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before the change, so requisite for their new character in the drama of life, was fully accomplished ? How did the once thick-legged and slow animals, the pre-gazelles and the pre-antelopes, continue to escape the carnivorous animals, all the time that their legs were lengthening and refining, and their powers of speed accumulating? And how did the progenitors of the giraffe ward off starvation, in deserts without herbage, before their necks and tongues and front legs were prolonged to enable them to reach the foliage of the trees ? and so on in every other case. These questions of course would be quite as puzzling if applied to the Darwinian system, and perhaps more so, as Mr Darwin demands an immensity of time for his mutations. His dogs, with slightly plastic limbs, improving in the lapse of thousands of ages to enable them to catch hares, when all other food had failed them, would, it is to be feared, have long ago joined the people of dreams,' before the day of their improvement dawned on thein.
The pictures of Lamarck's otter acquiring web-feet and an amphibious existence by frequenting the sides of streams in search of its prey, immediately suggests the more mag. nificent transformation of the bear into the whale. Lamarck's otter must surely have been first cousin to Darwin's bear.
When two great wizards, like Jannes and Jambres, descend to the water-side for the exercise of their art, there is no limit to the wonderful achievements which they may accomplish with their transforming rods.
After this the theory of Transmutation seems to have been dormant, at least in this country, till an anonymous author published “The Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. The date of the fifth edition of this work now
before me is 1845, the first edition was probably published two or three years earlier. It met with great success, soon became a popular book, and is still enjoying a measure of popularity. This is to be attributed in part to the pleasant style of its composition, and to the lucid and intelligible tone of the statements it contains. It is an easy book to read, and the novelty of its subject made it an entertaining one. The scientific world is disposed to speak slightingly of the work as deficient in information, but the author does not seem to put forth the pretensions of a man of science, and he offers his statement simply as the result of his reading—he gathers from other writers his materials, and proposes his deductions on them with simplicity and modesty. There may be mistakes in the statements, or a deficiency of knowledge may here and there betray itself, but on the whole the book may be considered the least offensive of any that have yet appeared to advocate the theory of Transmutation.
It may be interesting to see the opinion of this author on Lamarck's system, as showing the disagreement amongst the advocates of the same cause. The author of the Vestiges, in making the following strictures, explains, in measure, his own views : 'Early in this century, M. Lamarck, a naturalist of the highest character, suggested a hypothesis of organic progress which has incurred much ridicule, and scarcely ever had a single defender. He surmised, and endeavoured, with a great deal of ingenuity, to prove, that one being advanced in the course of generations to another, in consequence merely of its experience of wants calling for the exercise of its faculties in a particular direction, by which exercise new developments of organs took place, ending in variations sufficient to constitute a species.
It is hardly necessary to remark how inadequate does the view of Lamarck appear to account for the rise of the organic kingdoms. If he had suggested a law of development for advancing the fundamental or internal organization in a succession of stages, like those of the individual ovum of the highest animal, and pointed to some abnormal and not yet understood tendency in organic beings to give rise, through the medium of generation, to modifications of external structure fitting the progeny for new conditions ; and if, to these ideas, he had added a more explicit acknowledgment of the whole being the evolution of a divine will, which was present in it all, he would, in my opinion, have come much nearer to fact, and obtained more patient hearing from mankind' (241).
The author of the Vestiges tells us that at first the earth presented only seas and sea-animals. Afterwards shores were formed, and animals fitted for living in such a field were produced by an advance of development from certain of the marine tribes. In time there was dry land and vegetation, and then the shore-animals gave birth to families fitted for that superior theatre of existence (258).
There is much reason to believe that 'certain large and important mammals, if not the whale,' have proceeded directly from the reptiles (263). The marine Saurians were progenitors of aquatic mammalia, whales, &c. (267). Elephants were derived from herbaceous cetacea (267). Birds sprung from fishes (263). The rhinoceros was the progenitor of the hog, and the horse was fined down from the elephant (a startling pedigree for the Racing Calendar). 'In the prehensile upper lip of the horse we see the last relic of the proboscis of the elephant and tapir; the clumping of the extremities into one shield or hoof, serving to
support the body of the animal in soft, dry soil, sufficiently shows what kind of habitat determined the production of this interesting and useful genus' (269).
The walrus or morse furnished the origin to ruminating animals (269), and the family of bears (Ursidæ) came from the seals (271).
Man's parentage is not directly stated, but suggested, apparently in a hint: ‘Last of all issued from the woods a being erect, majestic, and with many traits of external grace and beauty, to overspread the whole earth with his race,' &c., &c. (274).
As the system requires a parentage from an antecedent form for every newly-developed 'life, we cannot suppose that the majestic creature' is exempt from the general rule, and we must therefore understand that when man 'issued from the woods ’ he had been there for ages with his progenitors—the Gorilla, the Oran-Otang or Chimpanzee, that he had gradually got rid of the lower pair of hands, that his legs and muscles had been developed’into those of the human form, that his foot and heel had become adapted for walking, that his face and brain had mightily improved, that he had acquired the power of speech; and endowed now with a conscience and imagination, and with a capacity for the abstract sciences, was able to produce from his Species a Homer, a Milton, a Newton, or a Laplace.
Such in a few words is this system. The origin of all life is to be traced to the waters; water is the general parent—åplotov pèr còwg. The great trunk of animality,' says the author, lies in the ocean, up even to the mammalia. A curious contradiction of the old creed which made earth the great trunk of animality.'
As usual with all the School, we have the modus operandi of Transmutation propounded to us in an enigma. In the Vestiges, it is the Law of Development’-it is ' an abnormal, and not yet understood, tendency in organic beings'
—'the first and simplest of beings advanced upon the several lines of development, till at length they became creatures of complicated and extensively-adapted structure.'
They were developed—they became! What is development? It is an addition of matter to existing forms to produce this augmentation ; but let us suppose matter added to a hog for an indefinite period, till it had grown twenty feet high, it would still only be a huge hog—it would not have become more like an elephant in its constitution than when it was only a foot high. Do they mean change* by
* This is, in fact, the real meaning of the dainty word 'development, as used in this school. The word 'change' would seem to be begging the question, so they substitute another terin which seems to be indefinite, though they do not at all intend it to be 80. This peeps out in the fol. lowing sentence of Professor Powell : "Some scientific inquirers reject the idea of development or transmutation, because, as they allege, they find no evidence or existing instances of such a thing to produce.'--(Unity of Worlds, 431.) We see then what the school intend by development ;' it is in plain English Transmutation : and if this were substituted for the other word, in all passages where it occurs, much ambiguity would disappear.
The original and strict meaning of developinent' is the disengaging from something that infolds, and thence, the disclosure of bodies by growth. I find it defined thus in a French exposition of terins:
* Accroisement naturel des corps solides, liquides, ou gazeuses, des végé. taux, des corps organisés ou inorganiques de terrain, des rochers, de l'homme lui-même, specialement considéré dans les êtres vivants.'
Buffon says : L'hoinme croît en hauteur jusqu'à seize ou dix-huit ans, et cependant le développement entier de toutes les parties de son corps en grosseur n'est achevé qu'à trente ans.'
In every instance where this word is legitimately used, it means augmentation, extension, or improvement of something already existing. It never has the meaning of Transınutation.
Barthelemi uses it in this passage in the strict sense : “Je pense, que de temps en temps, peut-être même à chaque génération, la nature répand sur la terre un certain nombre de talents qui restent ensevelis, lorsque rien ne contribue à les développer.'