," at some period or other
in time and place, and have been steadily spreading themselves outward
from that centre until they occupy their present areas of distribution. We
have no objection to his clinging to this superannuated faith and belief,
if he derives any pleasure in flushing up these "traditional
grasshoppers." But we have a right to insist that he shall be logical. He
wants it distinctly understood that trees are made _for_, and not _by_,
climate. Then his "centre of creation" should be everywhere, not a
localized one. For he insists that no alteration can be produced by
climate, but that the characteristics of each specific form are preserved
throughout its entire range of distribution. But if these nomadic and
migratory forms have wandered thus far from their centres of creation, it
would seem that the trees had either adapted themselves to the climate, or
the climate to the trees. But our Smithsonian systematizer will allow us
neither horn of this dilemma. He insists that the trees were made for the
climate, and that they have preserved their characteristic features during
their entire ambulation upon the earth's surface.

With the change of a single monosyllabic predicate, this proposition is
undoubtedly true. We have never heard that plants or trees were "made."
They were ordered "to grow," or rather the earth was commanded to bring
them forth, which is an equivalent induction. And the fact that they grow
now, renders it absolutely certain that they grew at first, when "out of
the ground made the Lord God _to grow_" every plant of the field, and
every tree that is pleasant to the sight. We accept this genesis for the
want of a better. And if Dr. Cooper will add to his climatic conditions,
the hygrometric and other conditions necessary for the development and
growth of his plants and trees, we will agree with him to the fullest
extent of his novel position--that trees neither adapt themselves to the
climate, nor the climate to the trees; although it is true that trees
modify climate quite as much as they are modified by it. The true
physiological formula is undoubtedly this:--Trees make their appearance
_in_ climatic and other environing conditions, and flourish, without
material change in characteristics, so long as these conditions favor.
_Why_ they make their appearance is not a debatable question, except as we
assume a preëxisting vital principle, and apply to its elucidation our
subtlest dialectical methods. We are told that God commanded the earth to
bring them forth, after _his_ spirit (the animating soul of life) had
moved upon the face of the depths--the chaotic and formless mass of the
earth in the beginning. Plato has uttered no profounder or more
comprehensive truth than this, with all his conceptions of Deity and the
perfect archetypal world after which he conceived our own to be modeled.
Our preference for the Bible genesis over the Platonic conception is, that
it is vastly simpler and constitutes a more objective reality to the human
soul. Besides, we find _it true in fact_, since the earth is constantly
teeming with life, as if in obedience to some great primal law impressed
upon matter by an infinitely superior intelligence to our own.--

              "If this faith fail,
  The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
  And earth's base built on stubble."



Chapter VII.

What Is Life? Its Various Theories.



The question, "What is life?" does not lie within the province of human
reason, the science of logic, or the intuitions of consciousness, to
determine. It furnishes no objective _datum_ on which to predicate
attributes that are either congruent or diverse. It can only be defined as
the coordination of the _vis vitae_ in nature, which is an undisguised
form of reasoning in a circle. We can ascribe to it only such attributes
as are utterly inconceivable in any other concept or object of thought. It
admits of but one attribution, and that embracing an identical
proposition. To say of life that it is "a coördination of action," might
be true as a partial judgment, but not as a comprehensive one; otherwise,
crystallization would fall under its category, which is manifestly an
illicit induction. It allows, therefore, of no possible explication,
analysis, or separate logical predicament. It stands absolutely alone and
apart by itself--a positive, self-subsistent vital principle, or process
of action, which all physiologists agree, for the sake of convenience and
uniformity of expression, in designating as a _power, property, force_,
etc., in nature. Whenever questioned as to its origin the subtlest and
profoundest intellects, in all ages of the world, have returned but one
answer: "I know no possible origin but God"--the great primal source of
all life in the universe.

Among the ancients we find an almost equivalent induction in the phrases,
borrowed by them from the highest antiquity, "_Jupiter est genitor_,"
"_Jupiter est quodcunque vivit_," etc., which, although uninspired
utterances, strike their roots deeply into the _terra incognita_ of
consciousness, wherein we ascribe to God the "issues of life" as a
paramount theological conception. When the ingenious and learned Frenchman
defined life as "the sum of all the functions by which death is resisted,"
he was as conclusively indulging in the _argumentum in circulo_ as if he
had said, "Life is the antithesis of what is not life." This would be as
luminous a definition as that which should make Theism the opposite of
Anti-theism, or the Algebraic statement _x-y_ the antithesis of _x+y_--one
of no definitional value so long as there is no known quantity expressed
in the formula.

To begin with begging the question, and then adroitly whipping the
argument about a pivotal point, as a boy would whip a top, may be amusing
enough to the childish mind, but is manifestly making no more progress in
logic than to substitute an ingenious paraphrase of a term for its real
definition. It is a mere verbal feat at best, without the possibility of
reaching any determinate judgment. It is like some of the half-circular
phrases we are likely to meet with in the categories of modern
materialistic science, such as the "correlated correlates of motion," the
"potentiated potentialities of sky-mist," the "undifferentiated
differentialities of life-stuff," called, by special condescension on the
part of the materialists, "life." All of which is an easy logic, but a
whimsical enough way of putting it.

According to Leibnitz, everything that exists is replete with life, full
of vital activity, if not an actual mass of living individualities. But
this daring hypothesis has ceased to attract the attention it once
received. There are states and conditions of matter in respect to which it
is idle to predicate the _vis vitae_. For the great bulk of our globe is
made up of the highly crystallized and non-fossiliferous rocks, which
neither contain any elementary principle of life, nor exhibit the
slightest trace of vital organism, even to the minutest living speck or
plastid. During all those vast periods of uncomputed time, covering the
world's primeval history, there was an utter absence of life until the
chief upheavals of the outer strata of our globe, now constituting the
principal mountain chains of its well-defined continents, occurred. In
whatever atomic or molecular theories, therefore, we may indulge, in
respect to the original formation of the earth, the utmost stretch of
empirical science can go no further, in the solution of vital problems,
than to touch the threshold of inorganic matter, where, in our backward
survey of nature, vegetable life begins and animal life ends. All beyond
this point must be given up to other "correlates of motion" than those to
which the materialists specifically assign the beginnings of life.

The theory of "panspermism," originating with the Abbé Spallanzani in
modern times, and still stoutly advocated by M. Pasteur and some few
others, is manifestly defective in this,--that it goes beyond the
inorganic limit in assigning vital units to all matter, even to its
elemental principles. It is true that they speak of "pre-existing
germs"--"primordial forms of life"--that are "many million times smaller
than the smallest visible insect." But their assumptions go far beyond
the construction we give to the Bible genesis, which merely asserts that
the germinal principle of life--that of every living thing--is in the
earth, or in "the waters and the earth," which were alone commanded "to
bring forth."

Some of the panspermists have gone so far as to assert that everything
which exists is referable to the _vis vitæ_--to non-corporeal, yet
extended vital units, mere metaphysical points--like Professor Beale's
bioplasts in the finer nerve-reticulations--or living things endowed with
a greater or less degree of perceptive power. This was the assumption of
the great German philosopher, Leibnitz, who carried the panspermic theory
so far as to accept the more fanciful one of "monads"--those invisible,
ideal, and purely speculative units of Plato, which go to make up the
entire universe, extending even to the ultimate elements, or elements of
elements. Leibnitz says: "As it is with the human soul, which sympathizes
with all the varying states of nature--which mirrors the universe--so it
is with the monads universally. Each--and they are infinitely
numerous--is also a mirror, a centre of the universe, a microcosm:
everything that is, or happens, is reflected in each, but by its own
spontaneous power, through which it holds ideally in itself, as in a
germ, the totality of things."

But the specific germ theory advanced in the Bible genesis, is capable of
being taken out of the purely speculative region in which "panspermism"
landed the great German philosopher. It is a simple averment that the
animating principle of life is in the earth; that the germs of all living
things, vegetal and animal alike, are implanted therein, and that they
make their appearance, in obedience to the divine command, whenever and
wherever the necessary environing conditions occur. The fact that nature
still obeys this command is proof that she has the power to do so--that
this indestructible vital principle still animates her breast. Innumerable
experiments, as well as phenomenal facts, attest the truth of this genesis
of life, while the researches of Professor Bastian and other eminent
materialists, made in infusorial and cryptogamic directions, confirm
rather than discredit it. The fact that it appears for the first time in
this ancient Hebrew text can detract nothing from its value as a
scientific statement. Granting that panspermism may rest upon a purely
fanciful and unsubstantial basis, it is but fair to concede that its great
advocates have honestly attempted to explain by it all the vital phenomena
occurring in nature, as M. Pasteur is conclusively attempting to do now.
It is certain that the materialists, who are resolutely antagonizing the
panspermic, as well as all other "vital" theories, have not yet gone so
deeply into elementary substance as to shut off all further investigation
in these directions.[22] Neither the lowest primordial cell, nor the least
conceivable molecule, has yet been reached by the aid of the microscope,
any more than the outermost circle of the heavens has been penetrated by
the aid of the telescope. We must stop somewhere, and when we find a
scientifically formulated statement which embraces all vital phenomena,
and satisfactorily accounts for them all, whether it originally came from
Aristotle, from Plato, or from Moses, is a matter of comparatively slight
moment, so far as the scientific world is concerned. At least, it would
seem so to us. But to talk of the _de novo_ origin of "living matter" as
the result of the dynamic force of molecules--themselves concessively
"dead matter"--is to indulge in quite as fanciful a speculation as the
advocates of the panspermic hypothesis have ever ventured to suggest.
Professor Bastian is forced to go back of his infusorial forms and
fungus-germs to a microscopical "pellicle," from which he admits they are
"evolved." But why evolved? Does not the principle of vitality lie back of
the pellicle, as well as the fungus-germ? How absolutely certain is he
that the extremest verge of microscopic investigation has been attained,
in what he is pleased to designate "primary organic forms?" "Evolution" is
a very potential word, and no one may yet know what boundless stores of
absurd theory and metaphysical nonsense are locked up in it![23] He admits
that "evolution," as embracing the idea of "natural selection," can have
nothing to do with the vast assemblage of infusorial and cryptogamic
organisms, until they assume definitely recurring forms, that is, rise
into species and breed true to nature. Then, he agrees with Mr. Darwin,
that the law of vital polarity or "heredity," as he calls it, may come in
and play its part towards effecting evolution, or variability, in both
animal and vegetal organisms, but not before. Why then should he lug in,
or attempt to lug in, the diverse potentialities of this word "evolution,"
for the purpose of demonstrating the dynamic law governing the
developmental stages of his microscopic pellicle? This, he will agree,
lies far below the point, in primary organism, where specific identity, or
the law of heredity, asserts its full recognition. All below this
developmental point is inconstancy of specific forms, with no line of
ancestry to be traced anywhere.

This, Professor Bastian readily concedes, notwithstanding it cuts the
Darwinian _plexus_ squarely in the middle. He says: "Both Gruithuisen and
Tréviranus agree that the infusoria met with have never presented similar
characters when they have been encountered in different infusions; nor
have they been uniform in the same infusion, when different portions of it
have been _exposed to the incidence of different conditions_. The
slightest variations in the quality or quantity of the materials employed,
are invariably accompanied by the appearance of different organisms--these
being oftentimes strange and peculiar, and unaccompanied by any of the
familiar forms." Other writers of equal eminence in this field of
investigation have not only observed the same characteristics, but
encountered the same difficulties in classification, from the very great
diversity obtaining even in the nearest allied forms. So great is this
diversity, and so multitudinous the different forms, that little certainty
or value can be attached to the classifications already made. Even
Professor O.F. Müller, after he had convinced himself that he had
discovered not less than twelve different species belonging to a single
genus, was subjected to the mortification of seeing Ehrenberg cut them all
down to mere modifications of one and the same species.

We refer to these several statements of fact for the purpose of
emphasizing the true genesis of life as supplemented by "the incidence of
different conditions," on which all vital manifestations depend. The
presence of the germinal principles of life in the earth is emphatically
averred in the Bible genesis. And we have only to connect the doctrine of
"conditional incidence" with this averment, to account for all the vital
phenomena which so profoundly puzzle these gentlemen while prying into the
mysteries of the ephemeromorphic world. Whatever may be the character of
any infusion, or to whatever incidence of conditions it may be subjected,
it will produce _some_ form of life; not because it contains this or that
morphological cell, destructible at a temperature of 100° C--that to which
it is experimentally subjected before microscopic examination,--but
because every organic infusion, whether undergoing the required heat-test
or not, contains vital units--those as indestructible by heat as by
glacial drift--which burgeon forth into life whenever the proper
conditions of environment obtain. The slightest variation, in either the
quantity or quality of the material employed in the infusion, is, as these
eminent microscopists agree, invariably accompanied by the appearance of
different forms of life, just as the slightest change in soil-conditions,
such as that produced by the presence of one species of tree with another
in natural truffle-grounds, will result in the appearance of another and
altogether different plant, as well as truffle tuber.

But the theory which the vitalists are more particularly called upon to
combat is that to which the non-vitalists most rigidly adhere; and we
refer to it, in this connection, that the reader may compare its
complexity and involution of statement and idea with the extreme
simplicity of the biblical genesis, as heretofore presented. We give it in
the exact phraseology employed by Professor Bastian: "Living matter is
formed by, or is the result of, certain combinations and rearrangements
that take place _in invisible colloidal molecules_--a process which is
essentially similar to the mode by which higher organisms are derived from
lower in the pellicle of an organic infusion." This carefully-worded
definition of life, or the origin of "living matter," presents a
hypothetical mode of reasoning which is eminently characteristic of all
materialists. In the stricter definitional sense of the word, there is no
such thing as "living matter" or "dead matter," as we have before claimed.
There are "living organisms" in multitudinous abundance--those resulting
_from_, not _in_, the _vis vitæ_, or the elementary principle of life in
nature--as there are also "dead organisms" in abundance. This
materialistic definition of life, which is not so much as a generic one
even, begins in an absurdity and ends in one. It is agreed that the
"proligerous pellicle" of M. Pouchet, the "plastide particle" of Professor
Bastian, the "monas" of O.F. Müller, the "bioplast" of Professor Beale,
etc., are essentially one and the same thing, except in name. They are
mere moving specks, or nearly spherical particles, which exhibit the first
active movements in organic solutions. They vary in size from the one
hundred-thousandth to the one twenty-thousandth of a second of an inch in
diameter, and appear at first hardly more than moving specks of
semi-translucent mucus. Indeed, Burdach calls them "primordial mucous
layers." But they move, pulsate, swarm into colonies, and act as if they
were guided, not by separate intelligence, but by some master-builder
supervising the whole work of organic structure. This master-builder is
the one "elementary unit of life," which directs the movements of all the
plastide particles, constantly adding to their working force, from the
first primordial mucous layer of the superstructure to the majestic dome
of thought (in the case of man) which crowns the temple of God on
earth.[24]

But this "pellicle" of Professor Bastian is not mere structureless matter,
any more than the "bioplast" of Professor Beale. The fact that they move,
pulsate, work in all directions, shows that they have the necessary organs
with which to work. These organs may be invisible in the field of the
microscope, but that is no proof that they do not exist. Organs are as
essential for locomotion in a plastide particle as in a mastodon or
megatherium, and if the microscope could only give back the proper
response, we should see them, if not be filled with wonder at the
marvellous perfection of their structure. But into whatever divisions or
classifications we may distinguish or generalize the properties of matter,
we can never predicate _vitality_ of it, any more than we can predicate
_intellectuality_. Indeed, "intellectual matter" presents no greater
incongruity or invalidity of conception than "vital matter." These
qualifying terms are applied to the known laws and forces of nature, not
to insensate matter. To assert that life results _from_ "certain
combinations and rearrangements of matter," and not _in_ them, is utterly
to confound cause and effect, or so incongruously mingle them together
that no logical distinction between the two can exist as an object of
perception. Without the _vis vitæ_, or some germinal principle of life,
lying back of these "combinations and rearrangements of matter," and
determining the movements of their constituent molecules, there could be
no vital manifestation, any more than there could be a correlate of a
force without the actual existence of the force itself. [25]

The materialists give the name of "protoplasm" to that primitive
structureless mass of homogeneous matter in which the lowest living
organisms make their appearance. They claim that this generic substance is
endowed with the property or power of producing life _de novo_, or, as
Professor Bastian puts it, of "unfolding new-born specks of living matter"
which subsequently undergo certain evolutional changes; but whether they
die in their experimental flasks, or rise into higher and more potentially
endowed forms of life, it is difficult for those following their diagnoses
to determine. They further claim that the same law of vital manifestation
obtains in organic solutions as in the structureless mass they call
"protoplasm." Both are essentially endowed with the same potentiality of
originating life independently of vital units, or _de novo_, as they more
persistently phrase it. But why speak of _unfolding_ "new-born specks of
living matter?" "To unfold" means to open the folds of something--to turn
them back, get at the processes of their _infoldment_. It implies a
pre-existing something, inwrapped as a germ in its environment. If not a
germ, what is this pre-existing vital something which their language
implies? Is our scientific technology so destitute of definitional
accuracy that they cannot use half a dozen scientific terms without
committing half that number of down-right scientific blunders? "New-born
specks of living matter" is language that a vitalist might possibly use by
sheer inadvertence; but no avowed materialist, like Professor Bastian,
should trip in this definitional way.

"Living matter," _born_ of what? Certainly not of _dead_ matter. Death
quickens nothing into life, not even the autonomous moulds of the grave.
It implies the absence of all vitality--a state or condition of matter in
which all vital functions have been suspended, have utterly ceased, if,
indeed, they ever existed. It behooves the materialists to use language
with more precision and accuracy than this. "Dead matter," whatever the
phrase may imply, can bear nothing, produce nothing, quicken nothing. The
pangs of death once past, the pangs of life cease. Nor is there any birth
from unquickened matter. Animals _bear_ young, trees _bear_ fruit, but
force _produces_ results. What then quickens protoplasmic matter? Neither
vital force, nor vegetative force, if we are to credit the materialists.
They would scorn to postulate such a theory, or accept any such absurd
remnant of the old vitalistic school. It is rather "molecular force"--a
physical, not a vital unit--that gives us these "new-born specks of living
matter." [26] This is what they would all assert at once, in their
enthusiasm to enlighten us on a new terminology.

But "molecular force" fails to give us any additional enlightenment on the
subject we are investigating. It is even less satisfactory than "atomic
force," or "elementary force"--that which may be considered as inhering in
the elementary particles from which both atoms and molecules are derived.
And since both the ultimate atom and the ultimate molecule lie beyond
microscopic reach, the assumption that vital phenomena are the result of
either molecular force or atomic force, rests upon no other basis than
that of imaginary hypothesis. To postulate any such theory of life, is
going beyond the limits of experimental research and inquiry, and hence
adopting an unscientific method. At what point the smallest living
organism is launched into existence--started on its life-journey--no one
is confident enough to assert. The materialist is just as dumb on this
subject as the vitalist; and the only advantage he can have over his
antagonist is to stand on this extreme verge of attenuated matter, and
deny the existence of any force beyond it. The postulation by him of
molecular force at this point, is virtually an abandonment of the whole
controversy. He ceases to be a materialist the moment he passes the
visible boundaries of matter, in search of anything like "undifferentiated
sky-mist" beyond it.

All that we definitely know is that certain conditions of protoplasmic
matter, of organic solutions, of soil-constituents, etc., produce certain
forms of life; and, in the case of solutions, certain low forms of life:
But whether the lower rise, by any insensible gradations, into the higher,
more complex, and definitely expressed forms of life, is altogether
unknown. That any such gradations can be traced from the lowest vital
unit, in the alleged collocations of molecules, is not yet claimed. These
primordial collocations, like the lowest living organisms, lie beyond the
microscopic aids to vision, so that the ultimate genesis of life remains
as much a mystery as ever--becomes, in fact, a mere speculative
hypothesis. And when it comes to this sort of speculation, the materialist
is just as much in the dark as the vitalist, and neither can have any
advantage over the other, except as the one may adopt the analytic, and
the other the synthetic method.

