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on which we meet him. It is this point which will be discussed in the next chapter.
Mr Darwin, however, finishes his book with a full confidence that he has got rid of Species. “Hereafter,' says he, "we shall have to treat Species in the same manner as those naturalists treat Genera, who admit that genera are merely artificial combinations made for convenience. This may not be a cheering prospect, but we shall at least be freed from the vain search for the undiscovered and undiscoverable essence of the term Species' (520).
And yet Mr Darwin has himself discovered that 'good and distinct Species' unquestionably exist! and more than this, he prophesies that Varieties are advancing in progress to be converted into Species ; so that if the prospect is not cheering, it must be least of all so to the author of these predictions; we may have to lament the loss of that which is, and which Mr Darwin also slily admits, but in addition to this he will have to mourn over the loss of that which is to be. He that seeks to bereave himself of the present, and anticipates a privation of the future also, is certainly in a 'cheerless' plight.
We owe to the Duke of Argyll, in his valuable publication, “ The Reign of Law,' some deeply interesting remarks on Humming-birds, as illustrating the law of Species. For our present purpose it will be sufficient to state the facts as the noble author has given them from · Gould's Trochilidae.'
Of the family of Humming Birds four hundred and thirty species are known, and all these belong to the great continent of America and its adjacent islands. Within these limits there is every range of climate, and there are particular species of Humming Birds adapted to every region where a flowering vegetation can exist. Mr Gould
TRANSMUTATION OF SPECIES
SPECIES AS TREATED BY MR DARWIN.
Mr Darwin begins his Introduction to the Origin of Species by the following words :—When on board H.M.S. Beagle as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to throw some light on the origin of Species; that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers.
Thus are we enabled to fix a date for the first suggestion of that theory which appears in its full maturity in 'the Origin of Species.' The cruise of H.M.S. Beagle was from the year 1832 to 1836, and Mr Darwin's publication of his researches in that cruise was in the year 1840.
In the last pages of the Researches is an interesting passage recommending to young naturalists a journey in
distant countries. After suggesting some reasons for undertaking such a journey, Mr Darwin adds, as a sort of warning, Moreover a number of isolated facts soon be. come uninteresting, the habit of comparison leads to generalization. On the other hand, as the traveller stays but a short space of time in each place, his descriptions must generally consist of mere sketches, instead of detailed ob. servations. Hence arises, as I have found to my cost, a constant tendency to fill up the gaps of knowledge by inaccurate and superficial hypotheses’ (608).
These very remarkable words show, by the Author's own confession, the tendency of his mind at that period; and though he has not informed us what those inaccurate and superficial hypotheses might be, yet as he has told us that at that time he was pondering on the origin of species, it seems obvious to connect the hypotheses with the lucubrations. Whether we should be justified in so doing may be determined after a careful examination of the whole subject.
In a discussion on the origin of species, the first requisite would have been a definition of Species by the author, that we might accurately understand his object, and be sure that we had not misunderstood his meaning. Never was there a term that more needed a careful definition than Species, for besides the deep importance of its true signification, many definitions of it have been propounded by many naturalists, so that unless. Mr Darwin gives us his definition, we are left in the dark just in the point where light was most wanted. In this state the question commences. Mr Darwin not only has omitted to define what he intends by Species, but has made such contradictory statements on the subject (as we shall presently see), that we can only
endeavour to guess at his meaning by collecting his various assertions and making as just a comparison of them as the case will admit.
This therefore must be our first task, to collect Mr Darwin's statements on the subject of Species, after which we may examine the deductions resulting from the statements.
'I look,' says Mr Darwin,' on the term Species as one arbitrarily given for the sake of convenience to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term Variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms' (54).
This is the nearest approximation to a definition which Mr Darwin has given us, though it only amounts to a negative statement, 'that is, that Species and Variety do not essentially differ,' which, put in the positive form, will read, 'that Species and Variety are essentially the same,'—a startling proposition without doubt, and begging the whole question in limine ; for if this be true,' there is no such thing as Species, which indeed we are told is a term arbitrarily invented; and then it will follow that nature's barrier against indefinite mutability is got rid of, and a clear stage made for Mr Darwin's theory. As this is, however, the only approach to a definition with which Mr Darwin has favoured us, we must observe, that there is enveloped in it a contradiction, concealed in artful words. “The term Variety,' we are told, ‘is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms?' Therefore Species is more distinct and less fluctuating. If Species is distinct and does not fluctuate, then it does essentially differ from Variety, which, as Variety, is not distinct and does fluctuate. But what does fluctuate mean here? It means that varieties can interchange and cross, without barrier, and that species can not. It means, for example,