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eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic observation, could have been formed by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree." And so far we are able cordially to agree with him; yet after this candid confession our surprise was great to find an explanation attempted by means of this sole "deus ex machinâ," natural selection. And Mr. Darwin seems to suppose that he has given an explanation when he mentions the gradations from the simplest to the most complex eyes, without attempting to account for an eye ever having existed at all. In the course of the illustrations, some few additional lights are thrown upon the action of natural selection tending to show that it can "improve" races to their disadvantage, as, for instance, the improvement in the structure of the sting of the bee or wasp, until it is so finished that "when used against many attacking animals (it) cannot be withdrawn, owing to the backward serratures, and so inevitably causes the death of the insect, by tearing out its viscera."* Mr. Darwin judiciously forgets to allude to the existence of such an organ as the internal ear in the higher animals; as to give even a verbal theory of its formation by natural selection would have baffled any attempt.
The development of the most remarkable instincts-that which leads the cuckoo to lay its eggs in nests of other birds—that of the slave-making ants, and the comb-building of the bee-hiveaffords but additional illustration of the operation of natural selection. The American cuckoo builds its own nest; probably the English cuckoo did so once, but occasionally laid an egg in another nest. "If the old bird profited by this occasional habit, or if the young were made more vigorous . . . . then the old bird, or the fostered young, would gain an advantage," which advantage would tend to produce by inheritance a propagation of the "aberrant habit." Surely this is very Midsummer madness.
Passing over the slave-making instinct of some ants, we must notice how by natural selection the hive-bee has come to build its wonderful cell. "He must (says our author) be a dull man who can examine the exquisite structure of a comb, so beautifully adapted to its end, without enthusiastic admiration." And yet it has arrived at this perfection, not by design of any creator, but simply by accidental variation, and natural selection of the best forms. The cell of the humble bee is very simple-that of the hive-bee very perfect and complex. But there is a Mexican bee, the Melipona domestica, whose cell is in some sort interme
† p. 217.
diate between the two. Now the problem is, how is the Melipona to be naturally selected and improved until it can build a cell like the hive-bee? It is solved in this wise:
"If a number of equal spheres be described with their centres placed in two parallel layers, with the centre of each sphere at the distance of radius x2, or radius × 141421 (or at some lesser distance) from the centres of the six surrounding spheres in the same layer; and at the same distance from the centres of the adjoining spheres in the other and parallel layer; then if planes of intersection between the several spheres in both layers be formed, there will result a double layer of hexagonal prisms united together by pyramidal bases formed of three rhombs; and the rhombs and the sides of the hexagonal prisms will have every angle identically the same with the best measurements which have been made of the cells of the hive-bee."-p. 227.
By what follows we are led to suppose that the Melipona must know all this,-must "somehow judge accurately" of "distances, &c.-must act upon it; and then "this bee would make a structure as wonderfully perfect as that of the hive-bee."* And further, "by such modifications of instincts, in themselves not very wonderful, hardly more wonderful than those which guide a bird to make her nest,-I believe that the hive-bee has acquired, through natural selection, her inimitable architectural powers."+
Truly, some philosophy, when translated out of its own idiom into the vernacular, sounds wonderfully like folly. Having advanced thus far in our analysis of Mr. Darwin's theory, we think it inadvisable to pursue the subject; for either these are the vagaries of a "distempered brain," or our author is attempting to play off a solemn hoax upon the scientific world; and to this latter theory we do begin "seriously to incline."
If, however, all this be intended as real argument and science, we will only in conclusion give a brief summary of the result of the entire argument :
1. The hypothesis of descent or development from one original form, or a few forms, does not appear to be required by any peculiarities of organization, affinities, or geographical distributions; none of these presenting any difficulties more insuperable on the ordinary theory of creation than by this theory.
2. This hypothesis is inadequate to account for the change of any one species into another, when applied to individual instances. It fails wholly also to give any rational history of the origin and development of new and complex organs, and à fortiori of elaborate instincts, such as those noticed.
* p. 227.
† p. 228.
3. There does not appear to be any evidence of the occurrence of "useful variations;" nor any prospect that these, minute as they are represented to be, can be of any avail in the struggle for life, against influences of such potency.
4. There is an entire lack of direct evidence as to any change in species. On the contrary, all history tells of their constancy. No new organ has ever been known to have appeared.
5. Neither between species as now existing, nor between those of which we find the records in the earth's strata, is there the slightest evidence of that fine gradation of transitorial forms which we ought to find had organic life been developed on this principle.