This is the materialistic argument covering the _de novo_ origin of living
organisms:--There is no greater microscopical evidence, they assert, that
these organisms come from pre-existing invisible germs or vital units,
than that crystals are produced in a similar manner--that is, come from
pre-existing invisible germs of crystals. But this is overlooking all
generic distinction in respect to processes or modes of action. Crystals
are inorganic matter which _form_, do not _grow_. They are mere
symmetrical arrangements, not organic growths; and are produced by some
law akin to chemical affinity, acting on the molecules of their
constituent mass. They possess no vital function. They show no beginning
or cessation of life. But, once locked up in their geometric solids, they
remain permanently enduring forms--concessively inorganic, not
functionally-endowed, matter. To speak, therefore, of the "germs of
crystals," is using language that has no appreciable significance to us.
Germs are embryonic, and imply a law of growth--a process of assimilation,
not of mere aggregation.

But, at the risk of being tedious, let us extend this argument of the
materialists a little further: The only difference, they will still
insist, between the preëxisting germs of crystals and plants--or the only
difference essentially worth noticing--is that crystalline particles of
matter are endowed with much less potentiality of undergoing diversified
forms and structural changes than the more highly favored vital particles,
such as the proligerous pellicle, the bioplast, the plastide, etc. The one
represents mere crystallizable matter, the other the more complex
colloidal or albuminoid substance, or that capable of producing a much
greater number of aggregates. The analogies, they concede, end here. But
the difference is world-wide when we come to processes--the true
experimental test in all classification. Crystallizable substances
_crystallize_--that is all. They pass into a fixed and immovable state,
and mostly into one as enduring as adamant; while colloidal or albuminoid
matter (laboratory protoplasm) takes on no fixed forms--only those that
are ephemeral, merely transitory. This is so marked a feature, in respect
to all the primordial forms of life, that Professor Bastian gives them the
more distinctive name of "ephemeromorphs," in place of _infusoria_. But
all these primordial forms grow--develop into vital activity. Not so with
a solitary crystal. Everywhere the statical unit _forms_, the dynamical
unit _grows_; the one aggregates, the other assimilates; the one
solidifies, the other opens up into living tissue; the one rests in the
embrace of eternal silence, the other breaks the adamantine doors, and
makes nature resonant with praise.

Great stress is laid by the materialists on the changeability of certain
microscopic forms, and the startling metamorphoses they apparently undergo
in different infusions, especially those forms having developmental
tendencies towards fungi and certain low forms of algæ. They attribute
their different modes of branching, articulation, segmentation of
filaments, etc., both to intrinsic tendencies and extrinsic causes, the
latter depending, no doubt, in a great measure upon the chemical changes
constantly taking place in their respective infusions. These intrinsic
tendencies, they would have us believe, depend upon the dynamic force of
molecules, rather than any vital unit, or even change in elementary
conditions. But "Dynamism" simply implies that force inheres in, or
appertains to, all material substance, without specifically designating
either the quantity or quality of the inhering force. If these
materialists, therefore, use the terms "dynamic force," in this
connection, in the sense in which we use vital force, or in the sense in
which they use "statical force" as applied to the formation of crystals,
in contradistinction from "dynamical force" as applied to living
organisms, we have no special objection to urge against this particular
formula. It presents no such formidable antagonism as the vitalists would
expect to encounter from them.

M. Dutrochet is approvingly quoted by Professor Bastian, as asserting that
he could produce different genera of mouldiness (low mycological forms)
_at will_, by simply employing different infusions. This is unquestionably
true, with certain limitations. And the chief limitation is as to _his_
(M. Dutrochet's) will. He might "will," for instance, to plant one field
with corn and another with potatoes, but if the husbandman he employed to
do the planting should happen to plant the one crop where he had willed to
plant the other, and corn should grow where potatoes were planted, and
_vice versa_, then he might be said to have produced corn _at will_. And
so of his infusions. No change in their conditions enabled him to produce
one species, much less a genus, of mouldiness in preference to another, by
any change in the infusions employed by him. The power which implants life
in the mycological world, implants it in every other world, from that
without beginning to that without end. And this implanted life is quite as
complete in one form as another,--

  "As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
  As the rapt seraph that adores and burns."

All that the materialists can claim respecting man's agency in the
production of life is, that he may take advantage of the uniform laws of
nature, so far as they are known to him, planting seeds here, changing
chemical conditions there, using different infusions in his experimental
flasks,--organic or inorganic, as he may choose--and then await the
action of these uniform laws. He will find them operative everywhere, and
if he studies them deeply enough, he will find that they are not so much
the laws of nature as they are the laws of nature's God.

Professor Bastian thinks he has conclusive evidence that what he calls
"new-born specks of living matter" are produced _de novo_, that is,
independently of any conceivable germ or germinal principle of life
implanted in nature. But he confounds this implanted principle of life
with the living organism it produces. His morphological cells, as well as
plastide particles, are among these living organisms, as is conclusively
shown by his own experiments. These all perish in his super-heated flasks.
But the vital principle that produced them--that which becomes germinal
under the proper conditional incidences--he can no more destroy by
experimentation than he can create a new world or annihilate the old one.
His flask experiments, therefore, prove nothing; and all this talk about
_de novo_ production is the sheerest scientific delusion. For, were it
possible to destroy every plant, tree, shrub, blade of grass, weed, seed,
underground root, nut, and tuber to-day, the earth would teem with just as
diversified a vegetation as ever to-morrow. A few trees, like the gigantic
conifers of the Pacific slope, might not make their appearance again, and
some plants might drop out of the local flora; but the _Pater omnipotens
Æther_ of Virgil, would descend into the bosom of his joyous spouse (the
earth), and, great himself, mingle with her great body, in all the
prodigality, profusion, and wealth of vegetation as before.[27]

But these defiant challengers of the vitalists, who refuse us even the
right to assume the existence of a special "vital force" in nature, are
anything but consistent in their logical deductions. For while they
resolutely deny the invasion of vital germs in their experimental flasks,
they talk as flippantly of the "germs of crystals," and their presence in
saline and other solutions, as if there were no scientific formula more
satisfactorily generalized than that establishing their existence. Even
Professor Bastian speaks of "germs," in a general sense, as if they
thronged the earth, air, water, and even the stratified rocks, in
countless and unlimited numbers. But we fail to see that any of his
accurately obtained results determine their exclusion from the
experimental media employed by him for that purpose. His unit of value is
a morphological cell, a derivative organism rather than a primary vital
unit; and all organisms are, as we have before said, destructible by heat.
Professor Agassiz is pretty good authority for doubting the existence of
such a cell. The difficulty of assigning to it any definitional value is,
that it lies too near the ultimate implications of matter--those shadowy
and inexplicable confines not yet reached--to admit of any scientific
explication necessarily resting on objective data. If they mean by "germs"
primary organic cells, then none exist in their super-heated infusions,
and they are logical enough in rejecting the idea of their invasion. But
in assuming the cell to be the ultimate unit of value, is where they trip
in attribution, and stumble upon a partial judgment only.

The only value attaching to their theory of crystalline germs is, that it
conclusively establishes the law of uniformity by which all structural
forms are determined, whether they originate in organic infusions or
inorganic solutions--in protoplasm or protoprism. The crystalline system
presents no variability in types, but a rigid adherence to specific forms
of definitely determined value. Whatever geometrical figure any particular
crystal assumed at first, it has continued to assume ever since, and will
forever assume hereafter. As a primary conception of the "Divine
Intendment" (to speak after the manner of Leibnitz) it can neither change
itself, nor become subject to any law of change, or variability, from
eternally fixed types. And this is as demonstrably true of all living
types, after reaching the point of heredity, as of the countless
crystalline forms that go to make up the principal bulk of our planet. In
this light, and as affording this conclusive induction, the crystalline
argument of the materialists has its value.

The materialists should not too mincingly chop logic over the validity of
their own reasoning. If they force upon us their conclusions respecting
statical aggregates, or crystalline forms, let them accept the inductions
that inevitably follow in the case of dynamical aggregates, or living
organisms. Beggars of conditions should not be choosers of conditions,
nor should they be al lowed to dodge equivalent judgments where the
validity of one proposition manifestly rests upon that of another. If
they insist upon the presence of a chemical unit, or, worse still, a
crystalline "germ" or unit, in the case of statical aggregations, they
are effectually estopped from denying the presence of vital units in
dynamical aggregations. And if they further force upon us the conviction
that the process of aggregation, when once determined, remains in the one
case, eternally fixed and certain, they should not be permitted to turn
round and insist that, in the other case, there is nothing fixed and
certain, but all is variability, change, uncertainty of specific forms.
If vital units have only a hypothetical existence, then chemical units,
statical units, and morphological units, should fall into the same
categories of judgment.

A great deal of needless ingenuity has been wasted, both by the vitalists
and materialists, in formulating impossible definitions of life--in
attempts to tell us what life is. But Mr. Herbert Spencer is believed, by
his many admirers, to have hit upon the precise explanatory phrases
necessary to convey its true definitional meaning. He defines it as "_the
continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations_." This
definition, when first formulated, was received by all the materialists of
Europe with the wildest enthusiasm. It was absolutely perfect. All the
phenomenal facts of life fitted into it, as one box, in a nest of them,
fitted into another. The universal world was challenged to show that any
other phenomenal fact than the one of life would fit into this prodigious
formula of Mr. Spencer. The London "Times" tried its hand on it, but only
in a playful way. It said: "All the world, or at least all living things,
are nothing but large boxes containing an infinite number of little boxes,
one within the other, and the least and tiniest box of all contains the
germ,"--the elementary principle of life. But this was hardly a legitimate
characterization. A nest of boxes presents no idea of "continuous
adjustment," nor are the internal relations of one box adjusted to the
external relations of another. The definition is really that of a piece of
working machinery--any working machinery--and was designed to cover Mr.
Spencer's theory of "molecular machinery" as run by molecular force.

But the earth presents the most perfect adjustment of internal relations
to those that are external, and it continuously presents them. Even the
upheaval of its fire-spitting mountains affords the highest demonstration
of the adjustment of its inner terrestrial forces to those that are purely
external; and much more does it show the adjustment of its internal to its
external relations. There is a continuous adaptation of means to ends, of
causes to effects, of adjustments to re-adjustments, in respect to the
characteristics of the earth's surface--its physical configuration, the
distribution of its fluids and solids, its fauna and flora, its
hygrometric and thermometric conditions, its ocean, wind, and
electro-magnetic currents, and even its meteorological manifestations--all
showing a continuous adjustment of interior to exterior conditions or
relations. The earth should, therefore, fall under the category of "life,"
according to Herbert Spencer's definitional formula. And so should an
automatic dancing-jack that is made to run by internal adjustments to
external movements or manifestations. There are any number of Professor
Bastian's "ephemoromorphs" that do not live half as long as one of these
automatic dancing-jacks will run, and so long as they run, the adjustment
of their internal to their external relations is continuous.

The success of Mr. Spencer's definition of "life" encouraged Professor
Bastian to try his hand at it, with this definitional result: "Life," he
says, "is an unstable collocation of Matter (with a big M), capable of
growing by selection and interstitial appropriation of new matter (what
new matter?) which then assumes similar qualities, of continually varying
in composition in response to variations of its Medium (another big M),
and which is capable of self-multiplication by the separation of portions
of its own substance."

It shall not be our fault if the reader fails to understand this
definition--to untwist this formidable formula of life. And we can best
aid him by grammatically analyzing its structure. And,

1. "Life is capable of growing." We are glad to know this. As a vitalist
it enables us to take a step towards the front--gets us off the "back
seat" to which we were summarily ordered at the outset of this inquiry. We
let its "unstable collocation" pass for what it is worth, and stick to our
grammatical analysis.

2. "Life grows--is capable of doing something." This assurance positively
encourages us.

3. "It grows by selection and interstitial appropriation." This is still
more encouraging. It emboldens us to take a second step forward. Life, we
feel, is increasing in potentiality.

4. "By appropriation it enables _new matter to assume similar qualities
to old matter_." This makes us more confident than ever; we take another
step forward--are half disposed to take two of them. Life is getting to
be almost a "potentiated potentiality," to adopt the style of
materialistic phrases.

5. "It causes matter _to continually vary in composition._" Bravo! we
unhesitatingly take two steps forward on the strength of this most
comforting assurance. Life is assuredly getting the upperhand of
Matter (with a big M.) It is no longer a mere "undiscovered correlate
of motion"--a hypothetical slave to matter only. It wrestles with
it--throws it into the shade. We involuntarily take several more
steps forward.

6. "Life is capable of self-multiplication"--has almost a creative
faculty. Here we interject a perfect bravura of "bravoes," and,
stepping boldly up to the front, demand of Professor Bastian to "throw
up the sponge," take a back seat, and there--formulate us a new
definition of "life."

But our London University materialist is not entirely satisfied with his
own definition, or at least with the moral effect of it. He thinks that
all these attempts to define life as a non-entity only, tend to keep up
the demoralizing idea that it is an actual entity. We entirely agree with
him in this conclusion. The infelicity and entire inconclusiveness of the
definition he has vouchsafed us can hardly have any other effect. He sees
this himself, and hence this foot-note to his great work on
Ephemeromorphs: "Inasmuch as no life can exist without an organism, of
which it is the phenomenal manifestation, so it seems comparatively
useless to attempt to define this phenomenal manifestation alone--and,
what is worse, such attempts tend to keep up the idea that life is an
independent entity."

It may be objected that our grammatical analysis of the professor's
definition of life is unfair, since he manifestly intended that it should
cover a "living thing," and not "life" as an abstract, term. Our reply to
this is, that he makes no distinction between the two. Life, with him, is
simply a phenomenal manifestation. The two are correlative terms; so that
his definition of the one must necessarily be the definition of the other,
either as an identical or partial judgment. But let us take his definition
entirely out of its abstract sense, and run it into the concrete. The able
pathological anatomist of the London University college is a "living
thing." He is, therefore, presumably a phenomenal manifestation. He is
capable of growing, by "selection and interstitial appropriation," in
reputation at least, if not in the direction of "an independent entity."
His work of twelve hundred pages, covering his laborious delvings into the
ephemeromorphic world, is conclusive on this point. As a phenomenal
manifestation alone, any attempt to define either him or his professional
labors, may be worse than useless, since it would tend to keep up the idea
that he is an actual London entity. We are very confident that he is not a
London non-entity, but are willing to agree that he is either the one or
the other. The flaw that we are after lies in his interstitial logic, not
in the hallucination in which he indulges respecting nonentities. His
assumption that life cannot exist without an organism, of which it is the
phenomenal manifestation, is what we propose to deal with.

Now, directly the reverse of this proposition is what is true. An organism
cannot exist without life or an independent vital principle in nature, any
more than celestial bodies can be held in their place independently of
gravitation. The vital principle that organizes must precede the thing
organized or the living organism, as the great formative principle of the
universe (call it the will of God, gravitation or what you may) must have
existed before the first world-aggregation. In logic, we must either
advance or fall back--insist upon precedence being given to cause over
effect, or deny their relative connection altogether. The organism is the
phenomenal manifestation, not the vital principle which organizes it. To
say that there can be no _manifestation_ of life without an organism is
true; but to assume that the vital principle which organizes is dependent
on its own organism for its manifestation is absurd. It would be the
lesser fallacy to deny the phenomenal fact altogether, and insist that
cause and effect are mere intellectual aberrations, or such absurd mental
processes as find no correlative expression in nature, as that embodying
the idea of either an antecedent or a consequent.

"Plato lived." He ate, he drank, he talked divinely. He was the occupant
of an admirably constructed life-mansion; one that St. Paul would have
looked upon as "the temple of God," and all the world would have
recognized as a god-like temple. His head was a study for the Greek
chisel; none was ever more perfectly modeled, or artistically executed.
All agreed in this. And yet it was not the _habitat_ but the _habitant_
that attracted the admiration of the Greek mind; enkindled its highest
enthusiasm; drew all the schools of philosophy, about him at once. It was
the lordly occupant of the temple, the indwelling _Archeus_, presiding
over all the organic phenomena and directing all the dynamic powers
therein, which was so profoundly present in the living Plato. Even
Professor Haeckel, of the famous University of Jena, would not deny this,
with all that his new terms "ontogeny" and "phylogeny" may imply. When
potential life passed over into actual life in the individual Plato, it
was not the pabulum that assimilated the man, but the man the pabulum. If
this were not so, then the mere potentiality of growing, as in the case
of plants and animals, would be all there is to distinguish the
phenomenal manifestation of a Plato from that of a mole or a
cabbage-stalk. In other words, if the animating principle of life--or, as
the Bible has it, the "animating soul of life"--is not what manifests
itself in material embodiment, but the reverse, what can Professor
Haeckel mean by his new term "phylogeny," which ought to cover the lines
of descent in all organic beings?

If it be a question of mere pabulum, it is altogether _mal posé_. Pabulum
is nothing without a preëxisting "something" to dispose of it. It is not
so much as a jelly-mass breakfast for one of Professor Haeckel's
"protamoebæ;" for if it were served up in advance, there would be none of
his little non-nucleated jelly-eaters to partake of it, much less any of
his "protogenes." As the famous Mrs. Glass would say, in her "hand-book of
cookery," if you want a delightful "curry," first catch your hare. But our
ingenious professor of Jena dispenses with both the hare and the curry, in
serving up his pabulum to the "protamoebæ." The improvident pabulum
"evolves" its own eaters, and then, spider-like, is eviscerated by them,
as was Actaeon by his own hounds. As Life, therefore, begins in the
tragedy of Mount Cithæron, it is to be hoped it will end in the delights
of Artemis and her bathing nymphs.



Chapter VIII.

Materialistic Theories of Life Refuted.



The methods by which the advocates of a purely physical origin of life
seek to establish the correctness of their conclusions, are unfortunately
not always attended by uniform results in experimentation. They subject
their solutions of organic matter to a very high temperature by means of
super-heated flasks, the tubes to which are so packed in red-hot materials
that whatever air may enter them shall encounter a much greater degree of
heat than that indicated by boiling water. At this temperature (100°
C--212° F) they assume that all living organisms perish, especially when
the solutions containing them have been kept, for the space of fifteen or
twenty minutes, at this standard point of heat. But, in the light of all
the experiments which have been made in this direction, there is some
doubt as to the entire correctness of their assumption. That many, if not
most living organisms, perish at a temperature of 100° C, there is little
or no doubt; but that there are some which are much more tenacious of
life, that is, possess greater vital resistance to heat, is equally
unquestionable.

M. Pasteur, for instance, mentions the spores of certain fungi which are
capable of germinating after an exposure of some minutes to a temperature
of 120° to 125° C. (248-257° F), while the same spores entirely lose their
germinating power after an exposure for half an hour or more to a slightly
higher temperature. Dr. Grace-Calvert, in a paper on "The Action of Heat
on Protoplasmic Life," recently published in the proceedings of the Royal
Society, asserts that certain "black vibrios" are capable of resisting the
action of fluids at a temperature as high as 300° F, although exposed
therein for half an hour or more. But none of these crucial tests, however
diverse in experimental results, really touch the all-important question
in controversy. They all relate either to living organisms, or to the
seeds and spores of vegetation, not to living indestructible
"germs"--invisible vital units--declared to be in the earth itself.

We use the term "vital unit" in the same restricted sense in which the
materialists speak of "chemical units," "morphological units," etc., which
they admit are invisible in the microscopic field, and hence they can have
no positive information as to their destructibility or indestructibility
by heat. That this vital unit lies, in its true functional tendencies,
between the chemical and morphological units--manifesting itself in the
conditions of the one and resulting in the structural development of the
other--is no new or startling theory, but one that has been more or less
obscurely hinted at by Leibnitz, and even acknowledged as possible by
Herbert Spencer. It is this vital unit that assimilates or aggregates
protoplasmic matter into the morphological cell, or the initial organism
in a vital structure, or an approach towards structural form.
Morphological cells are not therefore "units," considered as the least of
any given whole, nor are they mere structureless matter, or any more
homogeneous in character than in substance. Different chemical solutions
give rise to different morphological cells, as differently constituted
soils produce different vegetal growths. Change the chemical conditions in
any solution or infusion, and you change the entire morphological
character of the infusoria appearing therein.[28] The cells are living
organisms springing from vital units, and can no more manifest themselves
independently of these units than life can manifest itself independently
of an actual organism. And they make their appearance in the proper
environing conditions, just as the oak comes from its primordial germ or
vital unit in the chemically changed conditions of the soil. Everywhere
the vital germ or unit precedes the vital growth as the plant or tree
precedes the natural seeds it bears.

