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The St. Louis Republic. [volume] (St. Louis, Mo.) 1888-1919, December 23, 1900, Magazine Section, Image 34

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THE REPUBLIC: SUNDAY. DECEMBER 23. 1D0O.
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"The Progress of the Century
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1 - EVOLUTION.
HIHHIIIIillilliillllllllll!
'HIS article on Evolution, by Alfred Russell
Wallace, is the
by eminent men
sy
progress in the Nineteenth Century. The world's
literature, astronomy, surgery, medicine, religion
and other subjects that are involved in the great
world-movement of this wonderful century will be
discussed by their most notable living exponents.
The series will run for about fourteen weeks, and,
complete, will be a valuable review of the Nine
teenth Century's progress.
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ALFRED R.VSSELL WALLACE.
Alfred Russell Wallace and Darwin
worked along the same lines, nnd came to
tha same conclusions at the Fame time.
One, of tho most striking of coincidences
In tha literary and scientific world occurred
on a certain day in ISC3. Papers were to
U read before the. Llnnean Society of Kng
land, and Mr. Wallace, being In Asia, mailed
' his contribution to Mr. Charles Ljcll so
that It might ba road at tho meeting. It
sx-as) entitled "Tho Tendency of Varieties to
, Depart From Their Original Tj pe." At tho
Mma mooting Darwin's artlclo on "Tho
! Tendency of Species to Form Varieties" was
' Wad.
Tula was a strango coincidence. Two
thinkers, patiently laboring In far distant
fields, arrive at tho same conclusions, for
ward their views, which ore read on tho
Mma day at the annual meeting of a scleu
tlflo society of which they aro members.
Alfred Russell Wallace was born In Mon
mouthshire, England, in 14JL". and comes of
licotch ancestry, IIu was educated to bo a
land survevor and architect, the plan being
that ho form a partnership with an tUor
brother who had chosen that profession.
However, the mysteries of Nature call-tf
tJm, and bo answered.
Ho discarded his epeclal studies In ISIS, and
devoted himself to natural history. Ho was
with tha Dates expedition up tha Amazon
Xtlver. South America, from laU to liOJ.
Btudylng tho mjsterles of lifo In this almost
Unknown region, ho endured the heat of a
torrid sun. tho dangers of fever. Serpents
and Venomous Insects burrounded him. The
flora was charged with poison. I'or four
years tha disciple of scienco lived among
tho Indian tribes, collecting rpecimens of
vegetable and animal lifo which promised
to throw ljght on the great problem which
he was trying to unravel. Tho greater part
of this collection was lost at s.ea. Return
ing to England In lSi! he published his
"Travels on UioAmazon and Negro Rivers "
Later "Palm Trees of the Amazon and
Their Uses" appeared.
Still unsatlstfed. he went to tho Malay
Archipelago, wliero he remained eight
years. All this time Darwin was pursuing
tha same studies In other lands.
It was while ho was among tho Malavs
that he wrote tho paper on "The Tendency
of Varieties to Depart Prom Their Original
Tpe," and which camo to the samo con
clusions arrived at by Darwin.
Returning from tha Malay Archipelago In
ISO, ho brought with him more than S.00
Wrds, and over 100.000 etjmologlcal speci
mens, the classlfjlng and arranslng of
which occupied much of his attention for
several jears. In 1SG9 ho published in two
volumes his remarkable scientific work.
5 Evolution. ?J J
WRITTEN FOR THE SUNDAY REPUDIJC.
Among; the great and fertile scientific con
ceptions which have either originated or be
come firmly established during the Nine
teenth Century, tho theory of evolution. If
not tho greatest of them all, will certainly
take Its place In the front rank. As a par
tial explanation (for no complete explana
tion is possible to finite Intelligence) of tho
phenomena of nature It Illuminates every
department of science, from the study of
the xnost remote cosmic phenomena ac
cessible to us to that of the minutest or
Tanlsms revealed by tho most now erf ui m!-
tfrnrilnoQ wMla i.ni, .1. n . 1... -a I
----,-, ..u..w ui'w.i musical jjiuuic.il Ul
the mode of origin of tho various forms of
lite long considered insoluble It throws so
clear a light that to many biologists It
ems to afford as complete a solution, la
principle, as we can expect to Teach.
9
The Nature and Limits of
Evafotien
th objection which are un
first of a series of papers
on the record of human
"Tha Malay Archlprtarce" Followlrg wera
his "Contributions to tho Theory of Natural
Selection." "Geographical Distribution cf
Animals." "Tropical Nature," "Is-lord
Life," "Land Nationalization" and a largo
work on "Darwinism." published In l'S?.
"The Wonderful Century: Its Successes and
Its I'allures." appeared In 1S31
Mr. Wallace Is Interested In economln
problems, as well os In thosa which have
to do with natural history. Ho 1h president
of tho Land Nationalization Society of
England now. Ho has been an Investigator
of Spiritualism for jcarj. and In 1S75 his
Miracles and Modern Spiritualism" ap
peared. He has written many magazine ar
ticles on EClcntlflo and popular subjects.
Mr. Wallace Is now an old man. but he
betravs no signs of age, and no rvrrptoms
of physical or mental feebleness show
themselves. Not long ngo he talked about
tho Darwinian theory, eaylng:
"Darwin's fundamental principles have
never been shaken. Tor myself. I hava
complete confidence In thorn, and In tha per
manent Inllm-nca of hl9 work. I do
not bellevo In the transmission of acquired
characters, tho evidence seemtrg to bo
against It. and this la tha chief point on
which there Is a growth of scientific opinion
ngalnst Darwin. The discussion Is Mill pro
ceeding, naturalists now being about equally
divided. Herbert Spencer takes tha rama
view as Darwin, but Mr Prancls Gallon anl
Weissman between them have almost cer
i ' the
tainly proved tho nonhcridlty of .wqulre
variations. Rut neither of thaso questions
affect Darwin s fundamental principles."
