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there is no way of escaping from it. Each creature will tend to become more and more improved in life, and this improvement will lead to the gradual advancement of the organization of beings throughout the world, and the direction of this improvement will be, ‘by an advancement of the brain for intellectual purposes.
Let not Mr Darwin's disciples then wince at the conclusion of this their system. It may take a long time to effect it, a period perhaps as long or longer than that which has elapsed from the Silurian era to the present day, but in the end all creatures will be rational as men: the volvox globator may, after an incalculable series of changes, finish his career by taking the chair of mental and moral philosophy, a sponge may become a professor of geology, and even a gander, that * animal of whose aptitude to mutability Mr Darwin most despairs, may nib his own quills, and sit down to write a learned volume of a new exposition of nature.
But the Theory has its exigencies, and as is often the case in a deviation from probability, a further advance into the improbable becomes unavoidable. Thus Natural Selection has been compelled to take into association the Struggle for Life, which some might be disposed to think could be dispensed with: for it would be argued, why in the case of the improvement of a plant or animal does it follow as a necessary consequence that all the unimproved beings of the cognate species must perish ? Supposing that Natural Selection were to produce a new species of violet, why must all the old-fashioned violets be forth with exterminated ? would not the world be large enough for the two sorts of flowers ? or granting the formation of a
The goose secins to have a singularly inflexible organization' (43).
new animal, by transmutation, and a great improvement on the species nearest allied to it, why must its unimproved neighbour be swept out of existence?
Now the reason of this apparent non-sequitur is, that in the Theory it is requisite to account for all the intermediate animals which 'we are to believe' have existed between two creatures now apparently unlike, but which, we are told, have sprung from one progenitor. In connecting the tapir with the horse there mas have been thousands (in some cases Mr Darwin sars tens of thousands) of intermediate animals, connecting the two extremes by slov approximations. Now all these have disappeared (that is, they cannot be found), they have been 'exterminated,' and this has been effected by the Struggle for Life, and so of all the missing links between all animals. In such a scheme the Struggle for Life has had enough to do, and as the system of nature continues as it was, and as varieties now existing are commencing species, and as all beings are on the high road of improvement, in which very great changes have yet to be accomplished, and as Natural Selection and the Struggle for Life have worked together inseparably from the beginning of things, they cannot now be separated, and thus it is that the Struggle still continues, and that the battle for life is going on as vigorously as ever, even in cases where not the slightest sign of it can be discovered, and where all seems tranquil, peaceful, and secure.
'If my Theory be true,' says Mr Darwin, ‘numberless intermediate varieties, linking closely all the species of the same group together, must assuredly have existed; but the very process of Natural Selection constantly tends, as has been often remarked, to exterminate the parent formis and the intermediate links' (197). And, again, all the intermediate forms between the earlier and later states, as well as the original parent-species itself, will generally tend to become extinct' (127).
In a few words, then, all this is devised, to answer the question, what has become of all the links of your chain, the progenitor, and all the intermediate forms ?—They have been exterminated. There is a principle in Nature which effects this, and it is called the 'Struggle for Life.'
THE GEOLOGICAL QUESTION.
If the lofty title to Mr Darwin's book, “ The Origin of Species,' could be sustained, we should indeed be favoured with a revelation, which has hitherto been supposed to be beyond the reach of human cognizance. We should be introduced to the beginning of things, and behold all the secrets of the primordial laboratory disclosed to our gaze, beyond the utmost dreams of our curiosity, and the farthest aspirations of our hope.
Mr Darwin does indeed profess to take us very far back into the night of antiquity, before the dawn began, vastly beyond all other exponents of science, even to ages long before the formation of the lowest Silurian rocks, an era of which geology knows nothing. Under his guidance we suppose that we shall in these hitherto undiscovered regions reach the very beginning of life, and see the first organic creature constructed, and assume the properties and actions of life—be made acquainted, in fact, with its 'origin.' But we are disappointed, we advance, as we suppose, to reach the origin, but when we have gone as far as our learned guide can lead us, we only find a blank wall; an insuperable barrier blocks up our path, and we are not permitted to find the origin. In all organic
beings,' says Mr Darwin, “as far as is at present known, the germinal vescicle is the same, so that every individual organic being starts from a common origin. Professor Asa Grey has remarked, the spores and other reproductive bodies of many of the lower algæ may claim to have first a · characteristically animal, and then an unequivocal vegetable,
existence. Therefore, on the principle of Natural Selection with divergence of character, it does not seem incredible, that from some such low and intermediate form both animals and plants may have been developed, AND IF WE ADMIT THIS, we must admit that all the organized beings which have ever lived upon earth, may have descended from some one primordial form ?
Certainly, if we admit that animals and plants may have been developed from a spore of the lowest seaweed, we must admit that all of them may have descended from a similar form; there can be no difficulty in the proposition after the first admission ; but after all, this is not the Origin of Species, for we have to learn the origin and the formation of this primordial spore. It may be first characteristically animal,' and 'then unequivocally vegetable, but whence did it derive these double qualities ? It was the most marvellous of all beings to have within itself the potential existences of all animals and all vegetables that ever were to be; to possess qualities which by development 'were ultimately to expand into an elephant, a whale, a palm-tree, an eagle, a crab, a butterfly, and a man, and therefore we anxiously inquire whence came this spore? Who or what were its parents ? How was it made ? How did it acquire the double quality of animal and vegetable? In all ordinary discussions of such subjects we should say that the spore of the lowest algæ sprung from