Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Atlantic Monthly Volume 6, No. 34, August, 1860 by Various

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

his blood, and death with it.

Mr. Bernard kept these strange creatures, and watched all their habits
with a natural curiosity. In any collection of animals the venomous
beasts are looked at with the greatest interest, just as the greatest
villains are most run after by the unknown public. Nobody troubles
himself for a common striped snake or a petty thief, but a _cobra_ or a
wife-killer is a centre of attraction to all eyes. These captives did
very little to earn their living; but, on the other hand, their living
was not expensive, their diet being nothing but air, _au nature_. Months
and months these creatures will live and seem to thrive well enough,
as any showman who has them in his menagerie will testify, though they
never touch anything to eat or drink.

In the mean time Mr. Bernard had become very curious about a class of
subjects not treated of in any detail in those text-books accessible in
most country-towns, to the exclusion of the more special treatises, and
especially the rare and ancient works found on the shelves of the larger
city-libraries. He was on a visit to old Dr. Kittredge one day, having
been asked by him to call in for a few moments as soon as convenient.
The Doctor smiled good-humoredly when he asked him if he had an
extensive collection of medical works.

"Why, no," said the old Doctor, "I haven't got a great many printed
books; and what I have I don't read quite as often as I might, I'm
afraid. I read and studied in the time of it, when I was in the midst of
the young men who were all at work with their books; but it's a mighty
hard matter, when you go off alone into the country, to keep up with
all that's going on in the Societies and the Colleges. I'll tell you,
though, Mr. Langdon, when a man that's once started right lives among
sick folks for five-and-thirty years, as I've done, if he hasn't got a
library of five-and-thirty volumes bound up in his head at the end of
that time, he'd better stop driving round and sell his horse and sulky.
I know the better part of the families within a dozen miles' ride. I
know the families that have a way of living through everything, and I
know the other set that have the trick of dying without any kind of
reason for it. I know the years when the fevers and dysenteries are in
earnest, and when they're only making believe. I know the folks that
think they're dying as soon as they're sick, and the folks that never
find out they're sick till they're dead. I don't want to undervalue your
science, Mr. Langdon. There are things I never learned, because they
came in after my day, and I am very glad to send my patients to those
that do know them, when I am at fault; but I know these people about
here, fathers and mothers, and children and grandchildren, so as all the
science in the world can't know them, without it takes time about it,
and sees them grow up and grow old, and how the wear and tear of life
comes to them. You can't tell a horse by driving him once, Mr. Langdon,
nor a patient by talking half an hour with him."

"Do you know much about the Venner family?" said Mr. Bernard, in a
natural way enough, the Doctor's talk having suggested the question.

The Doctor lifted his head with his accustomed movement, so as to
command the young man through his spectacles.

"I know all the families of this place and its neighborhood," he

"We have the young lady studying with us at the Institute," said Mr.

"I know it," the Doctor answered. "Is she a good scholar?"

All this time the Doctor's eyes were fixed steadily on Mr. Bernard,
looking through the glasses.

"She is a good scholar enough, but I don't know what to make of her.
Sometimes I think she is a little out of her head. Her father, I
believe, is sensible enough;--what sort of a woman was her mother,
Doctor?--I suppose, of course, you remember all about her?"

"Yes, I knew her mother. She was a very lovely young woman."--The Doctor
put his hand to his forehead and drew a long breath.--"What is there you
notice out of the way about Elsie Venner?"

"A good many things," the master answered. "She shuns all the other
girls. She is getting a strange influence over my fellow-teacher, a
young lady,--you know Miss Helen Darley, perhaps? I am afraid this girl
will kill her. I never saw or heard of anything like it, in prose at
least;--do you remember much of Coleridge's Poems, Doctor?"

The good old Doctor had to plead a negative.

"Well, no matter. Elsie would have been burned for a witch in old times.
I have seen the girl look at Miss Darley when she had not the least idea
of it, and all at once I would see her grow pale and moist, and sigh,
and move round uneasily, and turn towards Elsie, and perhaps get up and
go to her, or else have slight spasmodic movements that looked like
hysterics;--do you believe in the evil eye, Doctor?"

"Mr. Langdon," the Doctor said, solemnly, "there are strange things
about Elsie Venner,--very strange things. This was what I wanted to
speak to you about. Let me advise you all to be very patient with the
girl, but also very careful. Her love is not to be desired, and"--he
whispered softly--"her hate is to be dreaded. Do you think she has any
special fancy for anybody else in the school besides Miss Darley?"

Mr. Bernard could not stand the old Doctor's spectacled eyes without
betraying a little of the feeling natural to a young man to whom a home
question involving a possible sentiment is put suddenly.

"I have suspected," he said,--"I have had a kind of feeling--that
she--Well, come, Doctor,--I don't know that there's any use in
disguising the matter,--I have thought Elsie Venner had rather a fancy
for somebody else,--I mean myself."

There was something so becoming in the blush with which the young man
made this confession, and so manly, too, in the tone with which he
spoke, so remote from any shallow vanity, such as young men who are
incapable of love are apt to feel, when some loose tendril of a woman's
fancy which a chance wind has blown against them twines about them
for the want of anything better, that the old Doctor looked at him
admiringly, and could not help thinking that it was no wonder any young
girl should be pleased with him.

"You are a man of nerve, Mr. Langdon?" said the Doctor.

"I thought so till very lately," he replied. "I am not easily
frightened, but I don't know but I might be bewitched or magnetized, or
whatever it is when one is tied up and cannot move. I think I can find
nerve enough, however, if there is any special use you want to put it

"Let me ask you one more question, Mr. Langdon. Do you find yourself
disposed to take a special interest in Elsie,--to fall in love with her,
in a word? Pardon me, for I do not ask from curiosity, but a much more
serious motive."