Mr Wallace believes In recreation. Ha
finds amusement and Interest in chess plav
lng and In gardening lie ravs:
"Darwin was a continuous worker nt his
own great rubject; I am not. I Fhould not
bo happy without soma work, but I vary It
with gardening, walking, or novel reading.
Hven when in tho midst of wrlt'ng .1 book
I do not ceaso to read light literature."
Wallace admires the earlier books ef
Thomas Hardy, but does not caro for his
later works.
"I dislike." he savs, "the whole pessimis
tic school of writers I havo read two of
Hall Calne's bocks. "The Manxman" nnd "A
Son of Hagar," and they are full of misery.
horror, pain, trouble. I hato It. that 1
not human nature. Blackmora Is a great
genius. Last jear I again read "Lorna
Doonc" and went to explore the Doon? Val
ley. Of course, wo had been told that there
wns no Hich place, but we could not believe
thut; all tho surroundings and places aro
so accurately described. Now.' he w.nt on
genially, "I don't think a wilter ought to
mislead one like that!"
mad to th theory of evolution, and espe
cially to that branch of It which deals with
living organisms, rest upon a misconception
of what It professes to explain, and even of
what any theory can povs'bly expl iln. that
a few words. on Its nature and limits seem
to bo necessary.
Evolution, as a general principle. Implies
that all things In tho universe as we teo
them havo arksen from other things which
preceded them by a process of modification,
under the action of those all-pervading but
mysterious agencies known to us as "natur
al forces," or more generallj tho "laws of
nature." More particularly the term evolu
tion Implies that the process Is an "un
rolling" or "unfolding." derived probably
from tha way In which leaves and Ilowers
ara usually rolled up or crumpled up In the
bud and grow Into their perfect form by un
rolling or unfolding. Insects in the pupa
and vertcbtates In the embryo exhibit a
somewhat similar condition of folding, and
the word Is therefore very applicable
to an extensive range of phenomena; bat It
must not be taken as universally applicable,
slnco In pio material world there are other
By Alfred Russell Wallace. J
modM ol orderly chanse unflfr natural
lawn to whlcli tlie tfrni dnelopment r
tio!utlnn nr rijuilly appllcaliln Tlis "con
tlimlt" if ph)lcal p'irnumena as Illus
trated ly th liti- !lr William tir-no ! lS'H
ha.s tl'e bame rncral nicjntns. but etulu
t on Itr.pllrt mure than mere continuity or
m-ccMslon oomethlnir l!k crmth or defi
nite cbaxpe from form to form under tfi
action of unch&ncatile laws.
Tho point to be especially noted hero la.
that solution. en If It Is essentially a
true and complete tlieorv of Uie universe,
can only explain th existing conditions of
nature by sl.onlnc tint It lias been derived
from somo pre elstlr(r condition through
tho action of knonu forces and lam. It
nay alo show the hteh proh-iblllty of a
Flmllar derivation from a still eat Her condi
tion, but tht firther back we o tho more
un ertuln must bo our conclusions, while
v ran never mako ntiy real npproach to tho
iibsoluto beginnings of tlilns- Herbert
Spencer, and miny other thinkers before
him. have shown that If we try to rrallzi
tho absolute nature of th simplest phenom
ena, we nro Inevitably Hnd.-d Ither In n
corttriilletlon or In sumo iintlilnUibln propo
ottlori Thut. ttippose wo .ifK li matter In
Ilnltdy divisible or It It not If we ny It
K vm cannot think It out. slnco nil Infinity,
howtver it may bo stated In word Is really
t-r.thlnkable.
If we s.ij tVre l a limit th ultlmite,
Btom-then ni all slzo Is cominratlve. wo
can im.iina a belnj: to whom thH atom
eems as lare ai an apple, or even n house,
dots to us. and we thm find It quite un
thinkable that this ma's of matter houM
bo in Us nature absolutely Indivisible evn
bv an Inllnlte force. It follows thit all ex-plTnntior.-.
of phenomena can only be par
tial explanations. Tliry can Inform ui of
the 1 ict change of the last series of changes
which brought about th actual conlltlons
now e-rlstjne;, nnd they can often r nible ut
to pi ctlli t future changes to n. limited ex
tfnt. but lioth the inllnile past nnd the re
mote futuro aro alike beonJ our povvera.
Rise and Progress of Idea,
of Eolution.rt
If we trace, however briefly, the gradual
development of knowledge nnd speculation
on this subject, we "hall perhaps appreciate
more fully the advance we have really
m nl during the preent century.
Tho first speculations en the natu-e and
siurce of tho phenomena cf tho universe of
which wo have any knowledge are those of
no earner (ireek nhllosonhers. nrh ..
Th.ales. Anaxlmander, Anaxagorns and i:m
pedocles; nnd thv moro Important of
their teachings are embodied, with soma
npproach to nvstcm ard with much ncute
ness of reasnlng. In the great poem of tho
Katln author Lucretius "On the Nature of
Tilings."
i.ucret.us was nn absolute materlnllut
for though ho did not deny tl.a existence of
ine goua 30 refused thm any shale In tha
construction of the universe, which, ha
araln and again urges, arose by chance
after Infinite time, by the random motions
and collisions and entanglements of tha In
finity of atoms.