This is not only the logical order, but the exact scientific method of
vital manifestation and growth. In this truth lies the whole mystery of
vegetal and animal life as hitherto manifested on our globe, with the
single exception of man whose crowning distinction it was to receive "a
living soul." This may be rejected as a scientific statement, but its
verification will appear in the very act of its rejection. Pry as deeply
as we may into the _arcana_ of nature in search of exact scientific truth,
and we shall ultimately land in one or the other of these
propositions,--either that nature was originally endowed with some occult
and unknown power "to bring forth," which power is either continuously
inherent or continuously imparted, or else "specific creation" was the
predetermined plan and purpose, with no higher or more specialized animal
or vegetal forms than were specifically created in the beginning.
Otherwise, we are inevitably forced back, by our mental processes, which
we cannot resist, upon an effect without a cause--a physical law of the
universe without any conceivable law-giver--an all-pervading,
all-energizing principle of matter which must have existed as a cause
infinitely anterior to its first effect. And this is forcing language into
such crazy and paralytic conclusions as to utterly destroy its efficiency
as a vehicle of thought.

To conceive of the existence of the universe, or of any possible law that
may be operative therein, without an adequate antecedent cause, is as
metaphysically impossible as to conceive of substance without form, space
without extension, or a God who has been superceded in the universe by the
operation of his own laws. For if the world-ordaining and world-arranging
intelligence of the universe has ceased to ordain and arrange,--if all
things therein have been left to the operation of fixed and eternally
unchangeable laws--then no further supervisional direction is required on
the part of either an infinite or a finite intelligence, and our idea of a
God must disappear in the paramount induction of a universe which has
successfully risen up in insurrection against its own maker and lawgiver,
if it has not remorselessly consigned him to some inconceivable limbo
outside of the universe itself. But this Titanic, and worse than satanic,
insurrection on the part of a universe of matter and motion, is only the
conjectural coinage of the human brain--the wild supposition hazarded by
the materialistic mind--and fortunately has no conceivable counterpart
outside of it.

But the palpable blunder, in materialistic science, consists in its
overlooking the necessary outgrowth of theological ideas in the human
mind--as conclusively a phenomenal fact of nature as the invariable
uniformity of astronomical movements, the ebb and flow of the tides, or
the electro-magnetic waves of the earth itself. And nature furnishes no
greater clue to the one set of phenomena than the other. For when we say
that bodies act one upon another by the force of gravity, we are no nearer
an explication of the force itself, than we should be were we to allege
any corresponding manifestation on the part of the human mind. Kant says;
"We cannot conceive of the existence of matter without the forces of
attraction and repulsion--the conflict of two elementary forces in the
universe;" much less can we have any conception of the elementary forces
themselves. Science can, therefore, assign no more conclusive reason for
overlooking psychical manifestations than physical phenomena. Nor is the
one set of phenomena any more marvellous in its manifestations than the
other. They may both furnish food for speculative thought and inquiry, and
yet the nearer we get to the ultimate implications of either, the more
completely are we lost in Professor Tyndall's "primordial haze," from
which he assumes that the universe, and all the phenomenal manifestations
therein, originally came.

But however rapidly these materialistic theories may disappear in the
scientific waste-basket of the future, there is one sublime verity that
will stand the test of all time, and that is, that the moral universe of
God is no less complete, in the Divine Intendment, than the physical
universe, while the latter is so inter-correlated and inter-tissued with
the former, in all its conceivable relations, that it can no more exist
independently of its correlative, than matter can exist independently of
space, or time independently of eternity. [29]

According to this view of Leibnitz, all living organisms have their own
essence, or essential qualities and characteristics. They have been from
all eternity in the "Divine Intendment," and can undergo no changes or
modifications which shall make them essentially different from what they
were in the beginning, or are now. This is not only true of the "germs"
that are "in themselves upon the earth," but of every living thing,
whether lying within or beyond the telescopic or microscopic limits. As a
law of causation, as well as of consecutive thought, there must be in the
order of life (all life) a continuous chain of ideas linking the past to
the present, the present to the future, and the future to eternity. But
that this continuous chain is dependent on mere physical changes or
manifestations, is a logical induction utterly incapable of being
exhibited in scientific formulæ. The higher and more satisfactory
induction is that which places cause before effect, the Maker before the
made, the Creator before the creature, and so on, in the analogical order,
till the smallest conceivable "vital unit" is reached in the universe of
organic matter. To begin, therefore, with microscopic observation, at a
point in the ephemeromorphic world where that optical instrument fails to
give back any intelligible answer, and synthetically follow this chain of
causation upward and outward to Dr. Tyndall's "fiery cloud of mist," in
which it is assumed that all the diversified possibilities and
potentialities of the universe once lay latent, may answer the logical
necessities of the "Evolution" theory, but will never satisfy the
inductive processes of a Plato, a Leibnitz, or a Newton.

Professor Tyndall, in speaking of his "fiery-cloud" theory, says: "Many
who hold the hypothesis of natural evolution would probably assent to the
position (his position) that at the present moment all our philosophy, all
our poetry, all our science, all our art,--Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, and
a Da Vinci--are potential in the fires of the sun." But, to be consistent
in their inductions, they should proclaim themselves sun-worshippers at
once, and ascribe to that transcendent luminary all the potentialities of
a universe

  "Fresh-teeming from the hand of God."

But what possible advantage, we would ask, can this physical hypothesis of
life have over that which ascribes to God the issues of all life in the
universe, from the highest to the lowest living organism? We can
positively conceive of none but that of placing the cosmological cart
before the horse, and so harnessing "cause and effect" _in tandem_, that
the latter shall uniformly precede the former in the chain of logical
induction. As a dialectical feat, in exhibiting the higher possibilities
of logic, it may have its advantages in subordinating the facts of science
to the higher illuminations of fancy, and thus resting the basis of
reality on the ever-changing and ever-shifting assumptions of the human
mind. For the materialistic theories of to-day are not those of yesterday,
nor is there any certainty that they will be those of to-morrow. They are
almost as fantastic and variable as the forms of the kaleidoscope,
although, as a general rule, they lack the symmetrical arrangements and
proportions of that scientific toy.

Professor Bastian, in considering the heterogenetic phenomena of "living
matter," is obliged to fall back, near the end of his great work, on "the
countless myriads of living units which have been evolved (?) in the
different ages of the world's history." But by what process a "vital
unit" can be _evolved_, he does not condescend to tell us. He has no
"primordial formless fog" to fall back upon as has Professor Tyndall, nor
can he imagine anything beyond the least of possible conceptions in a
chemical, morphological, or vital unit. A "unit" can neither be evolved
nor involved; it admits of no square, no multiple, no differentiation; it
is simply the ever-potent unit of "organic polarity," by which it
multiplies effects, but can never be multiplied itself. The chief fault
that we have to find with the London University professor is that he
confounds a morphological cell with a morphological unit, and insists
upon drawing unwarrantable conclusions therefrom. His "countless myriads
of living units" are all well enough in their way. That they exist in the
earth, and are constantly developed into innumerable multitudes of living
organisms, of almost inconceivable variety, in both the animal and
vegetal world, is true, as he half-reluctantly admits in almost the
identical language we here use.

And he also admits that morphological cells, when once formed, continue to
grow by their own individual power or inherent tendency. But before they
can manifest any such inherent tendency, they must be developed from the
vital units that lie back of them, and on which their manifestation
unquestionably depends. The only doubt that can possibly exist on this
point is, that the process of development cannot be determined by
microscopic examination. But we may as well assume the presence of vital
units in the case of dynamical aggregates, as for Professor Bastian to
insist upon crystalline units in the case of statical aggregates or
crystals. Both processes, in their initial stages of development, lie
beyond the reach of human scrutiny, and all that we know, or possibly can
know, is, that certain inorganic conditions are favorable for the
development of crystals, as certain organic conditions are favorable for
the development of morphological cells. Beyond this Professor Bastian
knows nothing--we know nothing.

Professor Beale, in his recent work on "the Mystery of Life"--one that is
now justly attracting very wide attention--says: "Between the two sets of
phenomena, physical and vital, not the faintest analogy can be shown to
exist. The idea of a particle of muscular or nerve tissue being formed by
a process akin to crystallization, appears ridiculous to any one who has
studied the two classes of phenomena, or is acquainted with the structure
of these tissues." And he quietly, yet effectively, ridicules the idea
that the ultimate molecules of matter--substantially the same matter, in
fact--have the power to arrange themselves, independently of vital
tendency, alternately into a dog-cell or a man-cell, according to the
specific direction they may take, or the incidence of conditions they may
undergo, in their primary movement. And for the benefit of Professor
Beale, behind whose "bioplasts," we place the "vital unit"--not a variable
but a constant unit--we would have him bear in mind (what he so well
knows) that the finest fibres that go to make up these tissues lie quite
beyond the microscopic limit in their interlaced and spirally-coiled
reticulations, so that nothing can be predicated of their ultimate
contexture, any more than of the ultimate distribution of matter itself.
He has himself traced these wonderfully minute nerve-ramifications under
glasses of the highest magnifying power, and knows that their ultimate
distribution cannot be reached. Let him come out then, as the ablest
vitalist now living, and boldly assert the presence of the man-_unit_ and
the dog-_unit,_ instead of falling back on his bioplastic spinners and
weavers of tissue, which are only the servants and willing workers of the
one integral unit, or life-directing force, within. It is far more
rational, and, at the same time, more accordant with strict scientific
methods, to attribute these muscular and nerve reticulations to a single
direct cause, than to a multitude of secondary causes.

There is a world-wide difference between the dog-_ego_ and the man-_ego;_
but the physical differences are not by any means the greatest. The
bioplastic spinners and weavers work as obediently for the one
master-_ego_ as the other. They never stop to inquire how far they shall
differentiate this vital tissue or that, or in what direction even they
shall work. Not a thread is spun nor a shuttle thrown that is not directed
by the one head-webster of vital tissue. These obedient bioplasts
determine nothing, direct nothing. Each works in his own cell as
obediently as a galley-slave. All specific modifications, all determinate
movements, all molecular arrangements, all multiplications of bioplastic
force, are the work of the one vital webster, or principle of life,
within--that which shapes all, directs all, determines all. And this is
true from the first or embryological inception of the dog-unit or "germ,"
until the real occupant of the dog-tenement dismisses his bioplastic
weavers, and lies down to die. And so of all vital units. Each determines
its own structural form, and unchangeably retains it to the end, even to
the slightest impression of a scar inflicted years and years before. The
occupant of this dog-mansion has dismissed one set of bioplastic weavers
after another; has thrown aside this spun tissue and that warp and woof of
woven texture, time and time again, so that the dog of to-day is not the
same _physical_ dog of a year ago; and yet he has the same affection for
his master, carries with him the same scar received twenty years before in
the chase, gives the same glad bark of welcome as his owner nears home,
exhibits the same characteristic wag in his tail, and, lying down to
sleep, dreams of the once happy chase in which he is no longer able to
engage. This continuous presence of the same dog, through all these twenty
years of physical change--the old dog reappearing in the new, a dozen
times over--is what we mean by the constantly differentiating yet
undifferentiated "dog-unit."

Those who attempt to bisect this vital unit, divide it up into one
fractional part after another, until it shall represent a million
bioplastic workers in as many different cells, are committing the same
sort of folly--in principle at least, if not in practice--as that which
led the simple-minded daughters of Pelias to cut up their father, in the
expectation of boiling the old bioplasts into new, and then, by the
cunning aid of Medea, who directed the operation, reuniting them into the
one Peliastic-unit they so much delighted to honor. But this first and
only recorded attempt at differentiating a vital unit disastrously failed,
as the reader of ancient myths well knows, although the experiment was
conducted by the most careful and loving hands. The necessary chemical
re-agents to reproduce life, as well as the necessary processes of
producing it _de novo_ have not yet been ascertained, nor is it likely
they ever will be. And herein lies the most marked distinction between
crystallizable matter and living substance.

And yet there is no evidence that the vital principle perishes in the
destruction of its temporary organism. It is not the material seed that
germinates, but the vital principle it contains, bursting forth from its
environment into newness of life. All that can be alleged of either boiled
or calcined seeds is, that the material substances of which they were
composed are so changed in their chemical constituents, or molecular
adjustment, that they are no longer capable of developing, or being
developed, into a living organism. "Principles never die," and this is as
true of the vital principles in nature, as those obtaining in ethics and
morals. Were it possible to restore the exact chemical conditions and
constituent particles of the boiled or calcined seed, there is no more
doubt that nature would respond to the environing conditions, and give
forth the proper expression of plant-life, than there is that crystals of
spar would make their appearance in an overcharged bath chemically
prepared for that purpose. It is not the albuminous substance enclosed in
the seed, but the vital principle therein--that continuously imparted to
nature from the great vital fountain of the universe--which burgeons forth
into life whenever and wherever the required conditions obtain.

In proof of this statement, we might instance any number of cases where
recently abandoned brick-yards and other clayey excavations, were situated
at considerable distances from any natural water-courses, or fish-stocked
ponds, from which spawn could have been derived, and yet these excavations
have no sooner been filled with permanently standing rain water, than
certain small fishes of the _Cyprinidae_ and other families, have made
their appearance therein.[30] Nobody has thought of stocking these
standing pools of water with the fish in question, nor has there been any
surface overflow to account for their presence, nor any other apparent
means of transportation, if we except the fish-catching birds, and they
generally swallow their food in the water or on the nearest tree to the
point of capture. Any theory accounting for the presence of spawn is,
therefore, out of the question. This spawn must have traversed hard clay
deposits for the distance of half a mile or more to make their appearance
in these waters. The only possible explanation of this class of phenomena,
and they are by no means infrequent, is to be found in "favoring
conditions" and the "presence of vital units." They are primordial
manifestations of life, and such as would have made their appearance in
any corresponding latitude of the southern hemisphere, under the same
favoring conditions.

And this is true of all living organisms from the lowest morphological
cell, in the ichthyologic world, to the highest and lordliest conifer that
grows. Their spawn and seeds are perishable by heat, but the vital
principle that organizes them is as imperishable in one element as
another. No seven-times heated furnace, much less the experimental flasks
of the physicist, will affect a vital principle of nature any more than a
May-morning puff of the east wind would shake Olympus. And all the
countless myriads of vital units in nature are now manifesting themselves
in animal and vegetal forms, under favoring conditions, the same as in
those far-distant epochs of the world's history when a more exuberant
vegetation prevailed, if not a more abounding animal life. The same
persistent, ever-acting law of vital development and growth has been
present, in all conditions and circumstances of matter, ever since the
detritus of the silicious rocks felt the first influence of the rains, the
dews, and the sunlight. Then the earth commenced "to bring forth the
grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-trees yielding fruit, after
his kind;" and in their growth was laid the foundation of animal life.
Whether there was any audible or inaudible command of God uttered at the
time, is not the question. It is the _fact_ of vital growth that we are
after, and not the command. The geologic records attest the fact, as well
as the ever-acting vital law; and it is enough for us to know, with sturdy
old Richard Hooker, that all law--and especially all _vital_ law--"has her
seat in the bosom of God, and her voice is the harmony of the world."

Professor Beale, while resolutely combating the physical hypothesis of
life, is not a little unfortunate in his use of scientific terms. He is
constantly using those of "living matter" and "dead matter," as if they
contained no fatal concession to the materialists, with which to
completely overthrow his own ultimate conclusions as to life. For he gains
nothing by merely substituting "bioplasm" and "bioplasts" for "protoplasm"
and "plastide particles." The essential plasma in both cases is the same,
and behind each lies the vital unit or principle therein manifested--the
invisible, indestructible germ or ZRA of the Bible genesis. Living
organisms come, of course, from this essential plasma, but without an
elementary principle or vital unit therein, there would be no "bioplasts,"
in the sense in which Professor Beale uses this term. These bioplasts are
living organisms which take up nutrient matter and convert it by
assimilation into tissues, nerves, fibres, bones, etc.--into the higher
and more complex organs that go to make up living structure. This
mysterious transmutation of one thing into another, as organic matter into
living organisms, is due to a vitally implanted principle, not to these
little bioplasts, or mere epithelial and other tools with which the vital
principle works. To apply the term "living matter" to the tools with which
a living structure is built up, is to lose sight of the master-mechanic
using them for an apparently intelligent purpose. The microscope may
demonstrate that these little bioplasts throb--have life; but there is no
intelligent purpose manifested by them except as they are moved by an
unseen hand that conclusively directs the whole structural work--builds up
the one complete symmetrical structure, not its thousand independent parts
having no relation to a general plan. The future lord and occupant of the
mansion is presumably present, and if he uses tools that "throb and have
life," it is because everything he touches is quickened into life that it
may be the more obedient to his will. If this structure be the
soul-endowed one of man, the vital principle imparted is that which
fashions the epithelial tools, and uses them, as well in laying the
embryological foundation, as in crowning its work with that many-colored
"dome of thought flashing the white radiance of eternity."

Mr. Joseph Cook, who enthusiastically follows Professor Beale in his
theory of life, in one of his "Boston Monday Lectures," says; "It is
beyond contradiction that we know that these little points ('bioplasts')
of structureless matter spin the threads, and weave the warp and woof, of
organisms." With all due respect to this distinguished lecturer, we must
except to not less than three points in as many lines of his
over-confident statement. In the first place, we know nothing respecting
the "beginnings of life," which may not be contradicted with some show of
reason. Take his own definition of "bioplasts," as copied from Professor
Beale, coupled with what they both term "nutrient matter" and "germinal
matter," or bioplasm, and this confident assertion of his will land him at
once where the highest powers of the microscope fail to give back any
intelligible answer, or where neither assertion nor contradiction avails
anything. A bioplast, they tell us, is a germinal point in germinal matter
or bioplasm. It is also assumed that the central portion of every cell in
an organic tissue is a bioplast. Here this wonderful little weaver of
tissue sits spinning his threads and weaving them into the warp and woof
of "formed matter"--that which, according to Professor Beale, becomes
"dead matter" as soon as it is woven! But it is admitted that the nerve
fibres constitute an uninterrupted network which admits of no
endings--that is, whose ultimate reticulations lie beyond the microscopic
limit. But there is a cell in every hundredth part of an inch of these
ultimate reticulations, in each of which one of these bioplastic weavers
sits plying his threads into the warp and woof of nerve tissue, if not of
nerve force. What is known of these little weavers, either by Mr. Joseph
Cook or Professor Lionel S. Beale? Manifestly nothing, unless they have
been specially favored with microscopes of over 2,800 diameters--the
highest yet made,--and have fathomed the ultimate implications of nerve
force; an assumption on the part of the Boston lecturer to which we are
bound to except.