6. There is no evidence anywhere of the development of higher from lower forms. On the contrary, it appears that the higher tribes of any given race first appeared; and that the type after wards dwindled or was "degraded," before the advent of a higher order.
7. The assumption of evidence which may possibly exist some where, under the ocean, or in a metamorphic condition, is a gratuitous and dangerous hypothesis, by which any conceivalle theory might equally be supported:
Nevertheless, we rise from the perusal of this very remarka' le book, not more impressed with the singularly profound inaptitu of the entire hypothesis, than we are with the patience minifested by the author in the accumulation of facts,-the artistic skill with which he can impress them into the support of the most opposed positions,-and the fertility of resource and i domitable courage with which he battles for his theory, in the face of the most overwhelming odds of opposed phenomena;— qualities which, if better directed, could scarcely fail to enrol the name of Darwin amongst those which have become classic in Natural History.
THE FIRST ARCTIC EXPEDITION TO THE NORTHWEST.
THE Arctic Voyages of the mariners o. Elizabeth stand foremost among the heroic achievements of mankind. In our own day, all the resources of the world's first maritime power have been strained to the uttermost to arm our sailors against the perils of the ice and darkness. They go forth with the most admirable instruments and appliances of science, and with charts and observations which embody the result of three hundred years of daring and successful But these men went out with a gallant hardihood into unknown regions, in mere fishing boats; slightly manned and worse provisioned, sailing out, like the daring Vikings of old, with stedfast courage, into the bosom of the Arctic night. Sir Edward Belcher's splendidly-equipped searching expedition, and Martin Frobisher's two boats, "between twenty and five-and-twenty tunne apiece," well mark the difference-not, thank God, in courage, skill, and self-devotion, but in equipment-between the mariners of Elizabeth and our own. These Arctic sailors were the true successors of the Scandinavian sea-rovers, the most daring seamen whom the world has ever seen; who, battling with those stormy Northern seas, which were more terrible to Roman courage than the array of Cimbric battle on the plains of Italy, found high and joyful excitement in the conflict, and owned no masters even in the fiercest tempests which beat upon those ice-bound coasts. It is no exaggeration to speak of the joy, the fierce exultation, of the Northmen in their perilous conflicts with sea and storm. Beowulf, read the " Heimskringla," and you will see how this people found in the Northern Ocean the only enemy with which they felt themselves fairly mated; and there they learnt a contempt of minor perils, and a joy in difficult adventure, which has infused its noblest element into the blood of the most sober, sensible, and industrious, but, when pushed, the most daring and terrible nation of the earth. I often think of the sublime picture of the death and burial of the old Scyld, son of Scef, the father of Beowulf, with which that grand old epic opens. That people must have had a splendid imagination, the root of all high daring, who could bury their heaven-sent chief like this:
"At his appointed time, then, Scyld departed, very decrepid, to go into the peace of the Lord; they then, his dear comrades, bore him out to the shore of the sea, as he himself requested, the while that the friend of the Scyldings. the beloved chieftain, had power with his words; long he owned it. There upon the beach stood the ring-prowed ship, the vehicle of the noble, shining like ice, and realy to set out.
Then they laid down the dear prince, the distributor of rings, in the bosom of the ship, the mighty one beside the mast; there was much of treasure, of
3. There does not appear to be any evidence of the occurrence of "useful variations;" nor any prospect that these, minute as they are represented to be, can be of any avail in the struggle life, against influences of such potency.
4. There is an entire lack of direct evidence as to any change in species. On the contrary, all history tells of their constancy No new organ has ever been known to have appeared.
5. Neither between species as now existing, nor between the of which we find the records in the earth's strata, is there slightest evidence of that fine gradation of transitorial fin which we ought to find had organic life been developed on t principle.
6. There is no evidence anywhere of the development of hi from lower forms. On the contrary, it appears that the hi tribes of any given race first appeared; and that the type wards dwindled or was "degraded," before the advent of a h
7. The assumption of evidence which may possibly exists where, under the ocean, or in a metamorphic condition, gratuitous and dangerous hypothesis, by which any conce theory might equally be supported:
Nevertheless, we rise from the perusal of this very rem book, not more impressed with the singularly profound in of the entire hypothesis, than we are with the patience fested by the author in the accumulation of facts,-the skill with which he can impress them into the support most opposed positions,-and the fertility of resource domitable courage with which he battles for his the the face of the most overwhelming odds of opposed phenom qualities which, if better directed, could scarcely fail to e name of Darwin amongst those which have become d Natural History.