It Is when ho attempts to dal with the
origin of living organlms that tho absenes
of all krow ledge of chemistry; phvslology
ard histology renders hH task imrosslbla
and leads him Into what seem to us tha
wlldcit absurdities. Ha has an elaborate,
but very unconvincing, argument that sen
sation can arise out of atoms which hava
no scnsjtlon; and. taking- tha aonearanca of
worms, etc.. In the earth and in putrid mat-
,cl "3 rrooi mat tne aro still actually
produced do novo In It. ha argues that at
tome remote epoch tha now worn-out earth
was mere fertile and produced In like man
ner ail kinds of Animals. The first human
Infants ha supposes to have been formed at
tome very remote time In the manner fol
lowing: "For much heat and molstura
would then abound In tha fields; and. there
fore, when ever a suitable ppot offered
wombs would grow, attached to the earth"
by roots; and when Uio warmth of tho i.
.. c.. . a "qula ,nost "" o mil. To
the children tho earth wculd furnish food
the heat raiment, the grass a bed rich la
abundance of soft down. Wherefore,
,. nu uKdiii. i say, me earth with a
good title has gotten nnd keess the name
of mother, slnco sha of herself gave birth
to mankind, and at n time nearly fixed shed
forth every beast that ranges wildly over
the great mountains, and at tho same time
the fowls of tho nlr. with all their varied
shapes."
The fact that this mode of origin com
mended Itself to ona of the brightest Intel
lects of the first century II. C. enlightened
by the best thought of the Grecian philoso
phers, may enable us the better to appreci
ate the Immense advanco made by modern
evolLtlonlsts.
First Read Steps Toward
Evolution.
Wo havo now a great blank of fifteen oen
turte3 th dark ages of human progress
after which the era of observation nnd ex
periment began and for the first time men
really set themselven to utiidir nt,ir .!,.,
laving the foundation for all tho great' theo-
ioue:u uuvanres or our tlmo.
As leadtne- tn
next great step In theories of evolution
we must note the lifelong obnervntirm- e
Tyclio Brahe of tho apparent motions of tha
planets; the grand discovery of Kepler that
all these apparently erratic motions were
due to their revolution round the mm In tl
llptlo orblH. with a llxed ielatlon botwe-cn
their distance from the sun and their peri
ods of revolution, and Newton's epoch-making
theory of universal gravitation by which
nil tl ese facts and many others since dis
covered aro harmonized and cxplalrcd
Rut nil this Implied no law of dev elopment
and It was long thought that the solur svs
tera was tlxed and unchangeable that soma
altogether unknown or miraculous agency
must have set it going, nnd that It had In
Itself no principle of change or decay, but
might continue as It now Is to all eternity.
It was nt the very end of tho KIl-m,..!
Century that Laplace announced his "nebu
lar hjpotheis." tho llrst attempt ever trndo
to evplaln the origin of tho solar sjstcm un
der tho lnlluenco of the known l.-ins ,f .,..,.
tlun. gravltntioii and heat, acting upon alto- I
Ec-uier uiuerenc anieceoent conditions of
things a true process of evolution.
It Is no objection to his grand the
ories to urge that they do not explain tho
origin of the matter of the univerae. either
what It la or how It came to be where we
now find It. We can only take one tep at
a time, and ven If In these greater problems
ny further advance should be as jet de
nied us. It Is still a great thing to have been
able to take even ono secure step Into tha
vat and mjstcrloua depths of the lnter-rtc-llar
spaces.
Evolution of the Earth's
Crust,-i
Although Pvthagoras (WO B. c.) believed
thit sea and land must often have changjd
places, and a few other observers ut differ
ent epochs camo to the same conclusion,
jet. till qulto recent times, the earth was
generally supposed to have been always
very much us It Is row; people spoko of
"the eternal hllLs"; and the great mountain
ranges, the mighty ravines and precipice-,
as well as tho deep seas and oceans, were
believed to be the direct work of the Cre
ator. It was only In the latter half of tha
Eighteenth Century that a few observers
began to see the importance of studying the
naturo of the earth's crust. k far as It
could bo reached In ravines, quarries and
mines, and one of the most earnest of these
students. Doctor liuttoa of iiilabiygh.
had opened the,, in iT ,KK " "B'-blo period of time been clearly dcp.ct-
naturo would turn to that spot tl?, pores or ' 7 T ""''', . ,
the earth nnd constrain it te. h.m K .. hown to bo tho Inevitable results of real
after more than thirty years of travel and
study, published hin great work, "Tho The
ory of the llirth." which must ba ..int.ll
ered to bo tho starting point of mod-rn
ecology.
Hut. although Playfalr and a few others
upheld Mutton's views, they were too novel
to receive much support by his contem
poraries, and this was especially the case aa
regards the slow and continuous action of
exlittni; causes being tufllclei.t to nccount
for all the Isnown phenomena presented by
tho crust of the arth. llerce the belief In
catnstrophes and cataclysms In gr. at con
vulsions tearing mountains nsundr. and
vast floods sweeping over whole continents
continued to privall. till Anally banlhed
by the genius and perseverance of one man
-Kir Charles Ljell. Ills "Principles of Ge
ology" wns first puMlrhed In 1S33. and auc
ccsslve tdltlons, revised and often rreotly
extended, continued to appear till the au
thor's death forty-five jeans later.
In tho earlier jears of tho Nineteenth
Century the standard giologb-al work, both
In (Ireat Iirltaln und on tho Continent, was
Cuvier's "Kssay on the Theory of tin
Karth." In 1S-7 a fifth edition of tho i:ng
lish translation appeared, and there was a
German translation so late as 1S30-SU1I1-clmt
proofs of Its wide popularity. Yet this
work abounds In statements which nro pos
itively ludicrous to any ono conversant
with modern reology. It never nppeals to
known causes, but again and again nsumci
forces to bo at work for which no evidence
Is ndduced nnd which nro totally at v irl
anco with what wo sea In tho world to-day.