Nor are these "bioplasts" mere structureless matter, however minute they
may be as "little points." They differ only from "morphological cells," in
the definitional language employed by different theorists, and lack the
all-essential accuracy of distinction necessary to scientific
classification. To define a bioplast as a germinal point in germinal
matter, or bioplasm, is to draw no satisfactory line of distinction
between the two, except that the one is a mere aggregation of the other. A
germinal mass is only made up of germinal points--those considered as the
least of any given whole--however infinitesimal they may be in theoretical
statement. If any germinal point in germinal matter, therefore, be a
bioplast, then every germinal point, to the extent of making up its entire
mass, must be a bioplast; and the distinction between the two becomes
merely verbal, and without generic signification. But every morphological
cell is conceded to be an organism, whether it lie within or beyond the
microscopic limit. And it invariably exhibits a greater or less amount of
cellular activity at its centre. It grows rather than spins; it builds up
tissue, rather than weaves it into warp and woof; it assimilates nutritive
matter rather than plies a loom in any conceivable sense in which we may
view that industrial machine. No matter what we may call this point of
vital activity in a cell--whether it be a bioplast, a plastid, a
physiological unit, or a granule of "elementary life-stuff"--it simply
performs the one single function of life to which it is specifically
assigned in the process of "building up" any one identical individual of a
species, whether it be a man, an ape, a tree, or a parasitic fungus. The
very admission that the bioplast spins, makes it an organism, and not mere
structureless matter. For the first thread it spins is manifestly for its
own covering or the ornamentation of its own cell-walls. And to speak of
these as "structureless matter" is to confound all scientific sense, as
well as meaning.

The third objection to Mr. Cook's statement is, that if bioplasts spin, it
is as dependent, and not as independent machines or agencies. There are
millions of these bioplasts--taking the word in the sense in which
Professor Beale uses it--in every living organism considered as a
biological whole. In the case of man, there are millions of them within a
comparatively small compass; and each has its own cell to which its
specific work is assigned. Now, these germinal points, or bioplasts, in
each of these myriads of cells, work, not separately and independently,
like so many oysters in their respective shells, but harmoniously and
together, as if under the supervisional direction of one supreme architect
and builder. This builder is that one elementary principle of life,
appertaining to each specific individual as a species, with which nature
was endowed from the beginning, and which, in the case of man, was a
direct emanation from Deity. It is this vital principle manifesting itself
_in_ all living organisms, not _from_ them; directing Professor Beale's
"bioplastic weavers," not directed by them; availing itself of necessary
plasmic conditions, if not giving rise to them in the first instance;
observing no developmental processes by which one form of life laps over
upon another, and following no order but that of universal harmony in the
Divine intendment. There is struggle and rivalry for existence, even among
the same classes, orders, genera, and species, and the smallest and
weakest must give place to the largest and strongest everywhere, and _vice
versa_, as Time, the greatest of all rodents, gnaws away at the mystical
tree of life. But in every living organism, from the lowest and simplest
to the highest and most complex, all bioplastic spinners of filamentous
tissue, all plastide weavers of membranous or spun matter, all epithelial
bobbin-runners, and other anatomical helpers and workers, perform their
respective tasks under the special supervision we have named, that is,
under the higher unit of life. They all work for the advancement and
well-being of the higher organism of which they form a component and
necessarily subordinate part.

The fact that Professor Beale has discovered that what he calls bioplasm
and germinal points or bioplasts may take on a distinct and separate color
from tissue, when subjected to a solution of carmine in ammonia, is no
evidence that he has penetrated the adytum of this sacred temple of Life,
wherein lies the "mystery of mysteries." It is an important discovery so
far as tracing tissue is concerned, but it admits him into no higher
mystery within the temple built by God than another may attain to by the
accidental discovery that the tissues may take on the same color in some
other solution--by no means an improbable discovery. Carmine in ammonia is
not the only solution that may aid science in the investigations now being
carried forward by the vitalists and non-vitalists with so much bitterness
and asperity of feeling between them; and now that Professor Beale has
made _his_ happy discovery, it is by no means certain that some other
equally persistent worker in this interesting field of inquiry may not hit
upon quite as happy a discovery in the same or some equivalent
direction--one that shall throw the bioplasmic theory as far into the
shade as Mr. Cook thinks the bioplasts have already thrown the cells.

But decidedly the most objectionable statement of Professor Beale,
although one confidently re-affirmed by our "Boston Monday Lecturer," is
that which makes bioplasm and bioplasts the only "living matter." We have
already referred to the phrases "living matter" and "non-living matter" as
altogether objectionable in biological statement, since they are more than
half-way concessions to the materialists, who contemptuously order the
vitalists to take a "back seat" in the discussions now going forward as to
the true origin of life. But the objection we here make is less technical,
and touches a far more vital point in the inquiry. It is true that
Professor Beale speaks of "formed matter," as if it were a peculiar
something--a sort of _tertium quid_--between living and non-living matter.
But he distinctly avers that the substance which turns red in his carmine
solutions is the "only living matter," and hence asserts, inferentially at
least, that all other matter, in any and every living organism, is "dead
matter." But we may just as confidently aver that no matter is living in
any vital organism which has not been assimilated and built up into living
membranous tissue capable of responding (in the case of man) to his will,
as well as performing the autonomous functions of plants and the lower
animals. For all these membranous tissues are innumerably thronged with
bioplasts or plastide particles, not for the purposes of obedience to
man's will, or of performing any autonomous function, but simply to supply
the tissues with the necessary nutrient matter to make up for the constant
waste that is going on in a healthy living organ. This waste is very much
greater than has heretofore been supposed, so that the man or animal of
to-day may be an entirely distinct and separate one, considered
materially, from that of a year or more ago. And this averment would have
a decided advantage over Professor Beale's, since, in meeting a friend, we
might be certain that four-fifths of him at least was alive, while the
other one-fifth was industriously at work to keep him alive, instead of a
stalking corpse, as he would otherwise be, upon the street. Besides, it
would obviate the necessity, on the part of the vitalists, of giving
themselves four-fifths away to the materialists, as Professor Beale
virtually does in the argument.

The too rude touch of a child's hand will rob the canary bird of its
life--stifle its musical throat, hush its most ecstatic note, still its
exquisite song, and render forever mute and silent its voice. But where
are Professor Beale's bioplasts which, but a moment before, were not only
weaving the nerves, tissues, muscles, bones, and even the wonderful
plumage of this canary bird, but plying the invisible threads of
song--throwing off its chirps, carols, trills, quavers, airs, overtures
and brilliant _roulades_, as if the little vocalist had caught its
inspiration from the very skies? Where, we repeat, are these bioplasts
now? They are all quietly and industriously at work as before. The
occupant of the song-mansion is gone, but not one of these bioplasts has
dropped a clew, thrown down a shuttle, abandoned a loom, or fled in dismay
to the core of its cell. They still pulsate, throb, throw off tissue. No
chemical change has yet intervened to break down their cell-walls, or
interfere with the occupations assigned them. The machinery that ran their
looms is stopped--that is all. The invisible shuttles have ceased to
ply--the meshes of their tangled webs are broken--the more delicate
threads of song are snapped in sunder, but the bioplastic spinners and
weavers are all there. Not one of them has been displaced from its seat,
nor in any way disturbed or molested in its work. If they are conscious of
any danger, it is that the occupant of this little song-mansion has
suddenly stepped out--is no longer present to direct their tasks. The icy
hand of decay and death will soon be upon them--these poor bioplastic
weavers of tissue--but the vocal spark, the "bright gem instinct with
music," is beyond the reach of these dusky messengers. _Where_ it is, not
man, but the Giver of all life knows. We only know, when our faith is
uplifted by inspiration, that--

  "The soul of music never dies,
     Nor slumbers in its shell;
  'Tis sphere-descended from the skies,
     And thence returns to dwell."



Chapter IX.

Force-Correlation, Differentiation and Other Life Theories.



Among the more startling, if not decidedly brilliant, vital theories which
have been advanced within the last few years, is that which makes life an
"undiscovered correlative of force." Those who have the reputation of
being the profoundest thinkers and delvers in the newly-discovered realm
of Force-correlation in Europe, and who have more or less modestly
contributed to that reputation themselves, have evidently thought to
eclipse, if not to entirely throw into the shade, the great exploit of
Leverrier, in pointing out the exact place in their empirical heavens
where the superior optics of some future observer shall behold, in all its
glory, this "undiscovered correlative of force," which they have indicated
as lying within the higher possibilities and potentialities of matter.
Precisely what they mean by this undiscovered correlate, is what puzzles
us quite as much to determine as it does the materialists to explain. Were
they to define life as an "undiscovered force" simply, their definition
would manifestly lack in brilliancy what it would conclusively make up in
precision and accuracy of definitional statement. But such a poor
metaphrastic and half-circular exposition of vital force would never
answer the necessities of that profounder profundity required for the
success of modern scientific treatises. Hence the interpolation of this
"correlative" of theirs. Let us ascertain, if we can, what it means, since
they are so chary of informing us themselves.

A "correlate" of a thing--any thing--simply implies the reciprocal
relation it bears to some other thing. As a cognate term it expresses
nothing, can express nothing, but reciprocity of relationship, such as
father to son, brother to sister, uncle to aunt, nephews to nieces, etc.
As applied to vital force, it means nothing more nor less than that this
particular force stands in some sort of relationship to the other forces
of nature, or, as they would have us believe, the _material_ forces of
nature. And the simple strength or potentiality of this relationship is
what makes all the difference between the severally related forces of the
universe, since it would be as impossible to differentiate a fixed
relationship as to change the nature of vital units. But whether vital
force, as a distinct correlate, is paternal or filial, brotherly or
sisterly, avuncular or amital in its relationship, is not stated. The
scientific formula, however, may be stated thus: As A (chemical force) is
to B (molecular force) so is C (a third known force) to _x_ (the vital or
unknown force); so that, by multiplying the antecedents and consequents
together, and eliminating the value of _x_, we may mathematically obtain
the value of vital force.

But to eliminate the value of _x_ is what troubles them. Herbert Spencer
has tried his hand at it, but failed to express life under any higher
correlation than "molecular force;" nor can he definitely inform us
whether either force is third or fourth cousin to the other. But he
manifestly regards their relationship as constituting either a very
attractive or highly repulsive force. In his vexation at not finding the
value of _x_, he is driven from mathematical to mechanical biology, and
gives us this new definitional value of life--that singularly
contumacious quantity which so persistently refuses to be eliminated in
scientific equations: "Life is molecular machinery worked by molecular
force." But as Professor Beale has utterly demoralized, if not
demolished, this machinery, in his recent treatise on "The Mystery of
Life," we will spare it any further blows, and proceed to the
consideration of "molecular force."

Before we proceed however, to the consideration of this force, let us
definitely understand the meaning of the terms we shall be called upon
to use. We can have no difficulty in understanding the meaning of
"molecular attraction," or that force acting immediately on the
integrant molecules or particles of a body, as distinguished from the
attraction of gravitation which acts at unlimited distances. But when it
comes to ascribing other and higher manifestations of power to
molecules, such as have not been scientifically shown to exist, we must
feel our way with caution, and demand of these pretentious molecules, or
rather of their materialistic backers, a reason for the faith, or rather
force, that is in them.

It is agreed by all physicists, as well as chemists, that a "molecule" is
the smallest conceivable quantity of a simple or compound substance, as an
"atom" is the smallest conceivable quantity of an element which enters
into combination with other elements to form material substance. For
instance, the smallest conceivable quantity of water is a molecule, while
the smallest conceivable quantity of either of the two elements of which
water is composed, is an atom. In every molecule of water, therefore,
there are three elementary atoms, two of hydrogen and one of oxygen. And
since a molecule, as a general rule, contains two or more atoms, and may
contain many of them, why not predicate dynamic force of the atoms, which
lie one step nearer the elementary forces of nature? For the mightiest
forces of nature lie in these elements, when forced into unnatural
alliances, or chained up in durance vile. It is in the elements of matter,
and not in its molecules, that this tremendous dynamic force resides. Man,
knowing this, harnesses them into his service, first by forcing them into
unnatural alliances, as in the case of charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre,
and then successfully pitting them in conflict against the rocks and the
general inertia of matter. To charge all the destructive work they do on
the innocent and harmless molecules, which are two steps removed from the
actual force expended, is drawing conclusions from the sheerest
hypothetical data. It is the office of "molecular force," if there is any
meaning to the term beyond what is expressed by "molecular attraction," to
conserve matter--bind rocks together, not rend them in sunder.

If the dynamic forces of nature lie pent up in the molecules, then man
must array molecular force against molecular force in order to rend rocks
and tear mountains in sunder. This theory of molecular force, as extended
to vital physics in the force-doctrine of life, is irreconcilably at war
with the principal phenomena of life, and should be classed with the other
undiscovered correlates of force, which Professor Beale speaks of as "the
fictions of a mechanical imagination." The truth is that these much abused
and much slandered molecules are the most innocent and harmless things in
nature. They never become destructive unless some other force than that
inhering in themselves drags them into its service and hurls them along a
devastating path. Of themselves, they are the very quintessence of
quiessence in the universe, and, when formed in nature's laboratory, at
once seek quiet and loving companionship with kindred molecules, and
retain it forever afterwards. The idea that they should break away from
their loving molecular embrace, and, by any process of differentiation or
constructive agency of their own, seek an alliance with some living
dog-germ in order to be built up into living dog-tissue, presents about as
perverse and wayward an impulse on the part of matter as can well be
imagined by the scientific mind. That the dog-germ should seek to get hold
of, and differentiate them, we can well understand. The Circean witchery
and enticement is all on the part of the dog-germ, not in the inclination
of the molecules.

If there is any truth in this molecular-force-theory of life, it is about
time for us to discard some of the old categories respecting matter,
motion, and life, and substitute new ones in their place. In the
multiplicity of new scientific terms constantly springing up for
recognition in these days, there ought to be no difficulty in expressing
the true categories, and assigning to them their proper definitional
value. To include physical force, chemical force, molecular force, and
vital force all under one and the same category, and then interpret their
several modes of action on any theory of force-correlation, is not
emancipating language from the gross thraldom into which their "molecular
machinery" has driven it. Besides, there is moral force, mental force, the
force of will, the force of reason, the force of honesty, the force of
fraud, etc., and any number of other forces, all possessing more or less
impetus or momentum, and capable of binding or coercing persons and
things, in all their diversified relations, correlations, incidences,
coincidences, affinities, antagonisms, and so on through an interminable
chapter of interchangeable predications. All these different expressions
of force are to be tethered together--definitionally bound hand and
foot--under the one explanatory head of "force-correlation." We protest
against the labor of thus unifying all the natural forces of the universe,
even if it were practicable under scientific methods.

But Professor Tyndall denies that "molecular groupings" and "molecular
motions" explain anything--account for anything--in the way of explicating
life-manifestations, or determining what life is.[31] And it would be
difficult to cite a stronger and more determined materialist as authority
on the point we are considering. He says: "If love were known to be
associated with a right-handed spiral motion of the molecules of the
brain, and hate with the left-handed, we should remain as ignorant as
before, as to the cause of motion." But there is no proof that the
molecules of the brain manifest any other motions than those necessary for
keeping up the normal condition of health and vital activity in the brain
itself. No one can be certain that he has seen these molecules in a state
of mental activity; for where portions of the human brain have been
exposed to microscopic examination, even in perfect states of
consciousness on the part of those whose brains have been laid bare, there
can be no certainty that the molecular action, if any, is referable to one
set of movements more than another. And even in the case of animalcules,
as seen in the object glass of the microscope, there is no absolute
certainty that their quick, darting or jerking movements are due to any
life-manifestation, as heretofore assumed. Some quite as well defined
forms are entirely motionless, and if all were so, it would be idle to
predicate vitality of them.[32] These infinitessimal and constantly
varying forms, many of them not the one hundred-thousandth part of an inch
in length, to say nothing of their other dimensions, may owe their
oscillations, wave movements, darting and other manifestations, and even
their molecular arrangements and rearrangements, to other causes than
those strictly "vital." And it should be borne in mind that their actual
movements are just as much exaggerated under the microscope as their real
dimensions. But as they make their appearance in organic infusions only,
they are presumably vital organisms rather than fomentative or mere
filamentous yeast-manifestations.

Professor Huxley, while conceding that molecular changes may take place
under environing life-conditions, or in protoplasmic matter, denies that
the "primordial cells" possesses in any degree the characteristics of a
"machine," nor can they undergo any differentiating process by which the
character of their manifestations can be changed. And he even denies to
them the poor right to originate or in any way modify their own plasma. He
says: "They are no more the producers of vital phenomena, than the shells
scattered in orderly line along the sea-beach are the instruments by which
the gravitative force of the moon acts upon the ocean. Like these, the
cells mark only where the vital tides have been, and how they have acted."
This is undoubtedly true of all cells in which the vital or functional
office has ceased, as in the case of Professor Beale's "formed matter."
The cells are the result of the vital principle that lies behind them, and
simply indicate where life exists, or has manifestly ceased to exist.
Where the vital currents have ceased to flow, the wreck of primordial
cells is quite as wide and disastrous as where millions of sea-shells have
been strewn along a desolated and storm-swept sea-beach. They all come,
both the cells and shells, from the preëxisting vital units, or
determinate germs, that fall into their own incidences of movement,
without any concurrence of physical conditions beyond their own inherent
tendency to development. For "conditions" do not determine life; they only
favor its manifestation.

But some of the materialists claim that what we call "vital units," or
invisible, indestructible germs,[33] are at best only "physical
relations;" that they have nothing more than a hypothetical existence,
without any independent recognizable quality justifying our conclusions
respecting them. But may not this identical language be retortively
suggested in the case of their "correlates of force?" What more than a
hypothetical existence have they? Certainly their enthusiasm to get rid of
all vital conditions or manifestations, is quite as marked a feature in
their speculations respecting life as any enthusiasm we have shown in the
verification of vital phenomena, on the established law of cause and
effect. They insist upon this law in the case of statical aggregates, and
even assign absolute identity of attributes; but when it comes to
dynamical aggregates, they fall back on partial identity only, and deny
the presence of the law altogether.

Nor are they any more felicitous in their treatment of other points in
controversy. In speaking of his "plastide particles," Professor Bastian,
the most defiant challenger of vitalistic propositions now living, says:
"Certain of these particles, through default of _necessary conditions,_
never actually develop into higher modes of being." Here he makes the
absence of "necessary conditions" the cause of non-development, while he
stoutly denies that the presence of such "conditions" give rise to the
development of a pre-existing vital unit. And yet, strange to say, he
speaks of the elemental origin of "living matter" as "having probably
taken place on the surface of our globe since the far-remote period when
such matter was first engendered." But how his "sum-total of external
conditions," acting upon _dead_ matter, can "engender" _living_ matter, is
one of those "related heterogenetic phenomena" which he does not
condescend to explain. It is by this sort of scientific verbiage that he
gets rid of the pre-existing vital principle, or germinal principle of
life, which the biblical genesis declares to be in the earth itself.

To be entirely consistent with himself, he should deny the existence of
this germinal principle in the seeds of plants themselves, and insist upon
the sum-total of external conditions as the cause of all
life-manifestations, in the vegetal as in the animal world. There can be
no inherent tendency, he should insist, in the seed itself towards
structural development, but only external conditions acting upon "dead
matter," in heterogentic directions. The shooting down of the radicle or
undeveloped root, and the springing up of the plumule or undeveloped
stalk, is accordingly due to no vital principle in the seed, but to the
complexity or entanglement of the molecules wrapped up in their
integumentary environment. And this, or some similar fortuitous
entanglement of molecules, should account for all life-manifestations, as
well as all life-tendencies, in nature. These molecular entanglements
should, therefore, be infinite in number, as well as in fortuitous
complexity, to account for all the myriad forms of life "engendered from
dead matter" in the material universe.

For if there is any one thing that the materialists insist upon more
resolutely than another, it is the fortuitousness of nature--the
happening by chance of whatever she does. Formerly it used to be the
"fortuitous concourse of atoms;" now it is the "fortuitous aggregate of
molecules." By what accidental or fortuitous happening the atoms have
dropped out of their scientific categories, and the molecules have been
advanced to their commanding place in _absolute accidentalness_, is one
of those unassignable causes in which they apparently so much delight. We
can only account for it on the supposition that they have all become
worshippers of that blind and accidental Greek goddess, who bore the horn
of Amalthea and plentifully endowed her followers with a wealth of
language and other much-coveted gifts, but not with the most desirable
knack at disposing of them.