"Elsie interests me," said the young man, "interests me strangely. She
has a wild flavor in her character which is wholly different from that
of any human creature I ever saw. She has marks of genius,--poetic or
dramatic,--I hardly know which. She read a passage from Keats's 'Lamia'
the other day, in the school-room, in such a way that I declare to you I
thought some of the girls would faint or go into fits. Miss Darley got
up and left the room, trembling all over. Then I pity her, she is so
lonely. The girls are afraid of her, and she seems to have either a
dislike or a fear of them. They have all sorts of painful stories about
her. They give her a name that no human creature ought to bear. They say
she hides a mark on her neck by always wearing a necklace. She is very
graceful, you know, and they will have it that she can twist herself
into all sorts of shapes, or tie herself in a knot, if she wants to.
There is not one of them that will look her in the eyes. I pity the poor
girl; but, Doctor, I do not love her. I would risk my life for her, if
it would do her any good, but it would be in cold blood. If her hand
touches mine, it is not a thrill of passion I feel running through me,
but a very different emotion. Oh, Doctor! there must be something in
that creature's blood that has killed the humanity in her. God only
knows the mystery that has blighted such a soul in so beautiful a body!
No, Doctor, I do not love the girl."

"Mr. Langdon," said the Doctor, "you are young, and I am old. Let me
talk to you with an old man's privilege, as an adviser. You have come to
this country-town without suspicion, and you are moving in the midst of
perils. There is a mystery which I must not tell you now; but I may warn
you. Keep your eyes open and your heart shut. If, through pitying that
girl, you ever come to love her, you are lost. If you deal carelessly
with her, beware! This is not all. There are other eyes on you beside
Elsie Venner's.--Do you go armed?"

"I do!" said Mr. Bernard,--and he 'put his hands up' in the shape of
fists, in such a way as to show that he was master of the natural
weapons at any rate.

The Doctor could not help smiling. But his face fell in an instant.

"You may want something more than those tools to work with. Come with me
into my sanctum."

The Doctor led Mr. Bernard into a small room opening out of the study.
It was a place such as anybody but a medical man would shiver to enter.
There was the usual tall box with its bleached rattling tenant; there
were jars in rows where "interesting cases" outlived the grief of widows
and heirs in alcoholic immortality,--for your "preparation-jar" is the
true "_monumentum aere perennius_"; there were various semipossibilities
of minute dimensions and unpromising developments; there were shining
instruments of evil aspect, and grim plates on the walls, and on one
shelf by itself, accursed and apart, coiled in a long cylinder of
spirit, a huge _crotalus_, rough-scaled, flat-headed, variegated with
dull bands, one of which partially encircled the neck like a collar,--an
awful wretch to look upon, with murder written all over him in horrid
hieroglyphics. Mr. Bernard's look was riveted on this creature,--not
fascinated certainly, for its eyes looked like white beads, being
clouded by the action of the spirits in which it had been long
kept,--but fixed by some indefinite sense of the renewal of a previous
impression;--everybody knows the feeling, with its suggestion of some
past state of existence. There was a scrap of paper on the jar with
something written on it. He was reaching up to read it when the Doctor
touched him lightly.

"Look here, Mr. Langdon!" he said, with a certain vivacity of manner, as
if wishing to call away his attention,--"this is my armory."

The Doctor threw open the door of a small cabinet, where were disposed
in artistic patterns various weapons of offence and defence,--for he was
a virtuoso in his way, and by the side of the implements of the art of
healing had pleased himself with displaying a collection of those other
instruments, the use of which renders them necessary.

"See which of these weapons you would like best to carry about you,"
said the Doctor.

Mr. Bernard laughed, and looked at the Doctor as if he half doubted
whether he was in earnest.

"This looks dangerous enough," he said,--"for the man that carries it,
at least."

He took down one of the prohibited Spanish daggers or knives which a
traveller may occasionally get hold of and smuggle out of the country.
The blade was broad, trowel-like, but the point drawn out several
inches, so as to look like a skewer.

"This must be a jealous bull-fighter's weapon," he said, and put it back
in its place.

Then he took down an ancient-looking broad-bladed dagger, with a complex
aspect about it, as if it had some kind of mechanism connected with it.

"Take care!" said the Doctor; "there is a trick to that dagger."

He took it and touched a spring. The dagger split suddenly into three
blades, as when one separates the forefinger and the ring-finger from
the middle one. The outside blades were sharp on their outer edge. The
stab was to be made with the dagger shut, then the spring touched and
the split blades withdrawn.

Mr. Bernard replaced it, saying, that it would have served for side-arm
to old Suwarrow, who told his men to work their bayonets back and
forward when they pinned a Turk, but to wriggle them about in the wound
when they stabbed a Frenchman.

"Here," said the Doctor, "this is the thing you want."

He took down a much more modern and familiar implement,--a small,
beautifully finished revolver.

"I want you to carry this," he said; "and more than that, I want you to
practise with it often, as for amusement, but so that it may be seen and
understood that you are apt to have a pistol about you. Pistol-shooting
is pleasant sport enough, and there is no reason why you should not
practise it like other young fellows. And now," the Doctor said, "I have
one other weapon to give you."

He took a small piece of parchment and shook a white powder into it from
one of his medicine-jars. The jar was marked with the name of a mineral
salt, of a nature to have been serviceable in case of sudden illness in
the time of the Borgias. The Doctor folded the parchment carefully and
marked the Latin name of the powder upon it.

"Here," he said, handing it to Mr. Bernard,--"you see what it is, and
you know what service it can render. Keep these two protectors about
your person day and night; they will not harm you, and you may want one
or the other or both before you think of it."

Mr. Bernard thought it was very odd, and not very old-gentleman like,
to be fitting him out for treason, stratagem, and spoils, in this way.
There was no harm, however, in carrying a doctor's powder in his pocket,
or in amusing himself with shooting at a mark, as he had often done
before. If the old gentleman had these fancies, it was as well to humor
him. So he thanked old Doctor Kittredge, and shook his hand warmly as he
left him.

"The fellow's hand did not tremble, nor his color change," the Doctor
said, as he watched him walking away. "He is one of the right sort."



_Mr. Langdon to the Professor._


You were kind enough to promise me that you would assist me in any
professional or scientific investigations in which I might become
engaged. I have of late become deeply interested in a class of subjects
which present peculiar difficulty, and I must exercise the privilege of
questioning you on some points upon which I desire information I cannot
otherwise obtain. I would not trouble you, if I could find any person or
books competent to enlighten me on some of these singular matters which
have so excited me. The leading doctor here is a shrewd, sensible man,
but not versed in the curiosities of medical literature.