Tho method followed by L ell w in tho
very reverse of that of Cuvler. Instead of
assuming hastily that modern causes were
totally Inadequate, and aicallng constant
ly to purely Imagnlary and often Incon
ceivable catastrophes, 1.5 ell Investigate 1
the'o cauBCs with painstaking accuracy, ap
plying thi tests of survey and time meas
urement, fo as In many casts to prove that,
given moderately long periods of tlm not
a fow thousands only, but hundreds of
thousands of jears they were fully ade
quate to explain the phenomena. lie also
showed that the lmasnlary causes of Cuvltr
vould not explain the facts, for that every
where In the crust of tho earth we found
conclusive proofs of very sluw continuous
changes, exactly analogous to what now
occur, never of great convulsions, except
quite locally an we have trem now. Hi
showed that modern volcanoes had poured
out vast masses of melted rock during a
Rlng'e eruption, covering areas as exten
sive as these which any ancient volcano
could be proved to have ejected In nn
equal! ehort period; that strata wero now
In T.rccsts of formation conn arable In ex
tent urd thickness with any ancient strata:
that organic remains uro beln,: preserved
In them Just as In the older rocks; that tho
land Is almost everywhere rising or Elnklnir
as of old, that valleis are being excavated
und plateaus or mountains upheaved, that
earthquake chocks aro producing faults be-
1 r-cath tha eutfjes. that vij. tation is s
tili
preparing futuro coal teds; that limestone.
clays, sandstones, mctaphurlc and igneous
rocks aro all still beinj formed; and that,
tlvcn time and tho intermittent or continu
ous actlun of the causes wo can now traca
In operation, and nil the varied features of
tho earth's surface, as well as all th con
tortions and fractures which wo discover In
Its erust, and svCtS" other phenomenon sup
posed to nocesslu.!o catastrophes and cata
clvsms, will be-agala produced.
Lyeli's GeneraJizcvtions
Siregthcned.s
In tho massive volume of th later edi
tions of tha "Principles of Geologv" all
these points ara discussed and illustrated
with such a wealth of facts and such cogent
yet cautious rcasonlng'as have carried con
viction to all modern students. It affords
us perhaps tha very best vroof jet given of
evolution In ona department of tha universe J
that of the surface and tho crust of tha
earth we Inhabit. Not only have all tha
chief modifications during an almost unlm-
and comparatively well-known causes, such
as we now see at work around us.
The grand generalizations of Lyell hava
been strengthened sines his death by more
ccmplete Investigation of certain phenom
ena nnd their causes than were possible In
his day; while the only objections to them
seem to be founded, to home extent, upon
a misconception. Ho has ben termed a
"Uniformltarlan." and It Is alleged that It
la unphllosophlcal to tako tho limited
range of causes wo now see la action aa
a measure of thosa which havo acted dur
ing all past geological time. Rut neither
Lje.ll nor his followers make any such as
sumption. They merely Fay, wo do not
find any proof of greater or more violent
causes In action In past times, and we do
find many Indicators that tha great nat
ural forces then In action seas and iivora.
sun and cloud, rain and hall, frost and
mow, as well as the very texture und con
stituents of tho older rocks, and tho mods
In which the organisms of each aga ara
preserved in them must have been In their
a-eneral nature and magnitude very much
s they nre now. Other objections, such
as, that tho Internal forces wero greater
when the earth wns hotter, nnd that tidal
effects must havo 1 ccn more powerful
when the moon was nearer tha earth, are
altogether beside tho question until Wo can
obtain mora definite measures of past time
than we now posscfs In reference to both
geological and coni!caI phenomena. It may
well bo that tha phjslial changes above
referred to have been fo Flow that they
would have, produced no perceptibly In
creased effect at tho epoch of tho early
stratified rocks L ell's doctrlno Is rliuply
that of real ngalnst Imaginary caues, nnd
ho only denies catastropiirs and more vio
lent agencies in early times, because there
Is no clear evidence of their actual ex
istence, and also because known causes
are qulto competent to explain nil geologi
cal phenomena. It must be remembered,
too, that unlformltarians havo never lim
ited the natural forces of past geological
periods to tho precise limits of which we
have had experience during the historical
period. What tliry maintnin Is, that
forces of the Fame, nature and of tha same
ordi r of magnitude are adequate to have
brought about the evolution of tha crust
of tho earth as wo now find It.
Organic Evolution, Its Laws
and Ca.uses.
We now come to that branch of th sub
ject which la the most Important and dis
tinctive of our age, and which. In popular
estimation, alone constitutes evolution
tho modo of origin of the Innumerable spe
cies of animal nnd plant life which now
exist or have ever existed upon tho earth.
Tha origin of the different forms of Ufa
has till quite recent times been looked up
on na an almost Insoluble problem, al
though a few advanced thinkers, even In
tha Eighteenth Century, perceived that It
was probably the result of soma natural
piocess of modification or evolution, but
no force or law had been set forth and es
tablished In nny wav adequate to produce
It until the publication of Darwin's "Ori
gin of Species" In 103. In tha later sll
tlcns of that work Darwin has given a his
torical sketch of the progress of opinion on
the subject. I shall -therefore now only
notice a few great writers whom ha has
not referred to.