The true cause of vital phenomena manifestly depends on these two
conditions--the presence of the specific vital unit, and the necessary
environing plasma, or nutrient matter, for its primary development.
Without the presence of both of these conditions, or conditioning
incidences, there can be no life-manifestation anywhere. And we do not see
that anything is gained, even in the matter of scientific nomenclature, by
merely substituting "molecular force" for "vital force," in the
explication of vital phenomena. Even granting that molecular changes do
take place during the development of the vital units in their necessary
plasmic environment; it by no means follows that these changes are not
dependent on the vital principle _as it acts_, rather than on the
molecules _as they act_,[34] The higher force should always subordinate
the lower in all metamorphic, as well as other processes, of nature. It is
the vital principle that differentiates matter--the aggregate of
molecules--not matter differentiating the vital principle. No "molécules
organiques" can ever differentiate an ape-unit into a man-unit, any more
than Professor Tyndall can fetch a Plato out of mere sky-mist. Once an
ape-unit, always an ape-unit; once a man-unit, eternally a man-unit.

Let the vitalists stick to this proposition--this eternally fixed _unit_
as "_une idée dans l'entendement de Dieu," _ (to use a better French
expression than English)--and they can fight the materialists off their
own ground anywhere. The one sublime verity of the universe is that
"life exists," and that it has existed from all eternity _as possible_
in the Divine mind, and in the Divine mind alone. If materialistic
science is disposed to butt its head against this impregnable
proposition, it can do so. The proposition will stand, whatever may
happen to the inconsiderate head.

For science may press her devotees into as many different pursuits as
there are starting-points to an azimuth circle, and command them to search
and find out the ultimate causes of things in the universe, but the
forever narrowing circle in one direction, and the forever widening one in
the other, would utterly baffle all their attempted research. Whether they
descended into the microscopic world, with its myriad-thronged conditions
of life, or passed upward and outward, in _Sirius-_distances, to the
irresolvable nebulæ, where other and perhaps brighter stars might burst
upon their view--gleaming coldly and silently down the still enormous
fissures and chasms in the heavens--the result would be the same. Wider
and wider fields of observation might open upon their view, as the stellar
swarms thickened and the power of human vision failed, but the
uranological expedition would return no wiser than when it started, and
Science would still be confronted with the same illimitability of space,
the same infinitude of matter, and the same incomprehensibility of the
world-arranging intelligence that lies beyond. For He who hath garnished
the heavens by his spirit--who divideth the sea with his power, and
hangeth the earth upon nothing--"_holdeth back the face of his throne and
spreadeth his cloud upon it_."

What if, in one direction, we should find those inconceivably small
specks, or mere bioplastic points, which we call "living matter," or, in
the other direction, those inconceivably vast world-forming masses which
we call "dead matter," who shall say that "the secret places of the Most
High" are not hidden from us, or that when the spirit of God first moved
through these vast fissures and chasms in the heavens upon the face of all
matter, there was not imparted to it that "animating principle of life" of
which the biblical genesis speaks, and which we everywhere see manifesting
itself in nature? Surely this inquiry is not one to be superciliously set
aside by the materialists, after the failure of their uranological
expedition, on the ground that it does not furnish food enough for
scientific contemplation, without such physiological fancies as their
specialists have been giving us in the shape of force-correlations and
molecular theories of life.

But speaking of the higher forces as subordinating the lower, suggests
that there should be something more definitely explained regarding the
hypothesis of "differentiation," on which Mr. Herbert Spencer hangs so
much of his mathematical faith in the true explication of vital
phenomena. The term "differentiation" is not so formidable as it might
seem to the general reader at first sight. As applied to physiological
problems it should have the same determinate value, in expressing
functional differences, as in the higher operations of mathematics.
Nothing can, of course, differentiate itself, nor can any two things
differentiate each other, even when functionally allied. The actual
coëfficient sought is the difference effected, in functional value, in
one of two independent variables. For all formulæ in differentiation are
constructed on the hypothesis that only one of two variables suffers
change. The differential coëfficient has yet to be determined which shall
express the developmental changes in two variables at once. When,
therefore, we attempt to extend the formulæ of differentiation to plant
and animal life, we are confronted by a very formidable difficulty at the
outset--the impossibility of determining an invariable coëfficient for
any two variables. Besides, all attempts at differentiating an ape-unit
into anything else than an ape-unit would be as impossible as to multiply
or divide cabbages by turnips, or sparrows by sparrowhawks. Such
divisions would give us no quotients, any more than their
differentiations would give us a coëfficient. Physiological
differentiation will, therefore, never help us out of fixed species or
nearly allied types. We can bridge no specific differences by it. In the
differentiation of the horse and the ass for instance, the superior blood
will predominate in the preservation of types, and even the mule will
kick against further differentiation. Nature would so utterly abhor the
practice as resolutely to slam the door in Mr. Spencer's face, if the
obstinacy of the mule did not kick it off its hinges.

And nature would be quite as intractable in the case of
"force-correlation," another of Mr. Spencer's redoubtable phrases. This
term is quite recent in its application to animate objects, nor has it
been long applied to inanimate. It is claimed to be a recently discovered
force, and is one that the materialists have seized upon as the Herculean
club with which to smite all vital theories to the earth. Its meaning, so
far as it has any, is not difficult to get at. The simplest way to explain
it, however, is the best. The reader is to understand that when he rubs
two flat sticks together, the heat thereby engendered is not the result of
friction, as all the world has heretofore supposed, but that the amount of
force expended in rubbing the right-hand stick against the left-hand
stick, is, by some law of versability, not over-well defined, transferred
to the two sticks, and gets so entangled between their surfaces that it
can only reappear in another and altogether different kind of force. When
it leaves the hands and passes into the two sticks, it is, as the
materialists assert, vital force. But as no force can be annihilated, the
conclusive assumption is that it still exists somewhere. All of it, in the
first place, went into the two flat sticks, and, when there, _ceased to be
vital force._ Some of it disappeared, of course, in overcoming the inertia
of the sticks, but the bulk of it became entangled with the superficial
molecules of the two sticks, and reappeared as _heat_--another name for
molecular force.

This is what is meant by the "differentiation" of vital force into
molecular force, and _vice versa_. But by what process of rubbing, under
this law of versability, molecular force can be reversed, or
differentiated back into vital force, Mr. Spencer has not condescended to
inform us. The simple truth is, and the materialists will be forced to
admit it in the end, that there is no verification of this theory beyond
that of mere force-equivalence. For instance, it has been experimentally
determined that a certain amount of fuel expended in heat is equivalent to
a certain amount of mechanical force, not mechanical _work_, as M. Carnot
puts it. For force is not expended in work until it is actually generated,
and the amount generated, not that expended in work, is the real
equivalence of the heat produced from fuel.

Another problem is presented when it comes to determining the amount of
generated force necessary to run a piece of machinery which shall
accomplish a given amount of mechanical work.

A far better phrase to express this equivalence of force has been
suggested and used by several writers in what is called the "Transmutation
of Force." For there is no correlation, or reciprocal relation, between
heat as originally produced by the consumption of fuel and the force as
engendered in steam before it is transmuted into work. Nor is there any
real equivalence as between the two forces after its transmutation. A very
large per centage of heat is lost in its transmutation from a latent form
in fuel to an active or available form in steam, and a still greater loss
in its transmission into work by machinery. Theoretically, there may be
such an equivalence as that named, but practically it is impossible to
realize it. And a theory that is impossible of realization is of no
practical utility in itself, and of little value as the basis of further
theory. If, then, the theory of force equivalence is a failure in
practical application, it furnishes a very poor basis on which to
predicate force-correlation, or the doctrine of reciprocal forces. It is
estimated, for instance, that a pound weight falling seven hundred and
seventy-two feet, will, in striking the earth, impart to it a degree of
heat equivalent to raising one pound of water 1° F. But the heat thus
imparted can never be so utilized as to raise a pound weight seven hundred
and seventy-two feet into the air.

This shows that there is no actual reciprocity of relationship between the
force as originally engendered and finally expended in work. Nor can it be
shown that the original force is transmuted or changed into another and
different kind of force by the operation. The force generated and the
force expended are essentially one and the same, as much so as that
transmitted from the power to the weight by means of a rope and pulley.
And the quality of the force is not changed, whether the weight be lifted
by machinery or the human hand. Force, in its mechanical sense, is that
power which produces motion, or an alteration in the direction of motion,
and is incapable of being specialized, except in a highly figurative
sense, into a thousand and one correlates of motion. But these
miscellaneous and figurative forces are not what we are considering. The
doctrine of force-correlation takes no such wide and comprehensive sweep.
It embraces neither the force of wit, nor the force of folly; but
mechanical force and its equivalents. The force exercised by the human
hand in lifting a weight either with or without rope and pulley is, in
every definitional sense of the word, mechanical force. For the arm and
hand are only the implements, or mechanical contrivances of nature, by
which the will-power transmutes itself into work, or, more properly
speaking, transmits itself from the point of force-generation to that of
force-expenditure. And this is precisely the office performed by all
mechanical contrivances for the transmission--not transmutation--of force.
And the most perfect machine is that which transmits the engendered force,
with the least possible waste or abandonment, to its point of ultimate
expenditure in work.

All these hypothetical correlates of force, therefore, predicated upon the
doctrine of force-transmutation, have no foundation in fact, since the
force transmitted from the point of generation to the point of expenditure
undergoes no change but that of direction, in its passage along rope,
wire, belt, pulley, shafting, etc. A man whose limbs have been paralyzed,
may still will to remove mountains. The will-power is the same, but the
mechanical contrivances for its transmission are wanting. Of the actual
point or centre of this force-generation, in the case of the will-power,
we know nothing; but the moment the power is started on its way towards
the point of force-expenditure, whether it traverses the nerves and
tissues of the brain, or the right arm or the left, or a crowbar or
pickaxe, it is in no sense distinguishable from the force that traverses a
rope and pulley. Nor is there any evidence that it undergoes molecular
changes, or becomes modified or conditioned by any nearly or remotely
related force, as it darts along the nerves, runs through the contracted
tissues, electrifies the crowbar, or flashes into work from the point of a
pickaxe. Whatever produces, or tends to produce, motion, or an alteration
in its direction, is mechanical force, no matter from what force-centre it
may start. When we can definitely determine the centre of vital force, as
exercised in building up vital structure, _not in wielding pickaxes_, it
is to be hoped we shall be able to distinguish, by the proper correlates,
vital force from that which is mechanical. But the task is manifestly a
hopeless one with the materialists.

Professor Beale positively denies that there are any such physical
force-relations as those claimed by the materialists, and asserts that
vital force bears no relation, or correlation, to either chemical or
physical force; that the one is a distinct and separate factor from the
other, and cannot be interpreted in the same force-formulæ. He says: "The
idea of motion, or heat, or light, or electricity _forming_ or _building_
up, or _constructing_ any texture capable of fulfilling a definite
purpose, seems absurd, and opposed to all that is known, and yet is the
notion continually forced upon us, that vitality, which does construct, is
but a correlate of ordinary energy or motion."

But after devoting so much time to "force-correlation," and
"force-differentiation," the advocates of "molecular-machinery" may feel
themselves neglected if we dismiss their favorite hobby without further
notice. The precise parentage of this term is disputed, but it has any
number of _putative_ fathers. We have spoken of the size of the molecules
themselves, and the numbers of them that might be huddled together on the
point of a cambric needle without jostling. Let us now consider the size
of a molecular machine. For each molecule runs its own machine, and is
provident enough to see that they do not jostle. In fact, it is a very
nice question in physics, whether the machines do not run the molecules,
instead of the prevailing opposite opinion that the molecules run the
machines. Unfortunately, the question is one that can never be determined.
The requisite scientific data will forever be wanting.

But Professor James C. Maxwell, now, or quite recently, filling the chair
of experimental physics in the University of Cambridge, England, has
furnished us with _approximate_ calculations. On the strength of his
approximations we will proceed to consider the dimensions of these
wonderful little machines. And first, it may be axiomatically laid down
that these molecular machines, which either run the molecules or are run
by them, can never exceed the size of their respective molecules.
Conceding, then, that each one of these machines exactly fits into its own
molecule, so as to present identically the same dimensions--as well as
their largest possible dimensions--it would require two millions of them,
placed in a row, to make one millimetre, or the one three hundred and
ninety-four thousandths of an inch in length, or seven hundred and
eighty-eight billions of them to make one inch! Who will ever be staggered
at _Sirius_-distances, after this? And who will deny that an infinite
world lies below the point of our microscopic vision, if not an Infinite
kingdom and throne beyond our telescopic glance?

But, following the same high authority in experimental physics, let us
consider the aggregate weight of these molecular machines. We will not
marshal their aggregate numbers in a row, for an array of forty billions
of them would make too insignificant a figure for inspection; but simply
give their actual weight as computed under the French or metric system.
Take, then, a million million million million of these machines, throwing
in molecules and all, and they will weigh, if there is no indiscreet
kicking of the beam, just a fraction between four and five grammes, or--to
differentiate the weights--a small fraction over one-tenth of an ounce!

But why not get down to the atoms, of which the molecules are only the
theoretical congeries, and marshal the "atomic forces" into line? These
embryonic atoms are much the braver warriors, and, when summoned to do
battle, spring, lithe and light-armed, against the elemental foe. They are
no cowardly molecules, these atoms, but make war against Titans, as well
as Titanic thrones and powers. The elements recognize them as their body
guardsmen, their corps of invincible lancers, their bravest and best
soldiers in fight. And they are wholly indifferent as to the legions of
molecules arrayed against them, and would as soon hurl a mountain of them
into the sea as to sport with a zephyr or caper with the east wind. Why
not summon these countless myriads of bright and invincible spearmen, to
batter down the walls of this Cretan labyrinth of Life? An army of these
would be worth all the molecules that Professor Maxwell could array in
line, in a thousand years. No life-problem need remain unsolved with their
bright spears to drive the tenebrious mists before them. Even Professor
Tyndall's "fog-banks of primordial haze" would be ignominiously scattered
in flight before these atomic legions. Let our materialistic friends
summon them, then, to their aid. The field of controversy will never be
won by their molecular "Hessians." The ineffably bright lancers that stand
guard over the elemental hosts are the light brigade with which to rout
the vitalistic enemy. Advance them then to the front, and, beneath the
shadowy wing of pestilence or some other appalling ensign of destruction,
the abashed vital squadrons will flee in dismay.

But let us pass from scientific speculations to alleged scientific facts.
In a paper read by Dr. Hughes Bennett before the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, in 1861, its author says: "The first step, in the process of
organic formation, is the production of an organic fluid; the second, the
precipitation of organic molecules, from which, according to the molecular
law of growth, all other textures are derived either directly or
indirectly." Here again the molecules, and not the elementary atoms, are
advanced to the front, and not a little anxiety is shown, in a
definitional way, to identify vital processes of growth with crystalline
processes of formation. But Dr. Bennett entirely mistakes, as well as
misstates, the process of vital development, if he does not overlook the
law governing the formation of crystals. There can be no symmetrically
arranged solids in an inorganic fluid without the presence of some law, or
principle, definitely determining, not the "precipitation," but the
"formation," of crystals. The inorganic particles are not precipitated or
thrown downward, any more than they are sublevated or thrown upward. The
process is one of formation, not precipitation. Every crystallographer,
not hampered by materialistic views and anti-vital theories, admits the
presence of a fixed and determinate law governing each crystalline system,
whatever may be the homologous parts or the unequal axes it represents.

And so of the equally undeviating law of vital growth. Life comes from no
mere "precipitation of organic molecules," as Dr. Bennett would have us
believe. If so, what is it that precipitates the molecules? They can
hardly be said to precipitate themselves. To precipitate, in a chemical
sense, is to be thrown down, or caused to be thrown down, as a substance
from its solution. What, then, causes the molecules to be thus
precipitously thrown down from a fluid to a solid, or a semi-solid, state?
It cannot be from any blind or inconsiderate haste on the part of the
molecules themselves. There must be some independent principle, or law of
nature--one presupposing an intelligent law-giver--to effect the
"precipitating process," if any such really exists.

But it does not exist. The first step is one of development and
growth--the manifestation of functional activity--the building up of
organic or cellular tissue. The exact process, in the case of seed-bearing
plants and trees, is well known. All those familiar with the
characteristic differences of seeds, their chemical constituents, their
tegumentary coverings, rudimentary parts, etc., thoroughly understand the
process in its outward manifestation. There is no precipitation of
molecules as in an organic fluid, unless the albumen lying between the
embryo and testa of the seeds, and constituting the nutriment on which the
plant feeds during its primary stages of growth, can be called a fluid. It
throws none of its characteristic ingredients downward any more than
upward. Indeed the greater tendency of its molecules is upward rather than
downward, in the "molecular processes" (vital ones) by which the embryonic
cell is started upon its career of plant-life. The celebrated Dr. Liebig
says of this albuminous environment: "It is the foundation, the
starting-point, of the whole series of peculiar tissues which constitute
those organs which are the seat of all vital actions." In the case of
animal life, this albumen abounds in the serum of the blood, enters
largely into the chyle and lymph, goes to build up the tissues and
muscles, and is the chief ingredient of the nerves, glands, and even the
brain itself. And in all these developmental stages, its tendency is to
coagulate rather than precipitate. In its coagulated condition, it dries
to a hard, partially translucent and friable state, and is more or less
insoluble in water, and entirely so at a temperature from 140° to 160° F.

When the seed is planted or placed in water, it first commences to swell
from the absorption of the water or moisture of the ground by the pores of
its external covering, the favorable temperature being from 60° to 80° F.
It gradually expands until its outer membranes burst, and its initial
rootlets clasp their hold upon the earth. From this point its several
stages of development are well known to the ordinary observer. Here the
first step is absorption and expansion, not precipitation. There is also a
change in chemical conditions, the water at least being decomposed. For it
would seem to be a law of vegetal growth that reproduction should begin in
decomposition and decay. The Apostle's description of the "death of the
grain," as symbolizing the death of man, in his first Epistle to the
Corinthians, points conclusively in this direction. It is in the
decomposition and decay of the grain that the implanted germ is quickened
into life--ascends into the bright light, the warm sunshine, the
refreshing presence of showers and dews. In this way it fulfils its
providential purpose of yielding to the sower the more munificent life
which he is forever seeking to attain.

Its germination is the springing up of the inner living principle of the
grain, not its outer envelope or dead husk. This disappears in decay,
except the small nutrient portion within which the germinal principle of
life would seem to reside, and which undergoes a thorough chemical change
in the process of passing from death unto life, or being assimilated and
taken up into the new living structure. The Apostle's comparison
distinctly marks these several changes as the one process of passing from
death unto life. He saw in this wonderful provision of nature, the still
more wonderful prevision of God. To his mind it was over the debris of the
dead past that the living present is constantly marching towards a higher
and more perfect life--the ultimate fruition and joy of an eternal home in
the skies! And he saw that the two grand instrumentalities and
co-accessory agencies to this end, were Life and Death, both equally
constant and active, like all the other instrumentalities and governing
agencies of the universe. Life is forever unlocking the portals of the
present to youth and vigor; Death is forever closing them to age and
decrepitude. This divine prevision thus becomes the wisest and most
beneficent provision. Without life there would be no such thing as death,
and without death no such thing as this grand succession and march of
life--this passing from out the Shadow into the Day.



Chapter X.

Darwinism Considered from a Vitalistic Stand-Point.



Granting that the assumption of Darwinism rests, as claimed, on the fixed
and inflexible adaptation of means to ends, in the diversified yet
measurably specialized processes of nature, there is no logical deduction
to be drawn therefrom but that which traces the representatives of all the
great types of the animal kingdom to one single source, and that not the
Sovereign Intelligence of the Universe, but a mere "ovule in protoplasm,"
or what may be defined, in its unaggregated form, as an inconceivably
small whirligig, having motion on a central axis, but whether an
independent motion of its own, or one derived from an Infinite
Intelligence, the Darwinian systematizers are not bold enough to aver.
They have too many _a priori_ scruples either to assert the one
proposition or to deny the other. What set this little whirligig in motion
is a mystery that lies beyond the purview of science, so called, and into
the depths of this infinitessimal and most mysterious little chamber they
refuse to go.