I proceed, with your leave, to ask a considerable number of
questions,--hoping to get answers to some of them, at least.

Is there any evidence that human beings can be infected or wrought
upon by poisons, or otherwise, so that they shall manifest any of
the peculiarities belonging to beings of a lower nature? Can such
peculiarities be transmitted by inheritance? Is there anything to
countenance the stories, long and widely current, about the "evil eye"?
or is it a mere fancy that such a power belongs to any human being? Have
you any personal experience as to the power of fascination said to be
exercised by certain animals? What can you make of those circumstantial
statements we have seen in the papers of children forming mysterious
friendships with ophidians of different species, sharing their food with
them, and seeming to be under some subtile influence exercised by those
creatures? Have you read, critically, Coleridge's poem of "Christabel,"
and Keats's "Lamia"? If so, can you understand them, or find any
physiological foundation for the story of either?

There is another set of questions of a different nature I should like to
ask, but it is hardly fair to put so many on a single sheet. There
is one, however, you must answer. Do you think there may be
predispositions, inherited or ingrafted, but at any rate constitutional,
which shall take out certain apparently voluntary determinations
from the control of the will, and leave them as free from moral
responsibility as the instincts of the lower animals? Do you not think
there may be a _crime_ which is not a _sin_?

Pardon me, my dear Sir, for troubling you with such a list of notes of
interrogation. There are some _very strange_ things going on here in
this place, country-town as it is. Country-life is apt to be dull; but
when it once gets going, it beats the city hollow, because it gives its
whole mind to what it is about. These rural sinners make terrible work
with the middle of the Decalogue, when they get started. However, I hope
I shall live through my year's school-keeping without catastrophes,
though there are queer doings about me which puzzle me and might scare
some people. If anything _should_ happen, you will be one of the first
to hear of it, no doubt. But I trust not to help out the editors of the
"Rockland Weekly Universe" with an obituary of the late lamented, who
signed himself in life

Your friend and pupil,


_The Professor to Mr. Langdon._


I do not wonder that you find no answer from your country friends to the
curious questions you put. They belong to that middle region between
science and poetry which sensible men, as they are called, are very shy
of meddling with. Some people think that truth and gold are always to be
washed for; but the wiser sort are of opinion, that, unless there are so
many grains to the peck of sand or nonsense respectively, it does not
pay to wash for either, as long as one can find anything else to do. I
don't doubt there is some truth in the phenomena of animal magnetism,
for instance; but when you ask me to cradle for it, I tell you that
the hysteric girls cheat so, and the professionals are such a set of
pickpockets, that I can do something better than hunt for the grains of
truth among their tricks and lies. Do you remember what I used to say in
my lectures?--or were you asleep just then, or cutting your initials on
the rail? (You see I can ask questions, my young friend.) _Leverage_ is
everything,--was what I used to say;--don't begin to pry till you have
got the long arm on your side.

To please you, and satisfy your doubts as far as possible, I have looked
into the old books,--into Schenckius and Turner and Kenelm Digby and the
rest, where I have found plenty of curious stories which you must take
for what they are worth.

Your first question I can answer in the affirmative upon pretty good
authority. Mizaldus tells, in his "Memorabilia," the well-known story
of the girl fed on poisons, who was sent by the king of the Indies
to Alexander the Great. "When Aristotle saw her eyes _sparkling and
snapping like those of serpents_, he said, 'Look out for yourself,
Alexander! this is a dangerous companion for you!'"--and sure enough,
the young lady proved to be a very unsafe person to her friends.
Cardanus gets a story from Avicenna, of a certain man bit by a serpent,
who recovered of his bite, the snake dying therefrom. This man
afterwards had a daughter whom no venomous serpent could harm, though
_she had a fatal power over them_.

I suppose you may remember the statements of old authors about
_lycanthropy_, the disease in which men took on the nature and aspect of
wolves. Aetius and Paulus, both men of authority, describe it. Altomaris
gives a horrid case; and Fincelius mentions one occurring as late as
1541, the subject of which was captured, still _insisting that he was a
wolf_, only that the hair of his hide was turned in! _Versipelles_, it
may be remembered, was the Latin name for these "were-wolves."

As for the cases where rabid persons have barked and bit like dogs,
there are plenty of such on record.

More singular, or at least more rare, is the account given by Andreas
Baccius, of a man who was struck in the hand by a cock, with his beak,
and who died on the third day thereafter, looking for all the world
_like a fighting-cock_, to the great horror of the spectators.

As to impressions transmitted _at a very early period of existence_,
every one knows the story of King James's fear of a naked sword and the
way it is accounted for. Sir Kenelm Digby says,--"I remember when he
dubbed me Knight, in the ceremony of putting the point of a naked sword
upon my shoulder, he could not endure to look upon it, but turned his
face another way, insomuch, that, in lieu of touching my shoulder, he
had almost thrust the point into my eyes, had not the Duke of Buckingham
guided his hand aright." It is he, too, who tells the story of the
_mulberry mark_ upon the neck of a certain lady of high condition, which
"every year, in mulberry season, did swell, grow big, and itch." And
Gaffarel mentions the case of a girl born with the figure of a _fish_ on
one of her limbs, of which the wonder was, that, when the girl did eat
fish, this mark put her to sensible pain. But there is no end to cases
of this kind, and I could give some of recent date, if necessary,
lending a certain plausibility at least to the doctrine of transmitted

I never saw a distinct case of _evil eye_, though I have seen eyes so
bad that they might produce strange effects on very sensitive natures.
But the belief in it under various names, fascination, _jettatura_,
etc., is so permanent and universal, from Egypt to Italy, and from the
days of Solomon to those of Ferdinand of Naples, that there must be some
_peculiarity_, to say the least, on which the opinion is based. There is
very strong evidence that some such power is exercised by certain of the
lower animals. Thus, it is stated on good authority that "almost every
animal becomes panic-struck at the sight of the _rattlesnake_, and seems
at once deprived of the power of motion, or the exercise of its usual
instinct of self-preservation." Other serpents seem to share this power
of fascination, as the _Cobra_ and the _Bucephalus Capensis_. Some think
that it is nothing but fright; others attribute it to the

"strange powers that lie
Within the magic circle of the eye,"--

as Churchill said, speaking of Garrick.

