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eastern mythical time, we then find ourselves amongst first organisms' coming into life by spontaneous genesis, and primary species arranging themselves for future adventures in multiplied transformations.
This then is the point we aim at, the existence of an 'insurmountable barrier’in nature to a system of indefinite change of form and character in organized beings. The continued fecundity of true species and the sterility of hybrids is this barrier,-a fact generally admitted by naturalists.
Such are the observations and deductions of learned physiologists; but the question is nevertheless one of common observation, and would be received in the commonly accepted view of the case by any one whose occupations led him to an ordinary acquaintance with plants or animals. The grazier and the market-gardener would confirm by their testimony the fact of the constancy of species, for the evidence to guide their judgment in the question is patent and notorious. That the popular view was also that of antiquity, we may see in Lucretius.
Nam quod multa fuêre in terris semina rerum
A much more ancient testimony than that of Lucretius gives us the same information.
* And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every living thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind : and God saw that it was good.- And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself, after his kind : and God saw that it was good.'
This, in a more antique form of primitive simplicity, expresses, in substance, the doctrine which Cuvier, and Agassiz, and other celebrated naturalists have laboured to establish.
The following, in the Principles of Geology,' is Sir C. Lyell’s recapitulation of his inquiry.
For the reason therefore detailed in this and the two preceding chapters, we may draw the following inferences in regard to the reality of species in nature.
'l. That there is a capacity in all species to accommodate themselves, to a certain extent, to a change of external circumstances, this extent varying greatly, according to the species.
“2. When the change of situation which they can endure is great, it is usually attended by some modification of the form, colour, size, structure, or other particulars; but the mutations thus superinduced are governed by constant laws, and the capability of so varying form part of the specific character.
"3. Some acquired peculiarities of form, structure, and instinct are transmissible to the offspring ; but these consist of such qualities and attributes only as are intimately related to the natural wants and propensities of the species.
'4. The entire variation from the original type, which any given kind of change can produce, may usually be effected in a brief period of time, after which no further deviation can be attained by continuing to alter the circumstances, though ever so gradually : indefinite divergence, either in · the way of improvement or deviation, being prevented, and the least possible excess beyond the definite limits being fatal to the existence of the individual.'
[This 4th article is as perfect a denial of the theory of transmutation as words can express.
5. The intermixture of the distinct species is guarded against by the aversion of the individuals composing them to sexual union, or by the sterility of the male offspring. It does not appear that true hybrid races have ever been perpetuated for several generations, even by the assistance of man; for the cases usually cited relate to the crossing of mules with individuals of pure species, and not to the intermixture of hybrid with hybrid.
'6. From the above considerations, it appears that species have a real existence in nature; and that each was endowed, at the time of its creation, with the attributes and organization by which it is now distinguished.' (iii. cap. 4.)
This deliberate decision on the important question of species, whilst it gives a correct and luminous exposition of the facts of nature, pronounces sentence of condemnation on the system of Lamarck, which is the same thing as passing censure on Mr Darwin's theory. These were the sentiments of Sir C. Lyell in the earlier editions of his Principles of Geology, but in the edition of that work now in the course of publication, and of which at present but one volume has appeared, it is to be presumed that other opinions will be expressed, and that the passage just quoted will be cancelled.
As Sir C. Lyell has, in his Antiquity of Man, professed himself a disciple of Transmutation, his views in every question on which that theory depends must have undergone a change, and he must be considered now a teacher of a system opposite to that which he has hitherto upheld; and more than that, a champion of a cause which for more than thirty years of his life he vigorously opposed. Whatever may be the merit of his new opinions, the important point with those who might be disposed to listen to his instructions will be, that his present opinions are new, and that the renowned interpreter of Geology, to whom we have been accustomed to look for the soundest views of that noble branch of science, has disappeared, to wander in patlis where we cannot follow him.
In the whole region of thought nothing can be further apart than the general doctrine of the Principles of Geology from the sentiments professed in the Antiquity of Man. That Sir C. Lyell should have passed over from the high vantage-ground he has so long enjoyed to the visionary school of Lamarck, is a mental metamorphosis as complete as the transition from one nature to another; so that the Transmutationists may boast, that however deficient may be their proofs of any corporeal transformation, they have, in this their illustrious convert, an undeniable specimen of intellectual transmutation.
MR DARWIN'S CENSURE OF SPECIES.
We have seen Mr Darwin's statement of species, and have considered also the opinions of several celebrated naturalists on the same subject; we now have to examine Mr Darwin's arguments for opposing the received opinion.
His first exception to the acknowledgment of species is based on the great difficulty which he affirms there is in determining correctly the species of several plants, there are genera in which the species present an inordinate amount of variation; and hardly two naturalists can agree which forms to rank as species, and which as varieties. We may instance Rubus, Rosa, and Hieracium among plants, and several genera of insects' (48). On this theme—the perplexity of the naturalists—he much enlarges : Mr H. C. Watson has marked for me 182 British plants, which are considered as varieties, but which nevertheless have been ranked by botanists as species. Under genera Mr Babington gives 251 species, whereas Mr Bentham gives only 112, a difference of 139 doubtful forms. Well, let it be so. Let these learned gentlemen and a great many more puzzle themselves in framing their decrees about the species of plants; but are we then to come to this conclusion, that species has no real existence in nature because Messrs H.