They search not for the evidence of an Infinite Intelligence in the
outermost circle of the heavens where the highest is to be found, and
where a bound is set that we may not pass, but shutting their eyes to all
the grander evidences of such an Intelligence, they dive down into the
infinitessimal realm of nature and assume to dig out the sublimer secrets
of the universe there. And this is their grand discovery: That this
infinitessimal whirligig of theirs has not only whirled man into
existence, but the entire circle of the heavens, with the innumerable host
of stars that march therein, and all the boundless systems of worlds that
roll in space. With this subordination of the Infinite to the
infinitessimal, of intelligence to insensate matter, of divine energy, so
to speak, to blind molecular force, they are satisfied; and, like the mole
in the fable, conceive their little molecule to be the only possible
creator of a stupendous universe.

Scrutinize my propositions closely, and see if I am guilty of misstating
theirs. Their new theory is only a slight modification of an old one, or
the old adage, _omne vivum ex ovo_--all life is from an egg. For they
assert that every living thing primordially proceeds from an ovule in
protoplasm, the essential part of the protoplasmic egg, so to speak, being
this little _ovum_ or cellule, from which have issued all possible
organisms in both the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Nor is this theory
essentially confined to organic matter. A scientific coördination of its
several known parts, or alleged functions, extends the operations of this
infinitessimal whirligig to the plastic or uniformly diffused state of all
matter, from which has been evolved, in an infinite duration of past time,
not only life in its highest manifestations, but a universe so
stupendously grand that no amount of human intelligence can grasp the
first conception of it.

Mr. Emerson--our Ralph Waldo--virtually accepts this theory of
development, substituting, however, a stomach for an ovule, and the
reverse of the Darwinian proposition, in what he is pleased to call "the
incessant opposition of nature to everything hurtful." It is not the
"selection of the fittest" but the "rejection of the unfit," by which "a
beneficent necessity (I use his language) is always bringing things
right." "It is in the stomach of plants," he says, "that development
begins, and ends in the circles of the universe." "'Tis a long way," he
admits, "from the gorilla to the gentleman--from the gorilla to Plato,
Newton, Shakespeare--to the sanctities of religion, the refinements of
legislation, the summits of science, art, poetry."

Few persons, I take it, will dispute this proposition. The road is a long
one and beset with all sorts of thorns and briars, such as Mr. Emerson's
philosophy will hardly eradicate from the wayside. Even the most refined
empiricism will find it difficult to stomach his stomachic theory of the
universe, which lands all atomic or corpuscular philosophy in a digestive
sac, such as Jack Falstaff bore about him with its measureless capacity
for potations and Eastcheap fare. It is a road too in which Mr. Emerson's
philosophy will get many sharp raps from an external world of phenomena,
in the futility of both his and the Darwinian hypothesis to explain away
the independent origination of certain species of plants and animals--new
varieties still springing into existence, under favorable conditions, in
obedience to the divine fiat, "Let the earth bring forth."

In laying the foundations of this new science, if science it shall be
called, we must insist that the course of nature is uniform, and that,
however extended our generalizations in any one of her lines of
uniformity, all intermediate, as well as ultimate propositions, must not
only be stated with the utmost scientific accuracy, but the logical
deductions therefrom must also be uniform, or lie in the path of
uniformity. The earliest and latest inductions must either coincide or
approximate the same end. No links must be broken, no chasms bridged, in
the scientific series. There must be a distinct and separate link
connecting each preceding and each succeeding one in the chain. The lowest
known mammal must be found in immediate relationship with his higher
congener or brother, not in any remote cousinship. There must be no
saltatory progress--no leaping over intermediate steps or degrees. The
heights of science are not to be scaled _per saltum_, except as degrees
may sometimes be conferred by our universities.[35]

There are some fish-like animals, say our Darwinian systematizers, like
the Lepidosirens and their congeners, with the characteristics of
amphibians; and hence they infer that by successive deviations and
improvements the lower order has risen into the higher. But out of what
page in the volume of nature, in the countless leaves we have turned back,
has the immediate congener dropped, that we are obliged to look for the
relationship in thirty-fourth cousins? We might as well say that some of
the _Infusoria_ possess the same or similar characteristics, and predicate
relationship between them and the amphibians; for giants sometimes spring
from dwarfs and dwarfs from giants. At all events, our diagnoses must be
freed from these intermediate breaks or failures in the chain of
continuity, or the doctrine of descent must tumble with the imaginary
foundations on which it is built. And bear in mind that the most
enthusiastic Darwinist is forced to admit that there are still rigid
partitions between the lower and higher organisms that have not been
pierced by the light of scientific truth, but they assume that future
discoveries and investigations will solve the difficulty. But science,
inflexible as she is, or ought to be, in her demands, admits of no
assumptions, much less sanctions such exceptions and deviations as we
constantly find in the Darwinian path of continuity. The eye of
imagination can supply nothing to her vision. She is eagle-eyed, and soars
into the bright empyrean--does not dive into quagmires and the slime of
creation after truth.

But let us see how Mr. Darwin bridges one of the very first chasms he
meets with in constructing his chain of generation. He goes back to the
first link, or to what he calls primordial generation. Here the leap is
from inorganic matter to the lowest form of organic life--from inanimate
to animate dust. The chasm is immense, as all will agree. But he bridges
it by falling back on his infinitessimal whirligig--his _primum
mobile_--or on the motions of elements as yet inaccessible, except to the
eye of imagination. For even Plato's monad, or ultimate atom, was not
matter itself, being indivisible, but rather a formal unit or primary
constituent of matter, which, like Mr. Darwin's whirligig in its
unaggregated form, admits of neither a maximum nor a minimum of
comprehension; but rests entirely on imaginary hypothesis. And we may here
add that a system which begins in imaginary hypotheses and ends in
them--as that of bridging the chasmal difference between a gorilla and a
Plato--can be dignified into a science only by a still greater stretch of
the imagination--that of bridging the difference between the Darwinian
zero and his ninety degrees of development in a Darwin himself!

Bear in mind, as we proceed, that the function of an argument in
philosophy, as in logic, is to prove that a certain relation exists
between two concepts or objects of thought, when that relation is not
self-evident. In the Darwinian chain we have, as the first link, organic
life springing from inorganic matter, without the slightest relation
existing between the two, except what may be universally predicated of
matter itself, whether animate or inanimate, organic or inorganic; and
there is no other affirmative premise, expressing their agreement as
extremes, that can possibly admit of an affirmative conclusion. The parts
are so separated in thought that no metaphysical or ideal distinction
exists to coordinate them in classification. We are simply forced back, in
our attempt at classification, upon the intuitions of consciousness, where
reason manifestly ceases to enforce its inductions.

And here the human mind intuitively springs an objection which is at once
aimed at the very citadel of Darwinism. On what rests the validity of
these intuitions except it be that "breath of life," which, as we have
before said, was breathed into man when he became a living soul? If we
follow the divine record, instead of these blind systematizers leading the
blind, we shall have no difficulty in establishing the validity of these
intuitions--the highest potential factors this side of Deity to be found
anywhere in the universe. For if our intuitions are not to be relied
upon--if their objects and perceptions are to be discarded as
unreliable--then there can be no agreement or disagreement between any two
ideas presented, objectively or subjectively, to the human mind. No
processes of mental analysis or ratiocination, like those pursued in the
elementary methods of Euclid, can present the basis of an intellectual
judgment, or lay the foundation of the slightest faith or belief in the
world. To deny the primary perception of truth by intuition is as fatal to
"Evolution" as to the sublimer teachings of the Bible Genesis.

But from the very nature of our being, as well as the primary _datum_ of
consciousness itself, we must rest the validity of these intuitions on
something, and that, something more than a finite intelligence; and since
science, with all her knowledge methodically digested and arranged,
furnishes no clue to the mystery, we are left to the higher sources of
inspiration to reach it. And this inspiration, however it may be derived,
necessarily becomes a part of our intuitions, since it addresses itself to
the strongest possible cravings of the human soul, and is accepted as its
inseparable companion and guest.

Shall we build our faith then on the Divine Word,--on the Word that was in
the beginning with God, and, when incarnate, _was_ God,--or on Mr.
Darwin's little whirligig that originally set everything in motion, and
has only to go on _ad infinitum_ to whirl us out a God, as it has already
whirled us out a Darwinian universe without one. For if this ovulistic
whirligig has bridged the chasmal difference between protoplasm and man,
since the transition from inorganic matter to organic life, the process
has only to be indefinitely extended to bridge the chasm between man and
Deity, or between finite and infinite intelligence. This gives us nature
evolving a God, instead of the doctrine of the old Theogonies, of a God
presiding from all eternity over nature; one "who laid the foundations of
the earth that it should not be removed forever; who stretchest out the
heavens like a curtain; who layeth the beams of his chambers in the
waters; who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire."

These evolutionists manifestly get the cart before the horse in their
category of cosmological events. It is not inert matter organizing itself
into life, nor any mode of physical or chemical action, nor any mere
manifestation of motion or of heat, nor any other conceivable correlation
of natural forces. None of these has enabled us to penetrate the
mysterious _inner-chamber_ of life itself. For reasons obviously connected
with our own welfare, He, from whom alone are "the issues of life," seems
to have ordained that we should fathom the depths of both physical and
chemical force, and beneficently wield and direct them to our own uses.
But this vital force; this something that stands apart from and is
essentially different from all other kinds of force, is of a nature that
baffles all our efforts to approach. The power to grasp it, or even to
penetrate in the slightest degree its mysteries, is delegated to none. All
attempts to lay bare this principle of vitality, or level the barriers
that separate it from physical or chemical action, have utterly failed. We
know no more of its essence now than was known a thousand years ago, and
know no less than will be known a thousand years hence. To become masters
of the mystery, we must enter the impenetrable veil within which the
Infinite Intelligence of the universe presides,--who, we are told,
"sendeth forth his spirit, and we are created, who taketh away our breath,
we die and return to our dust." [36]

We are just as much bewildered in respect to this vital principle in our
classifications of the myriads of little creatures careering over the
field of the microscope, as when we turn to the most marked formations of
genera and species in geological distribution. The great trouble with Mr.
Darwin's _vinculum_ is, that its weakest links are precisely where the
strongest should be found, and _vice versa_. With a candor rarely
displayed by a writer who is spinning a theory, he admits this. The
geological record is not what he would have it to be. Whole chapters are
gone where they are most needed, and nature's lithography seems constantly
at fault. Independent species are now and then springing up where
derivatives should be looked for, while derivatives are everywhere
disappearing in non-derivatives. Many of the middle Tertiary _molusca_,
and a large proportion of the later Tertiary period, are specifically
identical with the living species, of to-day. What has "natural selection"
been doing for this family in the last million years or more? Manifestly
nothing, and less than nothing, for some of the species have dropped out
altogether.

These facts, and hundreds of others like them, are constantly obtruding
themselves upon our attention to show, in harmony with the Bible Genesis,
the immutability of species--the absolute fixity of types--rather than
their variability, as claimed. If nature abhors anything more than a
_vacuum_, it is manifestly any marked transition from fixed types, and she
thunders her edicts against it in the non-fertility of all hybrids. The
doctrine of variation lacks the all-essential element of continuity, and
is oftener at war with the theory of the "selection of the fittest," than
it is with the selection of the "unfit." The leap from Lepidosirens to
Amphibians is no greater than the interval between any two species of
animals or plants yet discovered, either fossil or living. The intervals
are as numerous as the species themselves, and everywhere constitute great
and sudden leaps, or such transitional changes as "natural selection"
could not have effected independently of intervening forms--those that
nowhere exist in nature, and never have existed, if we are to credit
geologic and paleontologic records. There is everywhere similarity of
structure, but not identity; and the nearer we approach to identity of
structure the wider the divergence in similarity of characteristics. A
bird may be taught to talk and sing snatches of music. But no monkey has
ever been able to articulate human sounds, much less give them rhythmical
utterance.

Take the case of the wild pigeon, a subject that especially delights Mr.
Darwin. Most of the deviations are confined to the domesticated breeds,
and none of these rank in strength, hardiness, capability of flight, or
symmetry of structure, with the wild or typical bird. There are
well-defined deviations, but no sensible improvements, except to the eye
of the bird-fancier. The deviations are simply entailed weaknesses, or the
very reverse of what should appear from the "selection of the fittest."
The fact undeniably is, that these variations are almost wholly
abnormal--mere exaggerated characteristics, induced in the first instance,
perhaps, by high cultivation and close in-and-in breeding.

Turn these abnormal varieties loose, let them go back to the aboriginal
stock, and these characteristics will rapidly disappear; that is, they
will ultimately lose themselves or melt away in the original type. Mr.
Darwin admits that the tendency will be to reversion, but he insists,
manifestly without any positive proof therefor, that the greater tendency
is to new centres of attraction, and not necessarily the primitive one.
But this is mere assumption--sheer begging the question on his
part,--since all the oscillations are incontestibly about the original or
type centre.

The same may be said of the typical races of men, like the negro and wild
Indian of our prairies. You may lift them out of their primitive
condition--temporarily suspend, if you please so to put it, their
primordial attraction,--but, left again to themselves, they will go back
to the original type; that is, their offspring will again infest the
jungles and roam their native hunting-grounds. The process here is the
very reverse of the Darwinian theory. Reversion, as a rule, follows the
degeneracy of types, instead of there being any favorable homogeneous
result, springing from a new centre of attraction. The Indian makes a
splendid savage, but a very poor white man. Think of Red Jacket taking the
part of Mercutio in the play or enacting the more valiant _role_ of
Falstaff in King Henry the Fourth. An infusion of white blood does not
help the matter, but rather makes it worse. Generally, the meanest Indian
on the continent is your half-breed, and among the negroes there is no
term so expressive of the contempt of that race, as that applied by them
to a mulatto. The present condition of Mexico affords a striking
exemplification of this law of reversion. The inheritable characteristics
or variations, produced from an infusion of Spanish blood, are rapidly
disappearing--the native blood whipping out the European. The potency is
in the inferior blood, simply because it is the predominating one. The
result has been no homogeneous new race, but a reversion, now manifestly
in progress, to the type centre or aboriginal stock. And the curse
pronounced by Ezekiel upon mongrel tribes--"woe unto the mingled peoples"
may have a significance in this connection worth considering; but it
manifestly falls outside the scope of our present inquiry.

In considering the embryological structure of man, and the homologies he
therein presents to the lower animals, Mr. Darwin thus conclusively (in
his judgment) remarks: "We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy
quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in
his habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World."

But Mr. Darwin's pronominal "we," in this connection, admits of
qualification. He can hardly speak for all the scientific world at once.
The philosophical maxim of Sir Isaac Newton--_hypotheses non fingo_--I
build no hypotheses, make no suppositions, but adhere to facts--has a few
followers still left. But what are Mr. Darwin's facts? Has he yet
discovered the caudal man, except as the ever-fertile Mr. Stanley heard of
one in Africa? And where is his monkey that first lost the prehensile
power to climb trees? For bear in mind that it was the loss of this
prehensile power that resulted in the caudal atrophy of our monkey
progenitors, _who became men simply because they were tailless monkeys!_
They had lost their power to climb trees, and accordingly had no longer
any use for tails to let themselves down from the limbs. A "beneficent
necessity" therefore, according to Mr. Emerson, dropped the tail as
something decidedly "unfit." For the simplest tyro in Darwinian philosophy
will see that the loss of the Catarrhine monkey's tail, if it ever
occurred, could not have resulted from the "selection of the fittest." The
deeper Emersonian philosophy of the "rejection of the unfit," affords the
only solution of the difficulty, and then only on the assumption that the
tail is an unfit appendage for the monkey.

With the loss of his tail, in the light of this new genesis, the monkey
necessarily ceased to be arboreal in his habits. He could no longer
subsist on the fruits and nuts of trees, or take refuge therein from his
enemies. He had to go to work and make weapons to defend himself--to
construct tools--make and set traps, live on his wits, and not on his
prehensile power to climb trees. He soon discovered, of course, that the
longest pole knocked the persimmon. This was his first intellectual stride
towards the future Edison. From the simplest sort of Grahamitic
philosopher he passed into the robust, beef-eating Englishman. But this
was not all. As an arboreal gymnast, he was manifestly on his way to more
masterly feats of agility than ever,--those dependent, not on muscular
function, but on the nervous action of the brain and spinal marrow.
Necessity became with him the "mother of invention," and how admirably he
improved under this maternal instructor we are left to infer from the
paramount conclusion of Mr. Darwin, _that the demoralized monkey became
the incipient man_!

But this conclusively accounts for only one of the many anatomical
differences between man and his caudal progenitor. For why should the
loss of his tail have resulted in the changed chemistry of the monkey's
brain? or in the increased involutions of his brain even? The specific
differences between the present and ancestral types are very numerous
and demand separate classification. Their variability runs through every
bone, muscle, tissue, fibre, nerve. Their blood corpuscles are not the
same. The chemistry of their bones essentially differs. The nerves are
differently bundled and differently strung. In intonations of
voice--symmetry of arms, legs, chest--hairlessness of body, and aquatic
and land habits, the frog is a much nearer approach to man than the
monkey, as all caricaturists, delineating aldermanic proportions, will
agree. And Mr. Darwin might have immortalized himself by deriving the
builders of the ancient pile-habitations and other primitive water-rats
and croakers of the Swiss lakes, from this tailless batrachian. For
everybody knows, or thinks he knows, how the frog lost his tail. If he
didn't wag it off, he certainly absorbed its waggishness as a
distinguishing characteristic of the "coming man"--the future Artemas
Wards and Mark Twains of the race. This ancestral origin will also
account for the otherwise unaccountable proclivity of all human
juveniles to play at the game of leap-frog! Besides, it would have
relieved Mr. Darwin from one of the greatest perplexities he has had to
encounter. As he derives man from a hairy quadruped, the absence of hair
on the human body, is a phenomenal fact that gives him great trouble. He
agrees that it does not result from "natural selection," as he says "the
loss of hair is an inconvenience and probably an injury to man." Nor
does he suppose it to result from what he calls "correlated
development." He is more puzzled over this problem of divestiture than
any other, and finds the solution of it only in "sexual selection." That
is, he assumes that among our semi-human progenitors, far back in the
Tertiary or some other period, some female monkeys were less hirsute
than others, and that they naturally preferred males possessing similar
characteristics. These divergencies were thus commenced, and, by
continuous "sexual selection," the infirmity (for such he regards the
loss of hair) was propagated until the race was almost entirely denuded
or bereft of this covering. In the same way he accounts for nearly all
the differentiations of the race, among the various tribes now or
formerly inhabiting the earth. All have sprung from the same semi-human
progenitors--_apes that lost their capacity to subsist as apes, and
hence found it necessary to subsist as men_!

The law of degeneracy has, therefore, had quite as much to do with human
origins as that of progressive development. In fact, it is the paramount
law from a Darwinian stand-point. For the loss of hair and of the
prehensile power to climb trees are both conceded by Mr. Darwin to be
serious defects and drawbacks in the ape family.

But the law of sexual selection, as treated by the evolutionists, is not
scientifically accurate, nor is it true in fact. The loving tendency of
nature is to opposites, not likes. The positive and negative poles are
those that play into each other with most marvellous effect. Each repels
its like and rushes to the embrace of its opposite. Extremes lovingly meet
everywhere. A brunette selects a blonde and a blonde a brunette, as a
general rule in matrimony. A tall man or woman, with rare exceptions,
chooses a short companion for life. Dark eyes delight in those that are
light, and _vice-versa_. Everywhere nature seeks diversity, not
similitude. The gayest and brightest feathered songster craves
companionship in modest and unobtrusive colors. Diversity is the law of
life, as equality, or versimilitude, is that of death. Neither natural
selection, nor sexual selection, runs counter to this law. If Mr. Darwin's
theory were true, that likes selected likes, then the two marked extremes
which should have characterized the race, soon after its emergence from
the semi-human state, should have been giants and pigmies, Gargantuas and
Lilliputs. Otherwise "sexual selection," as treated by its author, plays
no intelligible part in the economy of nature, except to counterbalance
variability, not to propagate it.