You ask me about those mysterious and frightful intimacies between
children and serpents of which so many instances have been recorded. I
am sure I cannot tell what to make of them. I have seen several such
accounts in recent papers, but here is one published in the seventeenth
century which is as striking as any of the more modern ones:--

"Mr. _Herbert Jones_ of _Monmouth_, when he was a little Boy, was used
to eat his Milk in a Garden in the Morning, and was no sooner there, but
a large Snake always came, and eat out of the Dish with him, and did so
for a considerable time, till one Morning, he striking the Snake on the
Head, it hissed at him. Upon which he told his Mother that the Baby (for
so he call'd it) cry'd _Hiss_ at him. His Mother had it kill'd, which
occasioned him a great _Fit of Sickness_, and 'twas thought would have
dy'd, but did recover."

There was likewise one "_William Writtle_, condemned at _Maidston
Assizes_ for a double murder, told a Minister that was with him after he
was condemned, that his mother told him, that when he was a Child, there
crept always to him a Snake, wherever she laid him. Sometimes she would
convey him up Stairs, and leave him never so little, she should be sure
to find a Snake in the Cradle with him, but never perceived it did him
any harm."

One of the most striking alleged facts connected with the mysterious
relation existing between the serpent and the human species is the
influence which the poison of the _Crotalus_, taken internally, seemed
to produce over the _moral faculties_, in the experiments instituted by
Dr. Hering at Surinam. There is something frightful in the disposition
of certain ophidians, as the whip-snake, which darts at the eyes of
cattle without any apparent provocation or other motive. It is natural
enough that the evil principle should have been represented in the form
of a serpent, but it is strange to think of introducing it into a human
being like cow-pox by vaccination.

You know all about the _Psylli_, or ancient serpent-tamers, I suppose.
Savary gives an account of the modern serpent-tamers in his "Letters on
Egypt." These modern jugglers are in the habit of making the venomous
_Naja_ counterfeit death, lying out straight and stiff, _changing it
into a rod_, as the ancient magicians did with their serpents, (probably
the same animal,) in the time of Moses.

I am afraid I cannot throw much light on "Christabel" or "Lamia" by any
criticism I can offer. Geraldine, in the former, seems to be simply
a malignant witch-woman, with the _evil eye_, but with no absolute
ophidian relationship. Lamia is a serpent transformed by magic into
a woman. The idea of both is mythological, and not in any sense
physiological. Some women unquestionably suggest the image of serpents;
men rarely or never. I have been struck, like many others, with the
ophidian head and eye of the famous Rachel.

Your question about inherited predispositions, as limiting the sphere of
the will, and, consequently, of moral accountability, opens a very wide
range of speculation. I can give you only a brief abstract of my own
opinions on this delicate and difficult subject. Crime and sin, being
the _preserves_ of two great organized interests, have been guarded
against all reforming poachers with as great jealousy as the Royal
Forests. It is so easy to hang a troublesome fellow! It is so much
simpler to consign a soul to perdition, or gay masses, for money, to
save it, than to take the blame on ourselves for letting it grow up in
neglect and run to ruin for want of humanizing influences! They hung
poor, crazy Bellingham for shooting Mr. Perceval. The ordinary of
Newgate preached to women who were to swing at Tyburn for a petty theft
as if they were worse than other people,--just as though he would not
have been a pickpocket or shoplifter, himself, if he had been born in
a den of thieves and bred up to steal or starve! The English law never
began to get hold of the idea that a crime was not necessarily a sin,
till Hadfield, who thought he was the Saviour of mankind, was tried for
shooting at George the Third;--lucky for him that he did not hit his

It is very singular that we recognize all the bodily defects that unfit
a man for military service, and all the intellectual ones that limit his
range of thought, but always talk at him as if all his moral powers were
perfect I suppose we must punish evil-doers as we extirpate vermin; but
I don't know that we have any more right to judge them than we have to
judge rats and mice, which are just as good as cats and weasels, though
we think it necessary to treat them as criminals.

The limitations of human responsibility have never been properly
studied, unless it be by the phrenologists. You know from my lectures
that I consider phrenology, as taught, a pseudo-science, and not a
branch of positive knowledge; but, for all that, we owe it an immense
debt. It has melted the world's conscience in its crucible and cast it
in a new mould, with features less like those of Moloch and more like
those of humanity. If it has failed to demonstrate its system of special
correspondences, it has proved that there are fixed relations between
organization and mind and character. It has brought out that great
doctrine of moral insanity, which has done more to make men charitable
and soften legal and theological barbarism than any one doctrine that I
can think of since the message of peace and good-will to men.

Automatic action in the moral world; the _reflex movement_ which _seems_
to be self-determination, and has been hanged and howled at as such
(metaphorically) for nobody knows how many centuries: until somebody
shall study this as Marshall Hall has studied reflex nervous action in
the bodily system, I would not give much for men's judgments of each
other's characters. Shut up the robber and the defaulter, we must. But
what if your oldest boy had been stolen from his cradle and bred in a
North-Street cellar? What if you are drinking a little too much wine and
smoking a little too much tobacco, and your son takes after you, and so
your poor grandson's brain being a little injured in physical texture,
he loses the fine moral sense on which you pride yourself, and doesn't
see the difference between signing another man's name to a draft and his

I suppose the study of automatic action in the moral world (you see what
I mean through the apparent contradiction of terms) may be a dangerous
one in the view of many people. It is liable to abuse, no doubt.
People are always glad to get hold of anything which limits their
responsibility. But remember that our moral estimates come down to us
from ancestors who hanged children for stealing forty shillings' worth,
and sent their souls to perdition for the sin of being born,--who
punished the unfortunate families of suicides, and in their eagerness
for justice executed one innocent person every three years, on the
average, as Sir James Mackintosh tells us.