Wo have seen what an Impossible nnd
even ludicrous explanation had to be given
bv- Lucretius: and from his day down to
the middle of the Eighteenth Century no
advance had been made. Either the prob
loglcal doctrine of a special creation was
lent Wks not referred to at all. or the theo-
&
held to bs th only possible oro. Hut In
the middle of tho Eight . -ith Century tha
greut Pr nch raturalK. Puffon. published
his very Important work "Hi'olrc Natur-cll-."
In lit en voi tries ITiS-i:C7i. In
which, besides Uee'ib, th. . hara. ters
Hid habits of nil h. 'mals then l.i.o-vn.
ho Introduced much philosophical nt J spe
ulntlve thought, which would pruVably
have been r.irtle.l murti further had ha
not felt obHted to conform to th re
ligious prrji.illtrs of the age We .ir- in
debted to Mr Samuel Ilutlor for having
brought tog th. r -.1 the Important pas
sages of Iluffon m voluminous and now Httlo-
rca.l works bailing- upon the question of
evolution, aid it la from lib. volumo that 1
quote.
Bufforv's Clear
Deductions.
Ruffon lay utress on tha great resem
blance of all mammalia in Internal atruc
ture. show-ins thit the. most unllka crea
tures may be really alll-e tructurally. Jl9
i)b: rho hor for example, what can at
first sight stem moro unlike mankind? Yet
when we cumparo man an I hors point by
polnt and duall by detail, cur wonder Is ex
cited rather by tho resemblances than by
tl.a differences between them " He then
show a that all tha parts of tho skeleton
agree, nnd that It Is only In p-oport!on.
tho Increase of some bones mil thj fuu
rie.sion of others, that th.y differ, adding:
"If vo regard the matter thus, not only tha
nss nnd the horse, but even man himself,
the apes, etc., m'ght bo rrgnrdeil as form
ing membf rs of ouo and the same family "
Then, after a fow more Illustrations, ho re
marks: "If wo onco admit that there rro
families of plants and animals, so that tha
ass may te of the family of tho horsa
and that tho ona may only dlfTcr
from tho other by degeneration from
a common ancestor. w.. might be driven
to admit that tho ape Is of the fam
ily cf man. that ha Is but a degen
erate man, nnd that ho ond man hava had
a common ancestor if It were oneo
khi.un that we had right grounds for estab
lishing these families, if tho point wera
once gained that amoijr rlants and animals
there have been even a single species which
had been produced In tho couri of direct
descent from another species, then there I
no further limit to bo set to the power of
nature, and. wo ahoul.l not bo wrong in sup-
poslnff that with sunclent tlmo sha could
have evolved all other organized forru
from one primordial tvpe."
This Indicates clearly enough his own
opinion, but to ravo himself from tha c
cleslastlcal authorities ho at orco odds tl.U
caving clause: "Jtut no! It Is certain, from
Rov elation, that all animals have. alike been
favored with tho graco of an net of direct
creation, ard that tho Hrst pair of every
species Issued full formed from tha hands
of tho Creator."
Such examples of tf!nrmlnff religious
prejudice are frequent, but ho continually
recura to statements as to mutability which
neutralize them. Hero, for example, Ij a
broad claim for nature a.s opposed to crea
tion. Ho has been Bho.vlns how variable
ara rrany animals and how charges of
ford, climate and general sjrroundlngs ln
fluonco both their forms and their habits,
and then he exclaims: '
"What cannot naturo effect with such
means at her disposal? She can do nil ex
cept either create matter cr destroy It.
The so two extremes of power tha Deity has
rczered for himself only; creation and de
struction aro tho action of his omnipotence.
To alter and undo, to develop and renew
these are powers whlh ho Las handed over
to the charge of nature."
Hero wo have a claim for the no-vcr of
natar In tho modlflcatlon of tpecles which
fully comes up to tho requirements of tha
most advanced evolutionist,
able, too, how clearly ho
It Is remark-
perceived tha
great factors so lirportant for tha evolution Sir John Hcnchell expressed theauelvcs
of organisms, rapid multiplication, great strcr.gly against all theories of the truns
varlablllty. and tho Ftruggle for existence, mutation of species, but tha universal con-
Thus ho remarks: "It may be sail that the
movement of nature turns upon two lm-
movable pivots on
the illlmltal la fecund
lty which she has given to all Epecles. tho
other, tho Innumerable dinicultle whkh re
duce the results of that fecindlty and leave
throughout tlmo marly tho same quantity
of Individuals In every srccles." Hero the
term "dllhcultles" convsponls to tho "posi
tive checks" of Malthus, and to the "strug
gla for t xlstence" of Darwin, and ho again
ond again refers to variability n3 when ho
savs: "Hence w l.cn by soma chance, com
mon enough with nature a variation or
special feature makes Its appearance, man
has tried to perpetuate It by uniting to
C thcr the Individuals in which It l.aj ap
peared."