But the Darwinian assumption that the primeval man, or his immediate
ape-like progenitor, came through "natural selection," that is, through
the "survival of the fittest," is subject to one or two other objections
which we shall briefly notice. And the first objection is not altogether
a technical one. The term "fittest," as applied to a monkey, has at once
a definite and comprehensive significance to us. It implies the presence
of whatever is most perfect of its kind in the monkey _as_ a monkey, and
not in the monkey _as_ something else than a monkey. They are all
admirably adapted for climbing trees; and it is this adaptation that
secures them safety, or complete immunity, in shelter from their
enemies. To say that nature selects the fittest for them--for any
species of monkey--by converting their forefeet into rudimentary hands,
with a loss of prehension and no corresponding advantages in locomotion,
is to use language without any appreciable significance to us. We can
only say that what is fittest for the monkey is ill-fitted for man, and
the reverse. This is all we can definitely predicate of them, from what
we know of their anatomical structure, and the diversified uses to which
it may be put.

The fact is, as the Bible genesis shows, that every living thing is
perfect of its kind, and whatever is perfect admits of no Darwinian
variations or improvements for the better. And the simple statement of
this undeniable proposition is, we submit, a complete refutation of
Darwinism. When the waters and the earth were commanded to bring forth
abundantly of every living creature and every living thing, "it was so,
and God saw that it was good," that is, everything perfect of its kind,
and in its kind. With this single limitation as to kind, a rattlesnake is
no less perfect than a Plato or a John Howard.

When we consider man's upright position; the firmness and steadiness with
which he plants his foot upon the earth; when we examine the mechanism of
his hand, and the wonderful and almost unlimited range it possesses for
diversified use; when we see how ill-fitted he is for climbing trees, yet
how express and admirable for climbing among the stars, even to the
outermost milky-way, the idea that what is fittest for him is fit for the
chattering monkey, is too absurd to give us pause. And yet how does Mr.
Darwin know that the monkey has been climbing up, all these hundred
thousand or million years, into man, as one of the congenital freaks of
nature, and not man shambling down into the monkey as a reverse
congenital freak. Children have sometimes been born with a singular
resemblance to the ape family, but no ape has ever, to Mr. Darwin's
knowledge, produced issue more manlike than itself. The divergencies run
the wrong way to meet the conditions of the development theory. We have
had nearly five thousand years in which to mark these transitional
changes, and yet the monkey of to-day is identical with that painted on
the walls of ancient Meroe. In all this time he has made no advance in
the genetic relation; and if we turn back the lithographic pages of
nature for a hundred times five thousand years, we shall find no
essential departure from aboriginal types.

But the Darwinian hypothesis admits of a more conclusive answer than we
have yet given. Past time, it will be conceded, is theoretically if not
actually infinite; and in all past time, nature has been tugging away at
Mr. Darwin's problem of the "survival of the fittest." It is no two
hundred and fifty thousand years, nor two hundred and fifty millions, but
an infinite duration of past time that covers the period in which she has
been wrestling with this problem. How successfully has she solved it? In
the Darwinian sense of the term "fittest," she has not so much as stated
her first equation or extracted the root of her first power. She is
manifestly as much puzzled over the problem as Mr. Darwin himself. He
fails to see that the "survival of the fittest," necessarily implies, or
carries with it, the correlative proposition,--the "non-survival of the
unfit." And when such a law has been operative for an infinite duration of
past time, the "unfit," however infinitely distributed at first, should
have disappeared altogether, many thousands, if not millions, of years
ago. If the evolutionists are dealing with vast problems, and assigning to
nature, unlimited factors to express the totality of her unerring
operations, they must be careful to limit the time in which any one of her
given labors is to be accomplished. If she makes any progress at all, an
infinite duration of past time should enable her to complete her work just
as effectually as an infinite duration of time to come.

But by what law of "natural selection," appertaining to a single pair of
old world monkeys, have their offspring advanced to this regal state of
manhood, while all other pairs have remained stationary, or precisely
where they were two hundred and fifty thousand years ago or more? Why
this exceptional divergence in the case of a single pair of monkeys? Why
this anomalous, aberrant, and thoroughly eccentric movement on the part
of nature? We had supposed that her operations were uniform--conformable
to fixed laws of movement. The doctrine of the "survival of the fittest"
implies this. Why then, should nature, in her unerring operations, have
selected the fittest in respect to a single pair of Catarrhine monkeys,
and at the same time rejected the fittest in the case of a million other
pairs? If she had selected only the fittest in respect to this old world
stock of monkeys, the entire Catarrhine family should have disappeared
in the next higher or fitter group--a group nowhere to be found in
geological distribution. The break between man and this Catarrhine
monkey covers quite a series of links in the genetic vinculum;[37] and
yet between the two we find no high form of a low type fitting into a
low form of a high type, as we manifestly should, to account for all the
diversified changes that must have taken place in the interim. And what
is true of the types is measurably true of the classes within the types,
as well as of the orders within the classes. Wide deviations in forms,
as in characteristics, would seem to be the invariable rule; the
blending of type into type, except perhaps in remote relationships, is
nowhere visible.

But if "variation" and "natural selection" have played important parts in
the economy of nature, why may not "specific creation" have played _its_
part also? Positive science can hardly flatter itself with the belief that
it is rolling back the mystery of the universe to a point beyond which
"specific creation" might not have commenced, or the divine fiat been put
forth. To believe in the possibility of a rational synthesis, limited to
sensible experience, or phenomenal facts within our reach, that shall
climb from law to law, or from concrete fact to abstract conception, until
it shall reach the _Ultima Thule_ of all law, is to carry the faith of the
scientist beyond the most transcendental belief of the theologian, and
make him a greater dupe to his illusions than was ever cloistered in a
monastery or affected austerity therein as a balm to the flesh. We may
substitute new dogmatisms for old ones, but we can never postulate a
principle that shall make the general laws of nature any less mysterious
than the partial or exceptional, or that shall in the long run, render
"natural selection" any more comprehensible, or acceptable to the rational
intuition, than "specific creation." For while one class of scientists is
climbing the ladder of synthesis, by assigning a reason for a higher law
that may be predicated of a lower, we shall find the broader and more
analytical mind accepting the higher mystery for the lower, and, by
divesting its faith of all metaphysical incumbrance, landing in the belief
of an all-encompassing law, which shall comprehend the entire assemblage
of known laws and facts in the universe. And the natural drift of the
human mind is ever towards this abstract conception--this one
all-encompassing law of the universe. It steadily speculates in this
direction, and some of the highest triumphs of our age, in physical as
well as metaphysical science, are measurably due to this tendency. The
scientific mind is not confined wholly to experimental research. It is
stimulated to higher contemplations, and is constantly disposed to make
larger and more comprehensive groupings of analogous facts. It is fast
coming to regard light, heat, electricity, magnetism, gravitation,
chemical affinity, molecular force, and even Mr. Darwin's little
whirligig, as only so many manifestations or expressions of one and the
same force in the universe--that ultimate, all-encompassing, divine force
(not to speak unscientifically) that upholds the order of the heavens,
"binds the sweet influences of the Pleiades, brings forth Mazzaroth in his
season, and guides Arcturus with his suns."

It is the boast of the Darwinian systematizers that their development
theory not only harmonizes with, but admirably supplements and out-rounds
the grander speculation of Laplace, termed the "Nebular Hypothesis," which
regards the universe as having originally consisted of uniformly diffused
matter, filling all space, which subsequently became aggregated by
gravitation, much after the manner of Mr. Darwin's little whirligig, into
an infinite number of sun-systems, occupying inconceivably vast areas in
space. Of the correctness of this hypothesis it is unnecessary to speak.
It is to the Darwinian speculation what the infinite is to the
infinitessimal, and we only refer to it to bring out the vastness of the
conception as compared to the latter theory, and to predicate thereon the
more conclusive induction that an Infinite Intelligence directs and
superintends all.

In an area in the Milky-way not exceeding one-tenth of the moon's disc,
Mr. Herschel computes the number of stars at not less than twenty
thousand, with clusters of nebulae lying still beyond. As we know that no
bodies shining by reflected light could be visible at such enormous
distances, we are left to conclude that each of these twinkling points is
a sun, dispensing light and heat to probably as many planets as hold their
courses about the central orb in our own system. From the superior
magnitude of many of the stars, as compared with the sun, we may
reasonably infer that many of these vast sun-systems occupy a much larger
field in space than our own. This would give an area in space of not less
than six thousand millions of miles as the field occupied by each of these
sun-systems. And as the distance between each of these systems and its
nearest neighbor is probably not less than that of our sun from the
nearest star, we have the enormous and inconceivable distance of not less
than nineteen billions of miles separating each one of these twenty
thousand stars or sun-systems, occupying a space in the heavens apparently
no bigger than a man's hand. And yet Infinity, as we apprehend the term,
lies beyond this vast cluster of constellated worlds! Where is Mr.
Darwin's little whirligig in the comparison, or Mr. Emerson's vegetal
stomach, or Mr. Herbert Spencer's "potential factors," to express the
sum-total of all this totality,--this gigantic assemblage of stars
clustered about a single point in the Milky-way? The human mind absolutely
reels--staggers bewildered and amazed--under the load of conceptions
imposed by these few twinkling stars, and is ready to exclaim,--

  "Oh, star-eyed Science, hast thou wandered there,
  To waft us back a message of despair?"

But when we reflect that all this vast aggregation of sun systems, visible
in the telescopic field, is not stationary, but is revolving with
inconceivable rapidity about some unknown and infinitely remote centre of
the universe, how immeasurably vast does the conception become, and how
unutterably puerile and fatuous the thought of _Mr. Darwin's little
whirligig as the author of it all!_ No wonder the inspired Psalmist
exclaims; "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth
his handiwork." But listen to the Darwinian exclamation: "The heavens
declare the glory of my little whirligig, and the firmament showeth the
immensity of my little ovules." With the veil of faith and inspiration
lifted, the words of the Psalmist swell into the highest cherubic anthem,
while those of Mr. Darwin hardly rise above the squeak of a mole burrowing
beneath the glebe!

And what presumptuous mortal shall say that this infinitely remote centre
of the universe, around which revolves this infinite number of
sun-systems, is not the seat and throne of the Infinite One himself--the
Sovereign Intelligence and Power of the universe, directing and upholding
all? We know that some of the stars are travelling about this central
point of the heavens at a pace exceeding 194,000 miles an hour, or with
nearly three times the rapidity of our earth in its orbit. That there must
be infinite power, not physical, at this unknown centre of the universe,
to hold these myriads of sun-systems in their courses, is a logical
induction as irrefragable as that the sun holds his planets in their
orbits. And if infinite power is predicable upon this central point, why
not infinite intelligence also? Intelligence, we know, controls and
utilizes all power in this world; why not all power in the universe? It
can utilize every drop of water that thunders down Niagara to-day, as it
has already seized upon the lightnings of heaven to make them our
post-boy. This is what finite intelligence--that insignificant factor that
science would eliminate from the universe--can do; then what may not
Infinite Intelligence accomplish?

But the Darwinian systematizers object that science must limit itself to a
coordination of the known relations of things in the universe, or deal
only with phenomenal facts, not dogmatisms; forgetting that they dogmatize
quite as extensively, in constructing their chain of generation, as the
theologians do in adhering to the Bible genesis. No theologian objects to
a rational synthesis of phenomena, limited to sensible experience; but, in
climbing from law to law, he reasonably enough insists, that, when
concrete facts rise into abstract conceptions, the highest round in the
ladder shall not be knocked out for the accommodation of Robert G.
Ingersoll or any other boasted descendant of a gorilla. And he also
insists that when _a priori_ speculation is lost in abstract conceptions,
the highest must necessarily press alone upon the intuitions of
consciousness, where all generalizations cease, and all synthesis is
undeniably at an end. Here, in this mysterious chamber of the soul, we
stand silent and alone, with only dim and shadowy phantoms about us, as if
in the august presence of Deity itself.

But how does scientific speculation propose to stifle these intuitions of
consciousness--reduce them to the least of all potential factors in the
universe? We will take the very latest of these speculations. In
supplementing both the Darwinian theory and the grander speculation of
Laplace, the scientists, so called, tell us that the process of
aggregation, or the turning out of new worlds in the universe, is still
going on; but that the time is coming when all the primeval potency or
energy, originally inhering in diffused matter, will have exhausted itself
in actual energy, and that then all light, life and motion in the
universe, will cease and be at an end. This dissipation of potential
energy is to result, they say, in a played-out universe, as it has already
resulted, they claim, in a played-out moon, if not countless other
heavenly bodies.[38] All the exterior planets, or a majority of them at
least, are to be placed in this category of dismantled worlds, or those in
which all life has hopelessly ceased and become extinct. All has utterly
disappeared, or, to paraphrase one of Pope's couplets,

  "Beast, bird, fish, insect--what no eye can scan,
  Nor glass can reach--from zoophyte to man."

All these dismantled planets, and satellites to planets, are only so many
immense cinders--mere refuse slag--of no conceivable interest to science,
except to predicate the ultimate conclusion--"a played-out universe,
resulting from a played-out potency within the universe." The magnificent
clockwork of the heavens will then have run down, with no Darwinian
whirligig to wind it up again, and the terrible reality of Byron's dream,
which it would seem was not all a dream, be realized in the bright sun
extinguished, the stars darkling the eternal space, rayless and pathless,
and the icy earth swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.

Oh, if this be star-eyed science, give us anything in place of it!
Blear-eyed bigotry in his cloistered den, mumbling unintelligible prayers,
and believing that man is to be saved, not by what he does, but by a
_credo_ only, is far preferable to it. But oh, how unspeakably preferable
the simple faith of the star-led Magi, who

  "Deeming the light that in the east was seen
       An earnest and a prophecy of rest
     To weary wanderers, such as they had been,"

came on that bleak December night, 1880 years ago, to pay their homage to
the Christ-child--the long expected Messiah--the Redeemer of the world!



Footnotes



[1]: It may be proper, however, to state that the tenth and concluding
     chapter was originally written as a lecture, and delivered about a
     year ago in New Haven, Boston, and at other points. A request for its
     publication has induced the author to place it in this volume, with
     the portion referring to the Bible genesis omitted. It will be found
     germane to the general subject.

[2]: "Without this latent presence of the 'I am,' all modes of existence
     in the external world flit before us as colored shadows, with no
     greater depth, root, or fixure, than the image of a rock hath in the
     gliding stream, or the rainbow on the fast-sailing rain
     storm."--_Coleridge's_ "_Comments on Essays_."

[3]: And science that is not purely inductive--i.e. primarily based on
     the inviolability of our intuitions--is no science at all, but the
     sheerest possible speculation.

[4]: This presence of an active living principle in nature, one originally
     assigned as the "_divina particula auræ_" of every living thing, is
     frequently referred to in the higher inspirational moods of our
     poets. Wordsworth exquisitely refers to it in the following lines of
     his "Excursion:"--

       "To every form of being is assigned
       An _active_ principle: howe'er removed
       From sense and observation, it subsists
       In all things, in all nature, in the stars
       Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds;
       In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
       That paves the brooks."

[5]: The existence of vital units is conceded by some of the staunchest
     materialists, such as Herbert Spencer, Professor Bastian and others.
     Professor Bastian says: "The countless myriads of living units which
     have been evolved in different ages of the world's history, must, in
     each period, have given rise to innumerable multitudes of what have
     been called 'trees of life.'" He insists, however, that they have
     been "evolved" from something, or by some unknown process. But we
     shall show further on that a "unit" can neither be _evolved_ nor
     _involved_, and that this is as true of vital units as of the
     mathematical or chemical unit. Neither evolution nor involution will
     ever effect the value of a unit.

[6]: According to Aristotle, the great world-_ordainer_ is the constant
     world-_sustainer_.

[7]: The definition which Professor Robinson, in his Lexicon of the New
     Testament, gives of the word σπέρμα, as connected with the "divine
     life," entirely harmonizes with this view of the subject. He says: Trop.
     I John 3, 9, πἃς ό γεγενημένος ἐκ του ϑεου σπέρμα ἀυτον (ϑεὄν) εν ᾶντῶ
     πενεὶ _i.e._ the germ or principle of divine life through which he
     is begotten of god, το πνεὒμα.

[8]: Professor Schmidt, of the University of Strasburg, who insists that
     species are only relatively stable, admits that they remain
     persistent as long as they exist under the same external conditions.
     Time is, therefore, not a factor in the mutation of species. Nor are
     environing conditions factors, except as a failure of conditions
     results in the disappearance of species, as the presence of
     conditions results in their appearance.

[9]: Says M. Ch. Bonnet, in his "La Palingéuésie Philosophique;" "Il est
     de la plus parfaite évidence que la matiere est susceptible d'une
     infinité de mouvemens divers, et de modifications diverses," and this
     is the universal claim of the materialists.

[10]: Professor Burdach (as trad, par Jourdan), in speaking of the
      productive power of nature, says, "Limitée quant á l' étendue de ses
      manifestations, elle continue toujottrs d' agir pour la conservation
      de ce qui a été créé, et, quoiqu' elle ne maintenue les formes
      organiques supérieures que par la seule propagation, il ne répugne
      point au bon sens de penser qu' aujourd' hui encore elle a la
      puissance de produire les formes inférieures avec des eléments
      hétérogénes, comme elle a créé originairement tout ce qui posséde l'
      organisation." This shows that its author believed in the
      possibility of the "superior organic forms," like the mastodon,
      megatherium, etc. from the "heterogenetic elements"--those
      undergoing every conceivable change--as well as the "inferior
      forms." At all events, it is a legitimate induction from
      materialistic premises.

[11]: This point is conclusively made by Professor Burdach, who says (we
      quote from Jourdan); "La tendance interieure á la configuration
      existe avant sa manifestation." And by his _tendance interieure_ he
      must mean some vital or other law, equivalent to an _entia_ in
      matter, which results _in_, not _from_ manifestation.

[12]: Goethe borrowed his idea of an archetypal world from Plato and the
      Eleatic school. They held that the world was originated, and not
      eternal; that it was framed by the Creator after a perfect
      archetype, one eternally existing in the divine mind, if not an
      actual soul-world of which our own is but the reflex.

[13]: In a note to Prof. Bastian's "Beginnings of Life" (vol II. p. 537)
      an important fact is mentioned as obtained from the writings of Dr.
      Schneider, to wit, that _Nematoids_ (microscopical forms) may be
      "obtained at will," almost as readily as mushrooms, by a process
      entirely independent of spores. For instance, small pieces of beef
      were carefully examined to see if they contained any of the ova of
      Nematoids, and, finding none, they were buried in a small quantity
      of earth (also carefully examined for the presence of Nematoids or
      their ova) in a gallipot. "After three weeks," says Prof. B. "this
      earth was found to be absolutely swarming with two kinds of
      Nematoids--quite different from any forms which I had previously,
      seen, although I had been seeking them for more than two years
      previously in all sorts of situations." The reason why he had not
      found them previously, was because the "necessary conditions" for
      their appearance had not been obtained by him, or he had not sought
      for them in their proper environment. They were not produced "at
      will," but were the natural outgrowth of conditions, as much so as
      the spores of fungi, which make their appearance whenever and
      wherever the necessary environing conditions exist. According to Dr.
      Gros, it takes about three weeks for these Nematoid forms to develop
      into a reproductive state.

[14]: The necessity of turning plants and animals into "tramps" is just as
      great in the case of "Evolution" as in that of "specific creation in
      pairs." In both cases, we must insist upon geneological
      consanguinity. For the chances of any two highly specialized forms,
      originally starting on different lines of divergence, and ultimately
      reaching individual identity, both in form and characteristics, is
      an impossible problem in the determination of chances. Consequently,
      Mr. Darwin finds the necessity of accounting for the presence of
      northern forms in the southern hemisphere, and the reverse, just as
      great as in the Linnæan theory, which was fully accepted by Cuvier.