I do not know in what shape the practical question may present itself to
you; but I will tell you my rule in life, and I think you will find it
a good one. _Treat bad men exactly as if they were insane_. They are
_in-sane_, out of health, morally. Reason, which is food to sound minds,
is not tolerated, still less assimilated, unless administered with the
greatest caution; perhaps, not at all. Avoid collision with them, as far
as you honorably can; keep your temper, if you can,--for one angry man
is as good as another; restrain them from injury, promptly, completely,
and with the least possible injury, just as in the case of maniacs,--and
when you have got rid of them, or got them tied hand and foot so that
they can do no mischief, sit down and contemplate them charitably,
remembering that nine-tenths of their perversity comes from outside
influences, drunken ancestors, abuse in childhood, bad company, from
which you have happily been preserved, and for some of which you, as a
member of society, may be fractionally responsible. I think also that
there are _special influences_ which _work in the blood like ferments_,
and I have a suspicion that some of those curious old stories I cited
may have more recent parallels. Have you ever met with any cases which
admitted of a solution like that which I have mentioned?

Yours very truly,

* * * * *

_Bernard Langdon to Philip Staples._


I have been for some months established in this place, turning the
main crank of the machinery for the manufactory of accomplishments
superintended by, or rather worked to the profit of, a certain Mr. Silas
Peckham. He is a poor wretch, with a little thin fishy blood in his
body, lean and flat, long-armed and large-handed, thick-jointed
and thin-muscled,--you know those unwholesome, weak-eyed, half-fed
creatures, that look not fit to be round among live folks, and yet not
quite dead enough to bury. If you ever hear of my being in court to
answer to a charge of assault and battery, you may guess that I have
been giving him a thrashing to settle off old scores; for he is a
tyrant, and has come pretty near killing his principal lady-assistant
with overworking her and keeping her out of all decent privileges.

Helen Darley is this lady's name,--twenty-two or -three years old,
I should think,--a very sweet, pale woman,--daughter of the usual
country-clergyman,--thrown on her own resources from an early age, and
the rest: a common story, but an uncommon person,--very. All conscience
and sensibility, I should say,--a cruel worker,--no kind of regard for
herself,--seems as fragile and supple as a young willow-shoot, but try
her and you find she has the spring in her of a steel crossbow. I am
glad I happened to come to this place, if it were only for her sake. I
have saved that girl's life; I am as sure of it as if I had pulled her
out of the fire or water.

Of course I'm in love with her, you say,--we always love those whom
we have benefited: "saved her life,--her love was the reward of his
devotion," etc., etc., as in a regular set novel. In love, Philip? Well,
about that,--I love Helen Darley--very much: there is hardly anybody I
love so well. What a noble creature she is! One of those that just go
right on, do their own work and everybody else's, killing themselves
inch by inch without ever thinking about it,--singing and dancing
at their toil when they begin, worn and saddened after a while, but
pressing steadily on, tottering by-and-by, and catching at the rail by
the wayside to help them lift one foot before the other, and at last
falling, face down, arms stretched forward----

Philip, my boy, do you know I am the sort of man that locks his door
sometimes and cries his heart out of his eyes,--that can sob like a
woman and not be ashamed of it? I come of fighting-blood on my mother's
side, you know; I think I could be savage on occasion. But I am
tender,--more and more tender as I come into my fulness of manhood. I
don't like to strike a man, (laugh, if you like,--I know I hit hard
when I do strike,)--but what I can't stand is the sight of these poor,
patient, toiling women, that never find out in this life how good they
are, and never know what it is to be told they are angels while they
still wear the pleasing incumbrances of humanity. I don't know what to
make of these cases. To think that a woman is never to be a woman again,
whatever she may come to as an unsexed angel,--and that she should die
unloved! Why does not somebody come and carry off this noble woman,
waiting here all ready to make a man happy? Philip, do you know the
pathos there is in the eyes of unsought women, oppressed with the burden
of an inner life unshared? I can see into them now as I could not in
those earlier days. I sometimes think their pupils dilate on purpose to
let my consciousness glide through them; indeed, I dread them, I come so
close to the nerve of the soul itself in these momentary intimacies. You
used to tell me I was a Turk,--that my heart was full of pigeon-holes,
with accommodations inside for a whole flock of doves. I don't know but
I am still as Youngish as ever in my ways,--Brigham-Youngish, I mean;
at any rate, I always want to give a little love to all the poor things
that cannot have a whole man to themselves. If they would only be
contented with a little!

Here now are two girls in this school where I am teaching. One of them,
Rosa M., is not more than sixteen years old, I think they say; but
Nature has forced her into a tropical luxuriance of beauty, as if it
were July with her, instead of May. I suppose it is all natural enough
that this girl should like a young man's attention, even if he were a
grave schoolmaster; but the eloquence of this young thing's look
is unmistakable,--and yet she does not know the language it is
talking,--they none of them do; and there is where a good many poor
creatures of our good-for-nothing sex are mistaken. There is no danger
of my being rash, but I think this girl will cost somebody his life yet.
She is one of those women men make a quarrel about and fight to the
death for,--the old feral instinct, you know.

Pray, don't think I am lost in conceit, but there is another girl here
that I begin to think looks with a certain kindness on me. Her name is
Elsie V., and she is the only daughter and heiress of an old family in
this place. She is a portentous and mysterious creature. If I should
tell you all I know and half of what I fancy about her, you would
tell me to get my life insured at once. Yet she is the most painfully
interesting being,--so handsome! so lonely!--for she has no friends
among the girls, and sits apart from them,--with black hair like the
flow of a mountain-brook after a thaw, with a low-browed, scowling
beauty of face, and such eyes as were never seen before, I really
believe, in any human creature.

Philip, I don't know what to say about this Elsie. There is a mystery
around her I have not fathomed. I have conjectures about her which
I could not utter to any living soul. I dare not even hint the
possibilities which have suggested themselves to me. This I will
say,--that I do take the most intense interest in this young person, an
interest much more like pity than love in its common sense. If what I
guess at is true, of all the tragedies of existence I ever knew this is
the saddest, and yet so full of meaning! Do not ask me any questions,--I
have said more than I meant to already; but I am involved in strange
doubts and perplexities,--in dangers too, very possibly,--and it is a
relief just to speak ever so guardedly of them to an early and faithful

Yours ever, BERNARD.

P. S. I remember you had a copy of Fortunius Licetus "De Monstris" among
your old books. Can't you lend it to me for a while? I am curious, and
it will amuse me.