Goethe on the Meta.morphosi3
of PIa.nts,
Ruffon clearly understood artir.cls.1 ieeo
tlon. thoroughly appreciated tho rapid In
crease of all organisms, and equally
well saw that their Inordinate Increase was
wholly neutralized through such destruc
tive agencies as hunger, disease nnd ene
mle. ond at the samo time he had
unbounded faith la the power of naturo to
modify animal nnd vegetable, forms. Wa feel
nrsu'cd tint tl.Is great w-iter nnd original
thinker only needed freedom to pursue this
train of thought a llttln further nr.d he
would certalnlv have anticipated Darwin
tn-eat discovery of natural Eelectloi by a
w-hol century. Even a It Is. we must class
Mm as one of tho great pioneers of organlo
evolution
Tha next distinct rtep toward a theory of
organic evolution was made by the poet
Goethe nt the very end of tha Eighteenth
Century In hU views of tho metamorphosis
of plant". He ro'nted out the succesIve
modifications of the- leaf which produced nil
tho other essential parts of tha higher
llnnts -the simnle cctjledors or seed leaves
bceamo modified Into the variously formed
leaves of tho full v grown plants: these
again wcr successively modified into the
calyv. corolla, stamens nnd ovary of the
Tower He supposed this to bej due to the
Increased refinement of the sap undor tho
Influence of light nnd nlr, and to Indicate
the steps by which tho various parts of the
flower hnd been developed. It was. there
fore, n theory of evolution: but It wan very
unsatisfactory. Inasmuch as It In no way
accounted for the wonderful variety of tho
floral organs or Indicated any purpose
Ferved by the most prominent nnd con
spicuous part of the flower, tha highly col
ored and often strangely formed corolla. It
was also erroneous in suppoing that the
corolla was a modified calyx, whereas It Is
now known to be a modification of the sta
mens. Next came the rreat work of Lamarck In
the first decade of the Nineteenth Century,
in which he propos"d n general msii-m e.
evolution of the whole animal world. Hence
he mayibe termed the first systematic evo
lutionist. His sj stem has been rather fully
described by Lvcll. who. In his "Principles
of Geology." devotes a whole chapter to a
rummary of his doctrines; while Mr. Rut
ler give copious quotations In three chap
ters of his "Evolution, Old and New." nnd
any one who Is not acquainted with tho
original work of Lamarck should read these
two authors In order to understand how
wide was his knowledge, how Ingenious his
explanations and In how many important
points he nntlcipated the views both of
Lyell and Darwin. Rut he was half a cen
tury in advance of hi age. and his only
alleged causes of modification changed con
ditions. ue and dluse. habit and effort
were wholly insufficient to nccount for tha
vast rango of the phenomena presented by
the Innumerable minute adaptations of liv
lrg organisms to their conditions of life.
Ho even Imputed all the modifications of
domestic animal to the chan:ed conditions
ii;i!H!!lii!i;i!!l!!!ll!l!I!!Ii!!yil!!liIllllHi!i!!II!iiiiiiiiii!!!!i!IliIiili!!iiii!illHi!li!iliii!!j
of food and habits to which they have beta
subjected by man. maltlnc no reference to
the use of s.cle tion b breed. r3. In tl Is ro
apoct falling short of his great predecessor,
Ruffon.
Tho general laws which Lamarck deduces
from ht elaborate Btudy of naturo axe
tli. e.
"Ilrstlv that In every animal which has
not pas-e Its limit of development, th
more fnqueit and t.ustalnt.1 .1.1,1. yment
cf any uijan div.Iops and agrandiej it,
Mvh.g it power proj.ortluiiute- to tho dura
tion of Its cmp!o):u nt, whllo tho samo cr
Kau In default of constant use Incum- n
uenalbly weakened ai.d detcrM-atcd. d
creasii.jr Imperceptibly In powe-r until It
finally Uisnpp ars.
"b.cotuiiv That these gains or Iossm of
organic development, ciic to usa or JisUbO,
aru transmitted to offspring, provided tney
havo been eummon to both hexes, or to tho
animals from which tho offspring l.vi do
bcenled "
Tho whole force of this argument depends
upon tho second clause tha Inhe'ltance of
thcs Individual modifications duo to uto
and disuse. Rut no direct cvidenco of tai3
has ever been found, whllo there Is a gocd
deal of evld.neo bhow-lng that It does not
occur. AgIn. there aro many strut tu.es
which cannot havo been produced by use,
such, fcr example, as tha feathers of tho
peacock's tra.n. tho poison in tha serpen";'
fang . tho hard shells of nuts, tho prickly
covering of many fruits, tho varied armor
of the turtle, porcupine, crocodile nnd
many others. For these re-isons Lamarck's
views gained few converts; and altnough
somo of his arguments have been upheld In
recent j ears', tho fatal objections to his
general principle as a means of explaining
tna e.ulut.on of organic forms, has i.evcr
bren overcome.
lietwecntho periods of Lamarck and Dar
win many uuvanccs wero made which clear
ly pointed to a. general la.v cf evolu'lon In
nature. Such v.-ero Sir WilUam Grove's lec
tures on tho 'Correlation o tho l'ls) ileal
Fcrces," In 1SI2; Helinholz on tho "Corser
vatlsm of Lnergy," In 1SI7, and Herbert
fcpenccr's essay on "Tho Development Hy
pothesis." In liji Tha latter work vraa a
complete and uimost unanswerable argu
ment for a natural process of continuous
evolution of tho whole universe. Including
organic nature, man and scclal phenomena
It Is further extended In the later editions
of tho author's "First Principles," whlcii.
as a coherent exposition of philosophy- co
ordinating and explaining all human knowl
edge ex xho universe Into ono great a'.stam
of evolution, ever) where conforming to tha
aamo general principles, must be held to ba
1 one of tho greatest Intellectual achlevo-
incuts of tno Nineteenth Century. It left,
however, the exact method of evolution of
organisms untouched, and thus failed to
account for those complex adaptations and
a j pcaranees of design In tha various rtecles
of animals ai.d plants wh.ch hav always
been the stronghold of thosa who advo
cated sitclal creation. This difficulty was
met by Darwin's theory of "Tbo Origin of
Kpcclf-s by Means of Natural Selection."
published In li;?. nr.d tho series of works
that succeeded It; and to tha brief (ketch
of this theory tha remainder of our space
must ba devoted.
