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breathing of life into the primordial spore—an exception which leaves the whole theory open to a death-wound.
But though Mr Darwin, with this one exception, which he apparently could not avoid, has been so watchful in warding off creation ; he has without scruple admitted a designing and contriving power of his own invention, which he invests with the most marked attributes of the creator, and in such large terms as he would certainly consider superstitious and credulous if applied to the interposition of a Divine Power. We have seen a good deal of this already, we shall see more of it presently.
But truly he must be a courageous man who can contemplate all the forms of life in this our globe, all the structure of animals and plants, all the habits of different animals and the parts they sustain in Nature, and all the vast variety of their tribes constituted to enjoy life in certain special climates, removed from which they* could not live, divergent forms, which would be able to spread rapidly and widely throughout the world’ (328).
9. We must suppose that when the author of nature creates an animal or a plant, all the possible circumstances in which its descendants are destined to live are foreseen, and that an organization is conferred upon it which will enable the species to perpetuate itself, and survive under all the varying circumstances to which it inust be inevitably exposed. Now the range of variation of circumstances will differ essentially in almost every case. Let us take, for example, any one of the most influential conditions of existence, such as temperature. In some extensive districts near the equator, the thermometer might never vary through several thousand centuries, for more than 20° Fahrenheit ; so that if a plant or animal be provided with an organization fitting it to endure such a range, it may continue on the globe for that immense period, although every individual might be liable at once to be cut off by the least possible excess of heat or cold beyond the determinate degree. But if a species be placed in one of the temperate zones, and have a constitution conferred on it capable of supporting a similar range of temperature only, it will inevitably perish before a single year has passed away.'—Principles of Geology, ii. p. 351, 3rd edition.
These sentiments it is to be presumed Sir Charles Lyell must now repudiate, under the influence of the Lamarckian system of which he has becoine the advocate. If he is faithful to his new creed, the creator and the plan of creation must of necessity be repudiated.
From this passage we learn a curious history of birds : it required a long succession of ages to adapt the organisms to this new and peculiar line of life'-doubtless, very long—that is, it required the lapse of untold ages to make the first bird ; the process was going on confined to some one region on the face of the earth; intermediate forms between the first attempt and the last, amounting to an enormous number of experiments, were coming into existence, and undergoing extermination, always, however, in the direction of the true bird; and at last, after a hundred or two hundred million of ages, more or less, a real bona fide bird, cock and hen, came forth triumphant, out of the slaughter of innumerable ancestors.
What sort of bird this might be we are not informed, it might be an eagle or it might be a dove; and perhaps the dove was the more probable form, as the prey has to be made before the bird of prey. At any rate the new and peculiar line of life' was secured, and after that, the process of bird-making went on with success, comparatively in a short time; nay, more than this, ‘many divergent forms spread rapidly.'
This comparatively short time and this rapidity are, indeed, violent invasions of the fundamental law of the system, for Mr Darwin has repeatedly laid it down that
Natural Selection always acts very slowly' (114); but in this history of birds there was much to account for, as the feathered tribe is rich in orders, families, genera, species, and sub-species, and to concede the usual measure of time which the Theory requires, for each distinct species, would be making too large a demand even on the millions of ages with which this Theory has made us familiar. Thus the process had to be hastened, for when the adaptation had been once effected,' a facility of change hastened the process of mutation, and the winged tribes found comparatively little difficulty in producing new orders and families, as circumstances seemed to encourage the 'plastic tendencies' of their organizations.
But though Natural Selection was thus accelerating matters for the emergency, the other principle, extermination, was by no means dormant, for we are informed that 'extinction has played an important part in defining and widering the intervals between the several groups in each class. We may thus account even for the distinctness of whole classes from each other—for instance, of birds from all other vertebrate animals—by the belief that many unusual forms of life have been utterly lost, through which the early progenitors of the birds were formerly connected with the early progenitors of the other vertebrate classes' (463).
Thus, by the process of believing' as a substitute for proof, we are to understand that such was the process. Many unusual forms' in the progress of bird-making have been utterly lost: these forms must indeed have been by myriads to account for the distinction at last effected, when, ‘in a long succession of ages,' the real bird was at last produced, to say nothing of the countless experiments lost in connecting the various orders and species of birds. All these unusual forms, exterminated in the Struggle for Life, have disappeared, and can nowhere be found, and so it is that we see the bird separated from all vertebrated animals by an apparently vast chasm, and all the families of birds separated from one another. This
presents an appearance to us of a design, as if birds had been created as we see them—but this is an illusion, simply owing to the loss of all the intermediate animals of unusual form, which we are to believe' would make one unbroken chain of connected organization, if only the links could be discovered.
Such, then, is the history of the origin of birds according to the doctrine of Transmutation ; whether it presents to our apprehension a wiser, less improbable, and less miraculous contrivance than that which is usually understood by creation, the reader must judge.
After such lucubrations as these it is a real pleasure to turn to the instructions of one of Nature's most successful interpreters, the illustrious Cuvier. On the great subject of Organic distinctions he has, in an admirable manner, pointed out to us the intimate connection which exists between the whole organization of an animal and its destinies in life. “Every organized being,' says he, 'forms a whole, an unique and perfect system, the parts of which mutually correspond, and concur in the same definitive action by a reciprocal reaction. None of these parts can change wilhout the whole changing, and consequently each of them, separately considered, points out and marks all the others. Thus, if the intestines of an animal are so organized as only to digest flesh, and that in a fresh state, it follows that its jaws must be constructed to devour prey, its claws to seize and tear it, its teeth to cut and divide it; the whole structure of the organs of motion such as to pursue and catch it; its perceptive organs to discern it at a distance: Nature must even have placed in the brain the necessary instincts to know how to conceal itself and lay snares for its victims. That the jaw may be enabled to seize it must have a cer