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Notwithstanding the extent and variety of his botanical work, Mr. Darwin always disclaimed any right to be regarded as a professed botanist. He turned his attention to plants doubtless because they were convenient objects for studying organic phenomena in their least complicated forms; and this point of
; view, which, if one may use the expression without disrespect, had something of the amateur about it, was in itself of the greatest importance. For, from not being, till he took up any point, familiar with the literature bearing on it, his mind was absolutely free from any prepossession. He was never afraid of his facts or of framing any hypothesis, however startling, which seemed to explain them. However much weight he attributed to inheritance as a factor in organic phenomena, tradition went for nothing in studying them. In any one else such an attitude would have produced much work that was crude and rash. But Mr. Darwin—if one may venture on language which will strike no one who had conversed with him as overstrained-seemed by gentle persuasion to have penetrated that reserve of nature which baffles smaller men. In other words, his long experience had given him a kind of instinctive insight into the method of attack of any biological problem, however unfamiliar to him, while he rigidly controlled the fertility of his mind in hypothetical explanations by the no less fertility of ingeniouslydevised experiment. Whatever he touched, he was sure to draw from it something that it had never before yielded, and he was wholly free from that familiarity which comes to the professed student in every branch of science, and blinds the mental eye to the significance of things which are overlooked because always in view.
The simplicity of Mr. Darwin's character pervaded his whole method of work. Alphonse de Candolle visited him in 1880 and felt the impression of this: “He was not one of those who would construct a palace to lodge a laboratory. I sought out the greenhouse in which so many admirable experiments had been made on hybrids. It contained nothing but a vine." There was no affectation in this. Mr. Darwin provided himself with every resource which the methods of the day or the mechanical ingenuity of his sons could supply, and when it had served its purpose it was discarded. Nor had he any prepossession in favour of one kind of scientific work His scientific temperament was thoroughly catholic and sympathetic to anything which was not a mere regrinding of old scientific dry bones. He would show his visitors an Epipactis which for years came up in the middle of one of his gravel walks with almost as much interest as some new point which he had made out in a piece of work actually in hand. And though he had long abandoned any active interest in systematic work, only a few months before his death he had arranged to provide funds for the preparation of the new edition of Steudel's Nomenclator," which, at his earnest wish, has been projected at Kew.
more than another.
1 An enumeration of the names and synonyms of all described flowering plants with their native countries.
W. T. T. D.
WORK IN ZOOLOGY.
THE influence which our great naturalist has exerted upon zoology is unquestionably greater than that which has been exerted by any other individual ; and as it depends on his generalisations much more than upon his particular researches, we may best do justice to it by taking a broad view of the effects of Darwinism on zoology, rather than by detailing those numberless facts which have been added to the science by the ever vigilant observations of Darwin. Nevertheless, we may begin our survey by enumerating the more important results of his purely zoological work, not so much because these have been rarely equalled by the work of any other zoologist, as because we may thus give due prominence to the remarkable association of qualities which was presented by Mr. Darwin's mind. This association of qualities was such that he was able fully to appreciate and successfully to cultivate every department and ramification of biological research-whether morphological, physiological, systematic, descriptive, or statistical-and at the same time to rise above the minutiæ of these various branches, to take those commanding views of the whole range of nature and of natural science which have produced so enormous a change upon our means of knowledge and our modes of thought. No labourer in the field of science has ever plodded more patiently through masses of small detail ; no mastermind on the highest elevation of philosophy has ever grasped more world-transforming truth.
Taking the purely zoological work in historical order, we have first to consider the observations made during the voyage of the Beagle. These, however, are much too numerous and minute to admit of being here detailed. Among the most curious are those relating to the scissor-beak bird, niata cattle, aëronaut spiders, upland geese, sense of sight and smell in vultures; and among the most important are those relating to the geographical distribution of species. The results obtained