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was but a living rehearsal of the favourite of Abbotsford. The animals so indelibly photographed in the pre-historic fable of the Aryan nations have not lost one lineainent from the lapse of time. 44 Herodotus, “save in a picture,” did not see the Phænix, nor, though that would have been a trifle to its feats among the Hymenoptera, has natural selection yet brought it to the birth ; but he saw and described the hippopotamus and the crocodile, 45 precisely as they will be seen, and very much as they will be portrayed, by this year's tourists to the Nile. If the moderns do not descant on the wonderful impunity enjoyed by the trochilus, on account of its enterprising services as an animal dentist in relieving the crocodile's jaws of leeches, it will be because their faith in the instinct-quelling virtues of natural selection is less lively than that of Herodotus or Mr. Darwin. The salmon still bounds over the river-barrier as when the Roman soldiers named it “the leaper," seen by them. for the first time in the streams of Gaul. whether or not in friendly warning, still stings the sleeping rustic as in Virgil's verse; the grasshopper chirps gaily as in Anacreon's song; “still clang the cranes, and soar aloft the eagles ; still dance in air the summerloving flies as in the days of Homer; and still the
polypus and sponge, and all the inhabitants of the sea, exhibit in the Mediterranean the peculiar properties noticed in them by Aristotle.” 46 Nay, as if to forefalsify the parallel suggested by Mr. Darwin and elaborated by his disciples, an appeal is taken from the fluctuations of language to the stabilities of nature; and classical orthoepy selects as umpire in its controversies the changeless vocalization of the sheep and the owl. And if this miniature antiquity be held of no accountthough no just reasoner will so regard it-Geology will not refuse attesting glimpses through that mightier vista which she claims as her peculiar domain. She will cull us plants from our British flora, minute duplicates of those that must have crept hither from the Himalaya slopes ere the German Ocean barred the passage. a lesson on the intrinsic likelihood of ascensive development, by natural selection, or any other stimulant to progress, she will show us, in the province of microscopic life, diatoms of the Oolite that are diatoms to-day, and the infusoria of the Chalk still teeming in the
26. Passing, however, from that "record” on "imperfection" of which Mr. Darwin sophisticates with such small success, we cannot fail to be reminded that, in any inquiry touching natural law and its working, vastness of scale is equivalent to immensity of duration. He who watches the Milky Way through a month of northern winter would gain no deeper conviction of the stability of the universe from a million years' survey of a solitary sun. If wheat be sown in one and the same year simultaneously over a hundred square miles of considerably varied area and nothing but wheat comes of it, the experiment is of the same value as a hundred successive experiments, over a single square mile, in as many successive years, would be. Now grant to Geology her hundred million years in time; the earth has twice a hundred million square miles of surface. Is the breadth of the life-experiment so transacting, magnified, at the least, by the whole depth of history,---and sometimes; as Agassiz has proved by the coral-builders of the Gulf of Florida, tenfold that depth,—to count for nothing? Mr. Darwin's admirable mastery of the resources of his native tongue scarcely yields him expressions strong enough to glorify the wealth of natural in contrast to the poverty of human selection. 48 And if there were indeed an agency in nature so endowed and commissioned as he endows this favourite child of his imagination, the contrast could not be overdrawn. Now
artificial selection enacts and exhausts its cycle of permitted change--goes, in homely phrase, “the length of its tether"--with entire docility and in a short period of time. Sir George Sebright undertakes “head and beak” in six years, and proffers any “feather” in three. What then may not be expected from the mighty, counterpart power, at work unceasingly in earth and ocean; the enormous area, moreover, of the terraqueous globe being inter-multiplied with the millenniums of the historic past? And yet on this, the largest scale strictly accessible, there are confessedly no signs of specific change. All things continue as they were.
A species may go out, but no species comes in. A species may die, but it never surrenders. The world of reason has made enormous strides : the world of instinct is as it was, learning nothing new and unlearning nothing old. So far as any perceptible alteration is concerned, natural selection, over this immense àrea, has been for so long a time asleep. Now it seems less unlikely that Mr. Darwin should have been looking for the wrong sort of results than that a power of such capacity, at work on such a scale, should have no results to show. Emphatically, on such a scale. “He bringeth forth grass for the cattle, and green herb for the service of men.
trees of the Lord also are full of sap, even the cedars of Libanus which he hath planted.
O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is the great and wide sea also, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts." 49 Such the
” play of vitality, three thousand years ago, over two hundred million square miles of surface; such, athwart that surface, the range to-day. Natural Selection is a mighty and a slumberless magician ; and all things in earth and sea are pliant to her spell. She has built up some pithless algal into the cedar of Libanus. She has nursed the microscopic monad into the forest carnivora. Ånd she is pursuing her course “unhasting, unresting,” now, as at the beginning Yet, across this area, and throughout this period, not a seaweed has approximated to the meanest fern, not an earthworm been promoted to the grade of insect! If this basis of induction be too narrow to sustain a doctrine as to the methods and capabilities of nature under the influence of mere law, it were insanity to hope for a broader. Scale has a tongue as well as Time. And “the vast variety," we may be very sure, “ of the organized world speaks not of the operation of unvarying laws, that represent, in their uni