My youth is past!--this morn I stand,
With manhood's signet of command,
Firm-planted on life's middle-land!

Behind, the scene recedes afar,
Where cloudy mists and vapors mar
The lustre of my morning-star.

I mark the courses of my days,
Inwound through many a doubtful maze,--
To marvel at those devious ways!

They lead through hills and levels lone,
Green fields, and woodlands overgrown,
And where deep waters pulse and moan;--

By ruined tower, by darksome dell,
The home of night-birds fierce and fell,
Wherein strange shapes of Horror dwell;--

Out to the blessed sunshine free,
The breezy moors of liberty,
And skies outpouring harmony;--

By palace-wall, by haunted tomb,
Through bright and dark, through joy and gloom:
My life hath known both blight and bloom.

And now, as from some mountain-height,
Backward I strain my eager sight,
Till all the landscape melts in night;--

Then, whispering to my Heart, "Be bold!"
I turn from years whose "tale is told,"
To greet the Future's dawn of gold:

High hopes and nobler labors wait
Beyond that Future's opening gate,--
Brave deeds which hold the seeds of Fate.

Thy strength, O Lord, shall fire my blood,
Shall nerve my soul, make wise my mood,
And win me to the pure and good!

Or if, O Father, thou shouldst say,
"Dark Angel, close his mortal day!"
And smite me on my vanward way,--

Grant that in armor firm and strong,
Whilst pealing still Life's battle-song,
And struggling, manful, 'gainst the wrong,

Thy soldier, who would fight to win
No crown of dross, no bays of sin,
May fall amidst the foremost din

Of Truth's grand conflict, blest by Thee,--
And even though Death should conquer, see
How false, how brief his victory!

* * * * *



"I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and
dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most
naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained,--namely, that
each species has been independently created,--is erroneous. I am fully
convinced that species are not immutable; but that those belonging to
what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other
and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged
varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species.
Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main,
but not exclusive means of modification."

This is the kernel of the new theory, the Darwinian creed, as recited
at the close of the introduction to the remarkable book under
consideration. The questions, "What will he do with it?" and "How far
will he carry it?" the author answers at the close of the volume: "I
cannot doubt that the theory of descent with modification embraces all
the members of the same class." Furthermore, "I believe that all animals
have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants
from an equal or lesser number." Seeing that analogy as strongly
suggests a further step in the same direction, while he protests that
"analogy may be a deceitful guide," yet he follows its inexorable
leading to the inference that "probably all the organic beings which
have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial
form, into which life was first breathed."[a]

In the first extract we have the thin end of the wedge driven a little
way; in the last, the wedge is driven home.

We have already (in the preceding number) sketched some of the reasons
suggestive of such a theory of derivation of species,--reasons which
give it plausibility, and even no small probability, as applied to our
actual world and to changes occurring since the latest tertiary period.
We are well pleased at this moment to find that the conclusions we were
arriving at in this respect are sustained by the very high authority and
impartial judgment of Pictet, the Swiss palaeontologist. In his review
of Darwin's book,[b]--much the fairest and most admirable opposing one
that has yet appeared,--he freely accepts that _ensemble_ of natural
operations which Darwin impersonates under the now familiar name of
Natural Selection, allows that the exposition throughout the first
chapters seems "_a la fois prudent et fort_" and is disposed to accept
the whole argument in its foundations, that is, so far as it relates
to what is now going on, or has taken place in the present geological
period,--which period he carries back through the diluvial epoch to the
borders of the tertiary.[c] Pictet accordingly admits that the theory
will very well account for the origination by divergence of nearly
related species, whether within the present period or in remoter
geological times: a very natural view for him to take; since he
appears to have reached and published, several years ago, the pregnant
conclusion, that there most probably was some material connection
between the closely related species of two successive faunas, and that
the numerous close species, whose limits are so difficult to determine,
were not all created distinct and independent. But while accepting, or
ready to accept, the basis of Darwin's theory, and all its legitimate
direct inferences, he rejects the ultimate conclusions, brings some
weighty arguments to bear against them, and is evidently convinced that
he can draw a clear line between the sound inferences, which he favors,
and the unsound or unwarranted theoretical deductions, which he rejects.
We hope he can.

[Footnote a: P. 484, Engl. ed. In the new American edition, (_Vide_
Supplement, pp. 431, 432,) the principal analogies which suggest the
extreme view are referred to, and the remark is appended,--"But this
inference is chiefly grounded on analogy, and it is immaterial whether
or not it be accepted. The case is different with the members of each
great class, as the Vertebrata or Articulata; for here we have in the
laws of homology, embryology, etc., some distinct evidence that all have
descended from a single primordial parent."]

[Footnote b: In _Bibliotheque Universelle de Geneve_, Mars, 1860.]

[Footnote c: This we learn from his very interesting article, _De
la Question de l'Homme Fossile_, in the same (March) number of the
_Bibliotheque Universelle_.]

This raises the question, Why does Darwin press his theory to these
extreme conclusions? Why do all hypotheses of derivation converge so
inevitably to one ultimate point? Having already considered some of the
reasons which suggest or support the theory at its outset,--which may
carry it as far as such sound and experienced naturalists as Pictet
allow that it may be true,--perhaps as far as Darwin himself unfolds
it in the introductory proposition cited at the beginning of this
article,--we may now inquire after the motives which impel the theorist
so much farther. Here proofs, in the proper sense of the word, are not
to be had. We are beyond the region of demonstration, and have duly
probabilities to consider. What are these probabilities? What work
will this hypothesis do to establish a claim to be adopted in its
completeness? Why should a theory which may plausibly enough account for
the _diversification_ of the species of each special type or genus,
be expanded into a general system for the _origination_ or successive
diversification of all species, and all special types or forms, from
four or five remote primordial forms, or perhaps from one? We accept the
theory of gravitation because it explains all the facts we know, and
bears all the tests that we can put it to. We incline to accept the
nebular hypothesis, for similar reasons; not because it is proved,--thus
far it is wholly incapable of proof,--but because it is a natural
theoretical deduction from accepted physical laws, is thoroughly
congruous with the facts, and because its assumption serves to connect
and harmonize these into one probable and consistent whole. Can the
derivative hypothesis be maintained and carried out into a system on
similar grounds? If so, however unproved, it would appear to be a
tenable hypothesis, which is all that its author ought now to claim.
Such hypotheses as from the conditions of the case can neither be proved
nor disproved by direct evidence or experiment are to be tested only
indirectly, and therefore imperfectly, by trying their power to
harmonize the known facts, and to account for what is otherwise
unaccountable. So the question comes to this:

What will an hypothesis of the derivation of species explain which the
opposing view leaves unexplained?

