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plified in single organs, however wonderful, but in the co-adaptations and inter-dependence of entire organişms. Is human purpose, for instance, stamped on the destination of a balloon-unmistakeable from the conjunction of its texture with its contents; and shall we see no sign of higher purpose in the unique structure of a bird, with its incomparably more complicated apparatus for flight; the plumage combining so perfectly the conditions of warmth, lightness, and locomotive power, and the requisite buoyancy being subserved, not only by the inflation of air-cavities auxiliary to the lungs, but by the quill-like hollowing of the very bones ? 55 Shall we say that Thought underlies a silkbag, gaseously distended, while yet the marvellous living mechanism, as incapable as the other of self-production, but of which the other is so poor and bald a copy, implies no prevision of use ? Nay; "for by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportionably the Maker of them is seen.
en." But, besides the fabric, though in close sympathy and concert with the fabric, Natural Theology rests her argument on the instincts of animals.* God instructs as well as constructs. Recondite problems which have stood the siege of meditation ever since geometers began to think, and which Isaac Newton
left partially unsolved, surrender at last, and Eureka is cried over a very advent of illumination ; only, however, that the victorious human intellect may peruse at its leisure the anticipation of the achievement, and the faultless transcript of the solution, in the hive-bee's
It would of course be as reasonable to confound the brush with the painter, or the helm with the steersman, or the geometer's pen with the process of calculation it records, as this result with conscious forethought in the insect. If certain structures refer us of necessity to a Divine Architect, such instincts point as peremptorily to a Divine Implanter, and betoken the presence of a plenary inspiration. Not less clearly is the Bird a living balloon, than the Bee is an “animated tool.” 57 This impression is not of yesterday. An old observer of bees has given voice to it in undying verse :
His quidam signis, atque hæc exempla secuti,
29. If we except a passing cavil at the imperfect knowledge of optics displayed in the mechanism of the
* Appendix D.
eye,* Mr. Darwin can scarcely be said to have touched the evidence for design deduced from the felicities of fabric, and deep-lying adjustments, so profusely exemplified throughout the animal kingdom. He tells us indeed how the pigeon's feather may be varied, but not how the pigeon came to be feather-clad at all. He leaves us quite in the dark also as to the mode in which natural selection sets to work in the multiplying of airsacs, or in the boring of bones, to increase the facilities for flotation and flight. But he devotes a large portion of a chapter on Instinct, otherwise extremely graceful and interesting, to a hypothetical exposition of the processes by which the common hive-bee, Apis mellifica, might have distanced her less skilful kindred Melipona and Bombus; and how the wonderful phenomena of sexual suppression and vicarious labour might have arisen among the social insects of the bee and ant tribes generally. No one, since Touchstone's time, has set such store on the virtues, or so taxed the capacities of an If. A certain abstract theorem conceded, if Bombus or Melipona could be brought to put that theorem in practice, one huge stumbling-block would be removed from Mr. Darwin's speculative path. But this is the hitch. It is as much out of the question for Bombus or Melipona, not being a man, to see with Mr. Darwin's eyes, as it would be for Mr. Darwin, not being a bee, to work with Melipona's tools. Slight deflexions of habit, artificially provoked, in the more highly endowed insect, do not furnish the smallest presumption of the genesis of new endowments in its inferior sisterhood. “It may easily be supposed,” in these researches, is but a sorry substitute for, “It has actually been observed.” The true tokens of consummate geometrical prescience can never be simulated by tentative effort. Had Mr. Darwin lived two thousand years ago, his ceral experiments might have furnished a target for the shafts of Aristophanes ; 59 but, indifferent alike to savant and satirist, Melipona was then building her cells no better, and Mellifica no worse. Those explanations of the mystery of cell-making which really explain nothing are, however, moderation itself to the inimitable though unconscious legerdemain which converts an unanswerable and unblunted objection to our author's favourite solvent, drawn from the phenomena of insect sterility and caste, into the occasion of a panegyric on its power. It is his business to prove that natural selection has done certain wonderful things : See, he virtually says, what wonderful things, far beyond
* Appendix E.
my own expectation, natural selection can do 61 A more flagrant intrusion of unpruned fancy into a domain sacred to the severities of observation can scarcely be conceived. The social insects, like those lower in the scale, must have started, od Mr. Darwin's view, as ordinary male and female, with a common share of individual labour; on a par, in this respect, with a flock of geese, or a herd of cattle, or a community of mankind, Now let any breeder of cattle consider through what agencies a variety could be attained, of which only one birth in five should be a bull or a cow, the other four being natural neuters, devoted subjects of their perfect sister, but sworn foes of her spouse. It is an aptitude precisely analogous to this that has produced, we are asked to believe, the economy of the bee-hive. Or let any transatlantic admirer of the “domestic institution” of Formica rufescens, turn over in his mind the means by which every third man-child born on his estate should be ten times the size of the rest of the family; or each alternate female be fitted for a nurse while forbidden to be a mother; and he will have the measure of the intrinsic likelihood of the Darwinian doctrine, in its bearing on that insect and its confederates. It were idle to enlarge. There are worthier lessons to