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appear by the metaphor of a damaged volume, the only one to be found of a large work, why did we not hear of this before the author had reduced himself to the necessity of confessing his total discomfiture? He might have spared himself that humiliation, and might thus have brilliantly surmounted his greatest difficulty. Here Mr Darwin reminds us of a person who, having been checkmated in the game of chess, asks permission to take back his piece as he sees a much better move on the board. Let him take back his piece, we shall see what good it will do him.
We must not however leave this last quoted passage without a remark. When Mr Darwin says, that of this history we possess the last volume only,' he very dexterously begs the whole question. We affirm that the whole series of volumes is in existence, and that the last concludes with the Tertiary formation ; Mr Darwin means that a vast number of other volumes relating to the preSilurian epoch have been lost, and that the only one remaining is the present record of geology, which he lumps together as one volume, and calls it the last. His library, as well as his pre-Silurian world, exists in the land of dreams-our library is complete, and is in existence on the solid earth that now is. This is the difference between us in this matter. Our first volume is in the Silurian rocks, and this he calls his last; if he will produce only a few pages of an earlier volume, we shall be very glad to add them to our collection.
But what then, we may ask, is the use of geology, that science hitherto so much admired for the accuracy of its proofs and the certainty of its progress, if we do not accept the records that it offers as they are, but insist upon others as they ought to be? If we appeal from what we see and know to that which can neither be seen nor known? if we set aside the evidence of the senses and substitute that of the imagination ? If this be permitted within the precincts of science, what can be the limit to idle and profitless speculations? who after this need despair of advancing any theory however childish or preposterous ? Supposing that some learned man felt it incumbent on himself to prove that 'there were giants in those days,' in the dars near the beginning of things, and that he were to write a learned and ingenious book on the subject (such as an ingenious man might write on any theme), investing his hypothesis with an air of plausibility till he came to the evidence of geology. Here a barrier stops his progress; how does he surmount it? He tells us that if his Theory be true, it is indisputable, that in un. known ages long before the lowest Silurian formation, the earth swarmed with giants thirty feet high, and that their remains are to be found in those rocks which 'somewhere were formed in that most distant epoch; but that we are not to be astonished at the actual deficiency of the proof, for we do but possess the last volume of geological record, all the previous ones having been irretrievably lost.
In what does this differ from Mr Darwin's process of reasoning? Surely in nothing but the Theory itself, which is far more difficult to be digested than the pre-Silurian giants.
There are occasions nevertheless when Mr Darwin can refer to the records of geology as affording most ample proof for any particular point he may have in hand. "Geology,' says he, ‘plainly tells us that small genera have in the lapse
of time often increased greatly in size, and that larger genera have often come to their maxima, declined and disappeared' (59).
Here a great deal is revealed to us in the few lines of the few pages of the only remaining volume; it is in fact a history of the past epochs of life, in a certain aspect; but it does not seem to have occurred to the learned author that if we learn so much as this from geology, if we are thus correctly instructed in the rise and fall of the large and small genera, it is inconceivable that we should not at the same time have been favoured with some evidence of the existence of those infinite gradations of species required by his Theory. If there were ten thousand or one thousand intermediate forms connecting the tapir and the horse, both of which we know first appear in the Tertiary formation, how comes it that we find none of these connecting links? Let not Mr Darwin betake himself to his pre-Silurian world, and to his 'rocks somewhere to be found,' for the tapir and the horse are harmoniously together in the Tertiary; they certainly did not exist previously, they were not in the cretaceous system, still less amongst the terrific reptiles of the Oolite, but they were where they are found to have been, in circumstances which suited their existence. There we find them amongst their congeners in the Tertiary, but we do not find the many thousand links which the Theory requires to unite them ; 'what geological research has not revealed us,' says the author, “is the former existence of infinitely numerous gradations, as fine as existing varieties, connecting all known species ; and this not being effected by geology is the most obvious of the many objections which may be urged against my views' Surely these two passages have a curious aspect when thus placed in juxta-position, the first affirming that geology tells us truly the history of small and large genera, the second that it has told us nothing of the infinitely numerous gradations connecting all known species. It would tax the ingenuity of the learned Author to reconcile these discordant propositions.
In the mean time let it be observed and not forgotten, that Mr Darwin here fully acknowledges that he has no geological evidence wherewith to prove his Theory.
Let us now examine the few lines of the remaining volume and see what it tells us. As it is beyond the Silurian era that Mr Darwin would take us, but as thither it is impossible to follow him, we will go as far as we can, down to the Silurian rocks, and there gather such evidence as can be collected.
The oldest Silurian strata, the first which contain any fossil remnants, rest on older rocks still, and of them Professor Owen thus speaks : 'There is an enormous series of sub-aqueous sediment, originally composed of mud, sand, or pebble, the successive bottom of a former sea, derived from pre-existing rocks, which has not undergone any change from heat, and in which no trace of organic life has yet been detected. These non-fossiliferous, non-crystalline sedimentary beds form, in all countries where they have yet been examined, the base rocks, on which the Cambrian and the oldest Silurian strata rest—whether they be significative of ocean abysses never reached by the remains of coeval living beings, or whether they truly indicate the period antecedent to the beginning of life on this planet, are questions of the deepest significance, and demanding much further observation before they can be authoritatively answered' (Pala. ont. 116). The first evidence therefore that is offered to us is, as far as is known by observation in all parts of the world, an absence of organized beings in the basal rocks of the Silurian system. “No trace of organic life has as yet been detected,'—and it is owing to this circumstance that it has been proposed to name the base-formation, azoic, or destitute of life, in contra-distinction to the upper systems, which are all more or less fossiliferous.
The question therefore when we come to these lowest rocks is, not whether they swarm with fossils of extinct life or follow still older rocks, not discovered, swarming with fossils of plants and animals, according to the Theory, but whether we are justified in affirming that they truly indi. cate a period antecedent to the beginning of life in this planet. The evidence, as far as it is now known, would justify us in affirming that life had not begun during the formation of those rocks; and though it is strictly in keeping within the rules of investigation which science demands, not to affirm as much without more direct proof; yet how far apart is this from affirming on the other hand, without a tittle of evidence, and indeed with the whole evidence the other way, that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed, as long as, or possibly far longer than, the whole interval from the Silurian age to the present day; and that during that vast and unknown period of time, the world swarmed with living creatures.
The evidence therefore now to be obtained does not favour Mr Darwin ; it bars out his Theory at the very beginning, inexorably excludes Natural Selection, which has no chance of ever passing these first non-fossiliferous rocks.
The sober language of true science affirms that it cannot