The Theory of ''Na.tura.1
Selection.",
Although. as v-e hava seen, a succession
of great writers end thinkers had for mora
than halt a century shown tho necessity
for some process of evolution as tho only
rational cr lntelllclble mode of origin of
existing species of animals and planti as
well as of tho vvholo phvslcal universe, yet
these views were by no means generally
accepted by the educated classes, while few
bodies of students were less Influenced by
them than zoologists and botanists, gen
erally known as naturalists.
Now. Darwin wrote especially for these
classes, and no ono know better than he did
' their great prejudice on this matter. Not
' enly had audi men an Sir Charles Lyell and
, tempt ard Indltrnatlon of naturalists as well
! R3 theologians nralnBt 'Tha Vestiges of
Creation," published anonvmously a few
years earlier od giving- a most temperata
and even religious exposition of the general
a-gumonts for the universality of evolution,
thowe.1 whnt any one might expect who ad
vecated end attempted to demonstrate a
a mllar theory. This acccunta for Darwla
writing- to Sir Joseph Hooker In 1S44. of hi
I eli g- "alment convinced that species are
rot tit Is like confessing a murder) Immuta
ble," and ngaln In 1S43 to the Reverend L.
Rlon.eCeld. that he now saw the way In
which new varieties become exquisitely
adapted to the external conditions of )lf
and to other surrounding beings, and ha
adds, "I am a bold man to lay myself open
to being thought a completo look and a
most ceiiucrat' one. it 13 only sy a con
sideration of the frame, of mind of even
adianccd thinkers at the time Darwin wa
preparing hLi work, anil rcmombciing how
small was the effect which had been pro
duced by Iluffon, Goethe, Lamarck, th
author of "Vestiges of Creation," and th
earlier writings of Herbert Spencer, that
wa can adequately realize th marvelous
work that ho accomplished. Lot us ccw
briefly consider the essential nature of this
revr theory, which In a few Drier jears be
came the established belief of the great
majority of the students of naturo. and
which also gnvo a now Interest In nature
to the wholo thinking world.
Tho theory of natural selection Is founded
upon a few groups of thoroughly ascer
tained and unlvcisally admitted facts, with
tho direct asd necessary result of thos
facta.
Restrictions of
Increase.
Tha first group of facts consists of the
great rowers of Increase of all organisms
and the circumstance that, notwithstanding
this great j early Increase, tho actual popu
lation of each species remains stationary,
there being no permanent increase. Now
these two facts wero recognized by Ruffon.
but though, of course, known to all subse
quent writers, were runy appreciated or
thought out to their logical results by non
of them. Lamarck, so far as I can ascer
tain, took no notice of them whatever.
Darwin has given Illustrations of these
facts In chapter lv of the "Origin of Spe
cies." and I have added others In the sec-,
ond chapter of my "Darwinism." That the
population of each species remains station
ary, with, of course, considerable fluctua
tions. Is both a matter of observation and
of reasoning The powers of increase of
all creatures are so great that If there are.
In any country room and food for a larger
number of any species they will be pro
duced In a car or two. It Is Impossible,
therefore, to believe that. In a state of na
ture where all kinds of animals and plant
have lived together as they best could for
thousands of jears. there can be any Im
portant difference In their numbers from
j ear to year or from century to century.
Now It Is as a consequence of these two
Indisputable facts that the struggle for ex
istence necessarily results. I'or if every year
each pair of animals or each plant produce
only te-n joung animals or plants (and this
Is very far below the average), and If the
adult life of thefo Is taken at ten Tears
(again Lelow the average of tho higher
plants and animals), then, unless soma or th
j pan Ms die tho whole of tho offspring must
cie ctr every jear; or. In other words, only
as many voung can survive as are ceces
Fary to replace tho old ones that die. Hence
tho deaths mii3t always (on the average
und In the long run) equal the births. This
terrible early destruction Is an absolutely
certain fact, as well as an Inevitable result
of tho two preceding facts, and It Is said
to be due to the htruggle for existence.
This struggle Is manifold In Its nature.
Individuals of tho same specle3 struggle to
gether fjr food, lor iUht. fur moisture; they,
tru-x! also against other species havfc.
tha same wants: trey struggle aalnst every
kind of en. my, from parasitic worms ejtj
Insects up to carnivorous animals: and tlijr
la a continual Ftrugglo with the forces 'of
nature frosts, rains, drouzhts. flotdj a
tempests. I
Spencer's "Survival of the ,
Fittest."
These varied causes of deSjnictIon may b
Feen constantly nt work by any one v.ha
looks for them. Tl.-y act from tha moraat
of birth, being moro especially destructive
to the vounrr; and as only one in ten or titty
or ii thousand (according to tl j rate of In
crease of tho particular species) can pes
sibly coma to tl.a full breeding- as-. v.a fel
coui'ielled to ask ourselves: V. hot determine
tho nlno or th; forty-nine or tno nlna hun
dred and ninety-nine, us the case may be,
which dlo and the onu which survives? Dar
win calls this process of extermination ona
of "natural belo.iiou" that Is. by thU proc
ess nature weeds out tho wca.c th un
healthy, tho unadaptcd. tho Imperfect la
any way. Of course, v. hat may ta called
chanco or accident produces many deaths of
Individuals othcrwiso well fitted to live, bat
n v.o nuns oi tno process solng on day by
day and j ear by j ear till only ona In a hun
dred of those bora In a given area are left
olive. It Is Impossible to suppose that th
ono which ha3 passed through all tha dan
gers and risks which have been fatal to. say
his ninety-nine relations was cot. In all th
faculties nnd qualities essential to tho con
tinuance of tho race, decidedly better organ
ized than the bulk of those which suo
cumbjd. Herbert Spencer'cal! tha process
tho 'survival of the Attest." and though
the term may not be strictly accurate la th
case of any one sperles In any ona year, yet
when we consider that the struggle Is gcicf
on every jear. during- the whole duration ff
each species, wo cannot doubt that, on th
whole, and In the long run. those which
survive are among the tittest. The otrugl
Is ro severe, to Incessant, that the rmallest
defect In any sense organ, any physical
weakness, any Imperfection la cortltutlon.
will almost certainly, at oca time or an
other, be fatal.