Questions these which ought to be entertained before we take up the
arguments which have been advanced against this theory. We can only
glance at some of the considerations which Darwin adduces, or will be
sure to adduce in the future and fuller exposition which is promised.
To display them in such wise as to indoctrinate the unscientific reader
would require a volume. Merely to refer to them in the most general
terms would suffice for those familiar with scientific matters, but
would scarcely enlighten those who are not. Wherefore let these trust
the impartial Pictet, who freely admits, that, "in the absence of
sufficient direct proofs to justify the possibility of his hypothesis,
Mr. Darwin relies upon indirect proofs, the bearing of which is real and
incontestable"; who concedes that "his theory accords very well with the
great facts of comparative anatomy and zooelogy,--comes in admirably to
explain unity of composition of organisms, also to explain rudimentary
and representative organs, and the natural series of genera and
species,--equally corresponds with many palaeontological data,--agrees
well with the specific resemblances which exist between two successive
faunas, with the parallelism which is sometimes observed between the
series of palaeontological succession and of embryonal development,"
etc.; and finally, although he does not accept the theory in these
results, he allows that "it appears to offer the best means of
explaining the manner in which organized beings were produced in epochs
anterior to our own."

What more than this could be said for such an hypothesis? Here,
probably, is its charm, and its strong hold upon the speculative mind.
Unproven though it be, and cumbered _prima facie_ with cumulative
improbabilities as it proceeds, yet it singularly accords with great
classes of facts otherwise insulated and enigmatic, and explains many
things which are thus far utterly inexplicable upon any other scientific

We have said (p. 116) that Darwin's hypothesis is the natural complement
to Lyell's uniformitarian theory in physical geology. It is for the
organic world what that popular view is for the inorganic; and the
accepters of the latter stand in a position from which to regard the
former in the most favorable light. Wherefore the rumor that the
cautious Lyell himself has adopted the Darwinian hypothesis need not
surprise us. The two views are made for each other, and, like the two
counterpart pictures for the stereoscope, when brought together, combine
into one apparently solid whole.

If we allow, with Pictet, that Darwin's theory will very well serve for
all that concerns the present epoch of the world's history,--an epoch
which this renowned palaeontologist regards as including the diluvial or
quaternary period,--then Darwin's first and foremost need in his onward
course is a practicable road from this into and through the tertiary
period, the intervening region between the comparatively near and the
far remote past. Here Lyell's doctrine paves the way, by showing that in
the physical geology there is no general or absolute break between the
two, probably no greater between the latest tertiary and the quaternary
period than between the latter and the present time. So far, the
Lyellian view is, we suppose, generally concurred in. Now as to the
organic world, it is largely admitted that numerous tertiary species
have continued down into the quaternary, and many of them to the present
time. A goodly percentage of the earlier and nearly half of the later
tertiary mollusca, according to Des Hayes, Lyell, and, if we mistake
not, Bronn, still live. This identification, however, is now questioned
by a naturalist of the very highest authority. But, in its bearings on
the new theory, the point here turns not upon absolute identity so
much as upon close resemblance. For those who, with Agassiz, doubt the
specific identity in any of these cases, and those who say, with Pictet,
that "the later tertiary deposits contain in general the _debris_ of
species _very nearly related_ to those which still exist, belonging to
the same genera, but specifically different," may also agree with Pictet
that the nearly related species of successive faunas must or may have
had "a material connection." Now the only material connection that
we have an idea of in such a case is a genealogical one. And the
supposition of a genealogical connection is surely not unnatural in such
cases,--is demonstrably the natural one as respects all those tertiary
species which experienced naturalists have pronounced to be identical
with existing ones, but which others now deem distinct. For to identify
the two is the same thing as to conclude the one to be the ancestors of
the other. No doubt there are differences between the tertiary and
the present individuals, differences equally noted by both classes of
naturalists, but differently estimated. By the one these are deemed
quite compatible, by the other incompatible, with community of origin.
But who can tell us what amount of difference is compatible with
community of origin? This is the very question at issue, and one to be
settled by observation alone. Who would have thought that the peach and
the nectarine came from one stock? But, this being proved, is it now
very improbable that both were derived from the almond, or from some
common amygdaline progenitor? Who would have thought that the cabbage,
cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi are derivatives of one
species, and rape or colza, turnip, and probably rutabaga, of another
species? And who that is convinced of this can long undoubtingly hold
the original distinctness of turnips from cabbages as an article of
faith? On scientific grounds may not a primordial cabbage or rape be
assumed as the ancestor of all the cabbage races, on much the same
ground that we assume a common ancestry for the diversified human races?
If all our breeds of cattle came from one stock, why not this stock from
the auroch, which has had all the time between the diluvial and the
historic periods in which to set off a variation perhaps no greater than
the difference between some sorts of cattle?

