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immemorial, many worlds of life besides our own, we must regard it as probable in the highest degree that there are countless seed-bearing meteoric stones moving about through space. If at the present instant no life existed upon this Earth, one such stone falling upon it might, by what we blindly call natural causes, lead to its becoming covered with vegetation. I am fully conscious of the many scientific objections which may be urged against this hypothesis; but I believe them to be all answerable. I have already taxed your patience too severely to allow me to think of discussing any of them on the present occasion. The hypothesis that life originated on this Earth through moss-grown fragments from the ruins of another world may seem wild and visionary; all I maintain is that it is not unscientific.
From the Earth stocked with such vegetation as it could receive meteorically, to the Earth teeming with all the endless variety of plants and animals which now inhabit it, the step is prodigious; yet, according to the doctrine of continuity, most ably laid before the Association by a predecessor in this Chair (Mr. Grove), all creatures now living on earth have proceeded by orderly evolution from some such origin. Darwin concludes his great work on 'The Origin of Species' with the following words :-" It is interesting to contem"plate an entangled bank clothed with many plants of many kinds, with "birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with "worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elabo"rately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on "each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting " around us." "There is grandeur in this view of life with its "several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few "forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on accord"ing to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms, "most beautiful and most wonderful, have been and are being evolved." With the feeling expressed in these two sentences I most cordially sympathize. I have omitted two sentences which come between them, describing briefly the hypothesis of "the origin of species by natural selection," because I have always felt that this hypothesis does not contain the true theory of evolution, if evolution there has been, in biology. Sir John Herschel, in expressing a favourable judgment on the hypothesis of zoological evolution (with, however, some reservation in respect to the origin of man), objected to the doctrine of natural selection, that it was too like the Laputan method of making books, and that it did not sufficiently take into account a continually guiding and controlling intelligence. This seems to me a most valuable and instructive criticism. I feel profoundly convinced that the argument of design has been greatly too much lost sight of in recent zoological speculations. Reaction against the frivolities of teleology, such as are to be found, not rarely, in the notes of the learned commentators on Paley's 'Natural Theology,' has I believe had a temporary effect in turning attention from the solid and irrefragable argument so well put forward in that excellent old book. But overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all round us; and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living beings depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.
THE STATE OF SCIENCE.
Seventh Report of the Committee for Exploring Kent's Cavern, Devonshire, the Committee consisting of Sir CHARLES LYELL, Bart., F.R.S., Professor PHILLIPS, F.R.S., Sir JOHN LUBBOCK, Bart., F.R.S., JOHN EVANS, F.R.S., EDWARD VIVIAN, GEORGE BUSK, F.R.S., WILLIAM BOYD DAWKINS, F.R.S., WILLIAM AYSHFORD SANFORD, F.G.S., and WILLIAM PENGELLY, F.R.S. (Reporter). DURING the year which has elapsed since the Sixth Report was sent in (Liverpool, 1870), the Committee have without intermission carried on their researches, and have strictly followed the mode of working with which the exploration was commenced in 1865. The Superintendents have continued to visit the Cavern, and to record the results daily; they have, as from the beginning, sent Monthly Reports to the Chairman of the Committee; the work has been carried on by the same workmen, George Smerdon and John Farr, who have discharged their duties in a most efficient and satisfactory manner; and the Cavern is as much resorted to as ever by visitors feeling an interest in the researches.
In June 1871, Mr. Busk, a Member of the Committee, spent some time at Torquay, when he visited the Cavern accompanied by the Superintendents, who took him through all its branches, explored and unexplored. Having carefully watched the progress of the work, and made himself familiar with all its details, he spent some time at the Secretary's residence, examining and identifying a portion of the mammalian remains which had been disinterred. In November 1870 the Superintendents had also the pleasure of going through the cavern with Mr. W. Morrison, M.P., who takes so active an interest in the exploration of the caves near Settle in Yorkshire.
Besides the foregoing, and exclusive of the large number attended by the guide appointed by the proprietor, Sir L. Palk, Bart., M.P., the Cavern has been visited during the year by the Earl and Countess Russell, Sir R. Sinclair, Bart., Sir C. Trevelyan, Mr. C. Gilpin, M.P., Governor Wayland, U.S., Colonel Ward, Major Bryce, U.S., Rev. Mr. Dickenson, Rev. E. N. Dumbleton, Rev. J. P. Foster, Rev. T. R. R. Stebbing, Dr. Ashford, Dr. Tate, and Messrs. S. Bate, R. Bellasis, L. Bowring, W. R. A. Boyle, W. Bridges, 1871.