This continual weeding out of th less fit
la every eeneratlon, and with exceptional
severity In recurring adverse seasons, will
produce two distinct effects, whleh requha
to te clearly distinguished. The first Is th
preservation of each species In tho highest
atato of adaptation to the conditions of It
existence; and. therefore, so long as those
condition remain unchanged, the effect of
natural selection Is to keep each well-adatit-
ed species also unchanged. Tha recond ef
fect Is produced whenever the condition
vary. when, taking advantage of the varia
tions continually occurrirg In nil well
adapted and therefore populous species, th
same process will slowly but surely brina;
about completo adaptation to the new con
ditions. Of lato years, and chiefly since DarwIV
work3 were written, the variability of ani
mals and plants In a tate of nature ha
been carefully studied, by actual compart
on and measurement of scores, hundred
and even thousands of Individual of many
common, that ks, abundant and widely din
tributed. species; and It Is found that In al
most every case they vary greatly, and,
what Is still more Important, that every
organ and every appendage varies Inde
pendently and to a large amount. Some of
th best known of these facts of variation
are adduced la my "Darwin'sm." and ar
Illustrated by numerous diagrams, ant
much more extensive series have since beea
examined, always with the same general
result. Dy large variability is meant a vari
ation of from 10 to 13 prr cent ca each sld
of the mean size, this amount of variation
occurring In at least 5 or 10 per cent of th
whole number of Individuals, aad in every
organ cr part aa yet examined, external cr
Internal.
Now. aa the weedlns-out process Is so se
vere, only from one la ten to one la a hun
dred of those born BUrvlvlnjr to produc
young; the above proportion of variation
affords ample ecop for the telectloa of any
variation needed la order to modify th spe
cies so as to Drtnr It Into harmony with
new or changln; conditions. And thut will
bo the more easy and certain If v.' consider
how slowly land surface and climates un
dergo permanent changes; and these ar
certainly th kind of changes that Initiate
and compel alterations, first, perhaps. In
the distribution and afterwards In the struc
ture and habits- of epecles. It follows, there
fore, as an absolutely necessary conclusion
from the facts. If natural selection can anl
does keep each continually varj-Ing specie
In close adaptation to an uncharging- en
vironment, that It preserves the fixity of It
mean or average condition, and almost
every objector admits this. Then, given a
lowly changing environment, tha sim
rower must lnovltably bring about what
ever corresponding change Is needed fcr th
weii-telng and permanent survival of th
various species which are aubjected to thesa
charged conditions.
Nineteenth Century
Progress.!
Space will not permit a further considera
tion of the objection and difficulties alleged
by critic cf the theory. AH of these have,
I believe, beea fully answered, either by
Darwla or myself, many of tha moat recent
having beea discussed la review article
which will shortly be Published la a col
lected form under th title "Studies, Scien
tific and Social." Suffice It to eay here that
this theory of natural selection meaning
tho elimination of the lra3t fit and, there
fore, the ultimate "survival of the Cites?
has furnished a rational nnd precise ex-
T!lnH9flfln . fh. .na.,. . . - ..
u..u..w.. wa. M. .l7..13 Ui iXUapiUlIOll Oi JL.4 f
vaisi.uk urKoisins vo ineir conditions, ana,
therefore. of their transformation from th
te'les of distinct but allied specie which
occupied tha earth at some preceding epoch.
In this sense It has actually demonstrated
the "origin of 6pecles." and. by carryln;
back this process Btep by step Into earlier
and earlier geological times, we are nble
mentally to follow out the evolution of all
forms of lifo from one or a few primordial
forms. Natural selection has thus uppl!d
that motive power of change and adapta
tion that was wonting In all earlier at
tempts at explanation, and this has Ie3 to
Its very general acceptance both by natural
ists and by the great majority of thinker
and men of science.
The brief sketch now given of the prog
ress of human thought on th questions of
tha fact and the modo of the evolution of
tha material universe Indicates how great
has been the progress during tho Nineteenth
as compared with nil preceding centuries.
Although the phllo-nphlcnl writers of
classical times obtained a fow glimpses of
tha action of law In naturo regulating It
iuccesslve changes, cothlrg satisfactory
could be effected till tha actual facts baa
been better ascertained by tho whole body
of workers, who. during the last five cen
turies, have penetrated ever more and
mora deeply Into nature's mysteries and
laws. Dy their labors we became possessed
of such a body of carefufiy observed facte
that toward the end of the last century
such thinkers as Laplace and Hutton were
enabled to give us tho first rudiments of
theories of evolution as applied to tho solar
sjstem and tho earth's crust, both of
which have been greatly developed and
rendered more securo during the century
now- passing away.
In like manner Ruffon and Goethe may be
said to hav started the Idea of organlo
evolution, more systematically treated a
little later by Lamarck, but still without
any discovery of laws adequate to produce
the results we see everywhere In nature.
Tha bubject then languished, till after
twenty tars of observation and research
Charles Darwin produced a work which at
onco satisfied many thinkers that the Iona;
deslred clew had been discovered. Its ac
ceptance by almost the whole scientific)
world scon followed; it threw new light on
almost every branch of research, and It
will pronbably tako Its place. In the opinion
of future generations, a3 the crowning
achievement of tha Nineteenth Century.
11
1
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