[15]: Burdach, in his "_Traité Physiologie" (Trad. par Jourdan_. 1837)
      says: "Effectivement nous rencontrons des traces de vie dans toute
      existence quelconque." This is as broad a panspermic statement as
      can be made, and is only true of inorganic matter so far as
      vegetable life is concerned, including such infusorial, mycologic,
      and cryptogamic forms as may lie so near to the "force vegetative"
      of Needham as to be indistinguishable from it.

[16]: In the case of volcanic islands, the upheavals were undoubtedly
      accompanied by deposits of mud, sand (ocean detritus), marine
      vegetation, and more or less animal matter, and these organic
      substances were washed down by the rains into the broken valleys and
      plains below, when land vegetation almost immediately made its
      appearance; not because seeds may have drifted thither by any of the
      different agencies that have been mentioned, but because organic
      matter can no more help bringing forth life in some form, when
      conditions favor, than salt water, when exposed to evaporation, can
      help crystallizing into its symmetrically-arranged salts. And the
      same would be true of all the coral islands, bringing up the organic
      matter of the sea to the influence of the light, the rains, and the
      dews. The islands thus formed in the Pacific Ocean begin to exhibit
      vegetable life almost as soon as they make their appearance above
      the reefs, and a line of sea-beach is formed about them.

[17]: These, while presenting the most varied and diverse forms of
      infusorial life, are nevertheless the most constant and abundant
      type. They abound more or less in all organic infusions. Ehrenberg,
      however, holds that they are no more animal than vegetal forms. They
      vary in length from 1/15000 to 1/2000 of an inch, and are
      consequently too minute to be satisfactorily classified in respect
      to all their diversified characteristics.

[18]: The extent of the southern ice-cap may at least be approximately
      reached from explorations already made. Capt. Weddell, in 1823,
      extended his explorations southward to within about 15° of the
      south pole, where he found an open sea. Capt. Ross, in 1842,
      approached to within about 13° of the same pole, without serious
      obstruction. It is true that, in the following year, he encountered
      ice barriers near the line of the antarctic circle, but they were
      floating barriers coming down from Weddell's open sea. Capt.
      Wilkes, in 1840, explored a considerable portion of the Antarctic
      Continent, lying almost entirely within the antarctic circle. Other
      explorations have been made, showing that the southern ice-cap does
      not probably extend, continuously at least, much farther north than
      78° or 80°, or to within some ten or twelve degrees of the south
      pole, independently of the packs of drifting ice in the otherwise
      open seas.

[19]: The truth or falsity of "Evolution" depends entirely on the
      successful solution of this problem, for the chances are
      quintillions to ones that no two identical forms could have
      originated from different centres, or from the same centre on
      divergent lines, and ever reached identically the same results. And
      how any two forms should happen to be sexually paired, on the same
      or different lines of divergence, is one of those inexplicable
      mysteries which must puzzle Herbert Spencer in all his labyrinthian
      searches into "Force-correlation," "Differentiation," "the Dynamic
      Force of Molecules," etc., etc. However successful he may be in
      other directions, he will inevitably fail in this. We must fall back
      on the grand Old Bible genesis for the solution of this difficulty,
      where every living thing was commanded to produce seed, or multiply
      and replenish the waters and the earth with offspring.

[20]: These transcendental or ideal forms may be said to correspond to the
      "spiritual essences" of Plato. They are the eternal, immutable
      principles which are discernible to the eye of the soul, as the
      sensible objects they represent are discernible to the eye of the
      body. Modern metaphysics may deem them mere abstractions, but a
      higher realistic philosophy will treat them as substantive forms, of
      which the objective reality is but the shadow.

[21]: Herbert Spencer may be quoted as authority on this point. He says:
      "There is invariably, and necessarily, a conformity between the
      vital functions of any organism, and the _conditions_ in which it is
      placed ... We find that every animal is limited to a certain range
      of climate; every plant to certain zones of latitude and elevation."
      And the same law holds good as to the marine fauna and flora, each
      specific form being confined to its own sea-depth, or distance north
      or south from the thermal equator.

[22]: Speaking of the ultimate principles or elements of matter, Plato is
      quoted by Humboldt as exclaiming with modest diffidence, "God alone,
      and those whom he loves among men, know what they are." It is only
      those who seek to eliminate God from the universe that speak with
      confident flippancy on the subject of molecular machinery and
      force-correlations.

[23]: As long as the evolutionists cannot agree among themselves as to
      what constitutes the process of evolution, it can hardly be expected
      that the public will accept their speculations as conclusive
      inductions. Professor Bastian, who strongly commits himself to the
      doctrine, thinks the word "evolution" arbitrary and open to many
      objections, while Mr. Herbert Spencer says;--"The antithetical word
      Involution would much more truly express the nature of the process."

[24]: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of
      God dwelleth in you?" 1 Cor. 3. xvi.

[25]: Dr. Drysdale, in his work on the "Protoplasmic Theory of Life,"
      says: "Matter cannot change its state of motion or rest without the
      influence of some force from without. True spontaneity of movement
      is, therefore, just as impossible to it as to what we call dead
      matter.... So we are compelled to admit the existence of an exciting
      cause in the form of some force from without to give the initial
      impulse in all vital actions." In all life-manifestations, this
      "force from without," must be a pre-existing vital principle
      operating to effect the otherwise impossible change in matter.

[26]: A favorite set-phrase of Professor Bastian in speaking of
      morphological cells or "units," as he sometimes calls them.

[27]: That great and justly celebrated naturalist, Buffon, in speaking of
      the universal origination of the lower forms of animal life by a
      process termed, in his time, "spontaneous generation," says: "There
      are, perhaps, as many living things, both animal and vegetable,
      which are produced by the fortuitous aggregations of 'molécules
      organiques,' as there are others which reproduce themselves by a
      constant succession of generations." It is said that Buffon was for
      some time associated with the Abbé Needham in his experiments in
      vital directions, and was much influenced by them. So that it is by
      no means certain that he did not accept the Abbé's "force
      végétative" in place of his more materialistic views respecting
      "molécules organiques." At all events, his statement that as many
      living things appear in nature independently of reproducing causes
      as by successive generation, is no doubt true.

[28]: M. Tréviranus, who followed Spallanzani and M. Bonnet in these flask
      experimentations, first noticed the important fact that the
      animalculæ appearing in different organic infusions, depended on
      the nature and quality of the infusions themselves, and that the
      changed conditions of the same infusion produced new and independent
      forms of life.

[29]: Leibnitz, as quoted by M. Bonnet, says:--"Que l'Entendement Divin
      étoit la religion éternelle des Essences; parce que tout ce qui
      existe existoit comme de toute éternité comme possible ou en idée
      dans l'entendement de Dieu. J'exprimerai cette vérité sublime en
      d'autres termes: le plan entier d'univers existoit de toute Eternité
      dans l'entendement du Suprême Architecte. Tou tes les parties de
      l'univers et jusqu' an moindre atome étoient deffinés dans ce plan.
      Tous les changemens qui devoient survenir aux différentes pieces de
      ce Tout immense y avoient aussi leurs représentations. Chaque etre y
      étoit figuré par ses characteres propres: et l'acte par lequel la
      Souveraine Puissance a réalisé ce plan, est ce que nous nommons la
      Création."

[30]: Here is a fact given us by Dr. F. Hall, of Wallingford, Conn.: In a
      peat meadow in that town, owned by him, which was at no time subject
      to overflow, a large quantity of peat had been removed at different
      intervals of time, when the excavations naturally filled with water.
      In these excavations there appeared not only the _Cyprinidae_ in
      considerable numbers, but fresh water clams which grew to be as
      large as those in the most favored streams. They made their
      appearance the very first season after the peat was removed, and
      have flourished there ever since. In no other portions of the meadow
      were there any fish or clams ever noticed before, nor was there any
      other source of water-supply than the rain-falls in that locality.

[31]: Professor Beale, in one of his very latest works says: "Of the
      chemical and physical forms of energy something is known, but of
      the relationship of the so called _vital_ energy, nothing has
      been proved. We only know that the influence it exerts is
      altogether different from that which has been traced to physical
      and chemical energy."

[32]: It is admitted, even in the case of _Bacteria_, whose movements are
      the most uniform, that they are sometimes so inert and languid as to
      show no movements at all; while, at other times, they exhibit mere
      Brownian movements or those no more nearly allied to "life" than the
      minute particles of carbon escaping from the flame of a kerosene
      lamp. And among the most distinguished microscopists, it is a
      question whether these infusorial forms, those exhibiting the most
      active oscillations, are really vegetal or animal in origin; in
      other words, whether they are _Fungus-spores_ or _Torula_-cells, or
      whether they may not be some intermediate forms.

[33]: The difficulty of assigning any definitional value to a "primordial
      germ" is due to the vagueness of idea attached to it in the popular
      mind, as well as to the diversified theories and speculations of the
      scientists concerning the origin of life. We can only define it as a
      "vital unit," as the chemist defines his smallest conceivable
      quantity--his "primary least"--of an element, as a "chemical unit."

[34]: Let two comrades be shot at the same instant in battle, the one
      through the heart, and the other through the arm, shattering it
      badly. What is there to prevent the surgeon from taking a piece of
      bone out of the arm of the man shot through the heart and instantly
      killed, and using it to make good the arm of the man still living?
      Apparently nothing but that the dead man's bone will not knit. He
      may not have been dead five minutes, and Professor Beale's bioplasts
      might still be at work spinning matter and weaving tissue for the
      integrity of the displaced bone. Why will it not knit? Simply
      because the vital principle that differentiates matter is gone--can
      no longer act. If the integrity of the bone depended on the action
      of the molecules, and not on the vital principle, there is no reason
      why this experiment should not be a success. For the molecules are
      all there, and their action will not be disturbed for hours after
      the death of the man shot through the heart.

[35]: It is safe to adhere to the Leibnitzian axiom, _Natura non agit
      saltatim_.

[36]: One of the most cultured classes of Christian believers in our day,
      holds that "all life is from the Lord;" that "He is the fountain,
      and we only the streams thence." And this, they claim, is true of
      all life. To "take away our breath," therefore, is to cut off this
      stream perpetually flowing from its invisible source--the fountain
      of all Life. When scientific methods substitute for a first cause a
      mere resultant effect, all primary principles disappear in their
      intermediates.

[37]: Professor Marsh, of Yale College, has predicted that the "missing
      link" will be found in Borneo--evidently not crediting Mr. Stanley's
      statement about its presence in the interior of Africa. But one
      "missing link" is hardly enough; there ought to be an extensive
      family of them to complete Mr. Darwin's plexus. From the lowest
      genetic form to the anthropoid ape is a distance which does not half
      cover the length of this plexus--the immense gap between the monkey
      and the man being decidedly the greater length of chain. And yet the
      first half of the chain is traversed by innumerable forms--millions
      of links, so to speak. How, then, is the greater length of the
      plexus to be covered by a single "missing link?" A long line of
      caudal ancestry must be dug up, therefore, in Borneo, and shipped to
      the Peabody Museum, before this tremendous stretch in the chain of
      animated nature is satisfactorily accounted for. Borneo must be
      exceedingly rich in osteologic remains, even to bridge the chasm
      between its own ourang-outangs and the Dyaks, or aboriginal
      inhabitants, of that island.

[38]: This daring hypothesis of the materialists is so utterly repugnant
      to all our ideas of a perfected Cosmos, that we have no patience
      with those advancing it. It is, at best, speculation run mad, and is
      based on no other assumption than that of the inherent
      imperfectibility of the universe as it came from the hand of God, or
      from the dynamic play of molecules extending throughout vast
      geognostic epochs.

      From a materialistic stand-point this assumption of imperfectibility
      inevitably runs into the _reductio ad absurdum_. For if, in the play
      of the material forces of the universe, an infinite duration of past
      time has effected nothing but mutually disturbing and re-adjusting
      movements and relations among cosmical bodies, then an infinite
      duration of time to come can effect nothing but similarly mutual
      adjustments and re-adjustments in respect to such bodies. With an
      infinity of time, space, matter and motion, everywhere presenting a
      unity of phenomena in the universe, "there can never be anything,"
      according to the great Stagirite, "unconnected or out of place, as
      in a bad tragedy." Conservation must, therefore, be the rule, and
      desinence the impossible exception.

      But these adherents of inherent imperfectibility instance the fact
      of vanished and variable stars, as well as those that have suddenly
      appeared, and, after brief periods of intense brilliancy, as
      suddenly disappeared, to show that there are mighty disturbances in
      the sidereal heavens which entirely negative the idea of
      "conservation" as a geognostic law. But the phenomena of variable
      stars, with all their apparent irregularity of motion and
      fluctuations in luminosity, are now being traced to definite and
      well-determined laws of motion, if not of light, while the theory of
      extinguished and disappearing stars belongs exclusive to the age of
      Tycho Brahe. Where there is one self-luminious body (or sun) in the
      interstellary spaces, there are probably not less than forty
      non-luminous or dark cosmical bodies revolving about their
      respective centres of light and heat, as the attending planets
      revolve about the common centre of gravity in our own system. And
      this is especially true of that vast and fathomless star-stratum,
      called the Milky-way, in which most of these peculiar phenomena
      occur, with the exception of the variable stars only.

      That stars should vary in their intensity of light by the probable
      transits of these dark cosmical bodies across their discs, is no
      matter of wonder or astonishment: on the contrary, it is surprising
      that these sidereal phenomena do not occur with much greater
      frequency. This would inevitably be the case if the planes of
      revolution, in the case of these non-luminous bodies about their
      central orbs, were coincident with the lines of vision from our own
      planet--a circumstance by no means improbable from the vastness of
      the sidereal heavens and the innumerable hosts of stars marching
      therein. Besides, these periodical variations may be accounted for
      in part--especially in the case of double stars--from their apparent
      rather than real change of place in the heavens. For if our
      sun-system is travelling towards a point in the constellation
      Hercules at the rate of 194 thousand miles an hour (the rapidity of
      Arcturus' flight), it is impossible to determine, in the present
      state of astronomical knowledge, whether the apparent change of
      place in any star is real or merely optical. But, in the case of
      double stars, each is travelling (independently of its other
      motions) about the common centre of gravity obtaining in its own
      system, and these relative movements may account for the greater or
      less intensity of light as the two stars, viewed as one, present a
      greater or less area of luminosity in their united surfaces.

      The assumed revolution of one of these stars about the other--thus
      destroying all the known analogies of the universe, as exemplified
      in our own system--may be accounted for in the same way. With
      stupendous planetary systems revolving about each of these
      apparently double stars, they must respectively have a revolution,
      real as well as apparent, about their own centres of gravity--not
      one and the same centre, but different and far distant centres.
      Lying in nearly the same line of vision, with planes of movement at
      right angles with it, they would necessarily present the appearance
      of one star revolving about the other--an _apparent_ motion only.

      And the writer here ventures an explanation of the phenomena of
      _temporary_ stars, or those making their appearance in the heavens,
      flaming up into stars of the first, second and third magnitudes, and
      then disappearing altogether. The most remarkable of these stars, or
      _apparent_ stars, was that of Tycho Brahe in 1572, presenting its
      maximum brilliancy at the very first, but gradually diminishing in
      size until the end of seventeen months, when it disappeared, without
      change of place, from the heavens. This temporary star was visible
      in Cassiopeia, on the verge of the Milky-way, within whose swarm of
      stellar worlds most of these apparent stars have made their
      appearance. Tycho Brahe, in seeking to account for this stellar
      phenomenon, advanced the theory that stars might be "formed and
      molded out of cosmical vapor," or "vapory celestial matter," as the
      elder Herschel put it, "which becomes luminous as it condenses
      (conglomerates) into fixed stars." But any such rapid condensation
      of "vapory matter," in the light of Laplace's "nebular theory," is
      manifestly too absurd for scientific recognition. A more
      satisfactory explanation may be here suggested:--Supposing the
      apparent relative position of any six or seven stars of the sixth
      magnitude in the Milky-way, should be so changed by the combined
      motions of our sun-system and of the stars themselves, as to throw
      them into one and the same line of vision, but so clustered together
      as to show their several star-discs as one, we should unquestionably
      have a star of the first magnitude, which would continue as long as
      this extraordinary stellar conjunction should last. As one after
      another of these stars should fall out of line, by reason of the
      combined motions named, the apparent star would be diminished from
      the first to the second magnitude, and so on until it reached the
      sixth magnitude, when it would pass beyond the reach of unaided
      human vision. But as the star of Tycho Brahe suddenly appeared at
      its fullest brilliancy, it may be objected that this suggested
      theory fails to meet the required conditions.

      As 18,000,000, out of the 20,000,000, of telescopic stars lie in the
      Milky-way, it is not by any means improbable that such a conjunction
      of stars may occur therein as often at least as once or twice in a
      century. We certainly see brilliant patches of closely-crowded
      stars, in great numbers, in this galactic zone, and the fact that
      these temporary stars almost uniformly appear in that zone renders
      the suggestion here made quite as rational, in the way of
      speculation at least, as that of "vapory celestial matter" suddenly
      condensed into a star of the first magnitude, as Sir. William
      Herschel would have us believe was possible, if not probable.

      Besides, it is a definitely ascertained fact that such clusters of
      stars, lying in almost the same line of vision, exist in various
      parts of the heavens, which present to the naked eye the appearance
      of a star of the fourth or fifth magnitude, and probably would, if
      more thickly clustered, present that of a star of the first
      magnitude. But powerful telescopes resolve them into a large number
      of stars, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth magnitude. One such
      cluster in Andromeda's girdle has been resolved into not less than
      fifteen hundred small stars of very low magnitude, and pretty widely
      scattered in the telescopic field. Alexander Von Humboldt, in
      speaking of stars that have thus disappeared, says that "their
      disappearance may be the result of their motion as much as of any
      diminution of their photometric processes (whether on their surfaces
      or in their photospheres), as would render the waves of light too
      weak too excite the organs of sight." And he adds: "What we no
      longer see is not necessarily annihilation," repeating at the same
      time the question of Pliny--"_Stellæ an obirent nascerenturve?_"

      But another, and (to our mind) more satisfactory, explanation of
      these stellar phenomena, may be hazarded in this connection: There
      are, for instance, in the Milky-way, among the more brilliant
      clusters of stars, dark granular spots, of greater or less
      magnitude, in which the most powerful telescopes show no glints or
      traces of stars. They are among Humboldt's smaller "fissures or
      chasms in the heavens," in which he asserts that there is a great
      paucity of stars, or none at all. Now, if one of these thick stellar
      clusters, which show to the naked eye as a single star, should, by
      the combined cosmical movements of our sun-system and the stellar
      group in question, pass into the field of one of these small rents
      or "fissures" in the galactic curtain--that lying in front of the
      stellar cluster--it would immediately show as a star of possibly the
      first magnitude, and would continue to shine as a star of that
      magnitude so long as it remained in the field of the narrow rent or
      fissure. It would shine out suddenly like a star through a rift in
      the clouds of a dark night, and disappear as soon as it had
      traversed, or apparently traversed, the rift in question. This
      galactic curtain, it should be borne in mind, is made up of
      18,000,000 of stars, or sun-systems, and not less than 720,000,000
      dark cosmical bodies revolving about their respective centres of
      gravity. If the "nebular theory" of the universe be true, this is
      unquestionably the exact condition of things in the Milky-way. Of
      the more distant stars in this crowded galaxy, we can only catch,
      even in the telescopic field, mere glints of light as the
      intervening swarms of stellar and planetary worlds thicken in the
      foreground and shut out the more distant view. It is only through
      these rents and fissures in this great galactic curtain that the
      brighter stellar clusters beyond can ever be seen; and these glints
      of far distant light, showing dimly through this curtain, may
      account for the peculiar _milky_ appearance of the galaxy, arising
      from the loss of chromatic power in the full beams themselves. It
      was undoubtedly through one of these rents in the galactic curtain
      that the condensed starry cluster of Tycho Brahe suddenly made its
      appearance in the outer fringes of the Milky-way, and remained
      visible for a period of seventeen months.





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