That considerable differences are often discernible between tertiary
individuals and their supposed descendants of the present day affords
no argument against Darwin's theory, as has been rashly thought, but is
decidedly in its favor. If the identification were so perfect that no
more differences were observable between the tertiary and the recent
shells than between various individuals of either, then Darwin's
opponents, who argue the immutability of species from the ibises and
cats preserved by the ancient Egyptians being just like those of the
present day, could triumphantly add a few hundred thousand years more to
the length of the experiment and to the force of their argument. As the
facts stand, it appears, that, while some tertiary forms are essentially
undistinguishable from existing ones, others are the same with a
difference, which is judged not to be specific or aboriginal, and yet
others show somewhat greater differences, such as are scientifically
expressed by calling them marked varieties, or else doubtful species;
while others, differing a little more, are confidently termed distinct,
but nearly related species. Now is not all this a question of degree,
of mere gradation of difference? Is it at all likely that these several
gradations came to be established in two totally different ways,--some
of them (though naturalists can't agree which) through natural
variation, or other secondary cause, and some by original creation,
without secondary cause? We have seen that the judicious Pictet answers
such questions as Darwin would have him do, in affirming, that, in all
probability, the nearly related species of two successive faunas were
materially connected, and that contemporaneous species, similarly
resembling each other, were not all created so, but have become so. This
is equivalent to saying that species (using the term as all naturalists
do and must continue to employ the word) have only a relative, not an
absolute fixity; that differences fully equivalent to what are held to
be specific may arise in the course of time, so that one species may at
length be naturally replaced by another species a good deal like it, or
may be diversified through variation or otherwise into two, three, or
more species, or forms as different as species. This concedes all that
Darwin has a right to ask, all that he can directly infer from evidence.
We must add that it affords a _locus standi_, more or less tenable, for
inferring more.

Here another geological consideration comes in to help on this
inference. The species of the later tertiary period for the most part
not only resembled those of our days, many of them so closely as to
suggest an absolute continuity, but, also occupied in general the same
regions that their relatives occupy now. The same may be said, though
less specially, of the earlier tertiary and of the later secondary; but
there is less and less localization of forms as we recede, yet some
localization even in palaeozoic times. While in the secondary period one
is struck with the similarity of forms and the identity of many of the
species which flourished apparently at the same time in all or in the
most widely separated parts of the world, in the tertiary epoch, on the
contrary, along with the increasing specialization of climates and
their approximation to the present state, we find abundant evidence
of increasing localization of orders, genera, and species; and
this localization strikingly accords with the present geographical
distribution of the same groups of species. Where the imputed
forefathers lived, their relatives and supposed descendants now
flourish. All the actual classes of the animal and vegetable kingdoms
were represented in the tertiary faunas and floras, and in nearly the
same proportions and the same diversities as at present. The faunas of
what is now Europe, Asia, America, and Australia differed from
each other much as they now differ: in fact,--according to Adolphe
Brongniart, whose statements we here condense,[a]--the inhabitants of
these different regions appear for the most part to have acquired,
before the close of the tertiary period, the characters which
essentially distinguish their existing faunas. The eastern continent
had then, as now, its great pachyderms, elephants, rhinoceros, and
hippopotamus; South America its armadillos, sloths, and ant-eaters;
Australia a crowd of marsupials; and the very strange birds of New
Zealand had predecessors of similar strangeness. Everywhere the same
geographical distribution as now, with a difference in the particular
area, as respects the northern portion of the continents, answering to a
warmer climate then than ours, such as allowed species of hippopotamus,
rhinoceros, and elephant to range even to the regions now inhabited
by the reindeer and the musk-ox, and with the serious disturbing
intervention of the glacial period within a comparatively recent time.
Let it be noted, also, that those tertiary species which have continued
with little change down to our days are the marine animals of the
lower grades, especially mollusca. Their low organization, moderate
sensibility, and the simple conditions of an existence in a medium
like the ocean, not subject to great variation and incapable of sudden
change, may well account for their continuance; while, on the other
hand, the more intense, however gradual, climatic vicissitudes on land,
which have driven all tropical and sub-tropical forms out of the higher
latitudes and assigned to them their actual limits, would be almost sure
to extinguish such huge and unwieldy animals as mastodons, mammoths, and
the like, whose power of enduring altered circumstances must have been

[Footnote a: In _Comptes Rendus, Acad. des Sciences_, Fevr. 2, 1857.]

This general replacement of the tertiary species of a country by
others so much like them is a noteworthy fact. The hypothesis of the
independent creation of all species, irrespective of their antecedents,
leaves this fact just as mysterious as is creation itself; that of
derivation undertakes to account for it. Whether it satisfactorily does
so or not, it must be allowed that the facts well accord with that

The same may be said of another conclusion, namely, that the geological
succession of animals and plants appears to correspond in a general
way with their relative standing or rank in a natural system of
classification. It seems clear, that, though no one of the _grand types_
of the animal kingdom can be traced back farther than the rest, yet the
lower _classes_ long preceded the higher; that there has been on the
whole a steady progression within each class and order; and that the
highest plants and animals have appeared only in relatively modern
times. It is only, however, in a broad sense that this generalization
is now thought to hold good. It encounters many apparent exceptions and
sundry real ones. So far as the rule holds, all is as it should be upon
an hypothesis of derivation.

The rule has its exceptions. But, curiously enough, the most striking
class of exceptions, if such they be, seems to us even more favorable to
the doctrine of derivation than is the general rule of a pure and simple
ascending gradation. We refer to what Agassiz calls prophetic and
synthetic types; for which the former name may suffice, as the
difference between the two is evanescent.

"It has been noticed," writes our great zooelogist, "that certain types,
which are frequently prominent among the representatives of past ages,
combine in their structure peculiarities which at later periods are only
observed separately in different, distinct types. Sauroid fishes before
reptiles, Pterodactyles before birds, Ichthyosauri before dolphins, etc.
There are entire families, of nearly every class of animals, which
in the state of their perfect development exemplify such prophetic
relations.... The sauroid fishes of the past geological ages are an
example of this kind. These fishes, which preceded the appearance of
reptiles, present a combination of ichthyic and reptilian characters not
to be found in the true members of this class, which form its bulk at
present. The Pterodactyles, which preceded the class of birds, and the
Ichthyosauri, which preceded the Cetaeca, are other examples of such
prophetic types."[a]

[Footnote a: Agassiz, _Contributions: Essay on Classification_, p.
117, where, we may be permitted to note, the word "Crustacea" is by a
typographical error printed in place of _Cetacea_.]

Now these reptile-like fishes, of which gar-pikes are the living
representatives, though of earlier appearance, are admittedly of higher
rank than common fishes. They dominated until reptiles appeared, when
they mostly gave place to--or, as the derivationists will insist, were
resolved by divergent variation and natural selection into--common
fishes, destitute of reptilian characters, and saurian reptiles, the
intermediate grades, which, according to a familiar piscine saying,
are "neither fish, flesh, nor good red-herring," being eliminated and
extinguished by natural consequence of the struggle for existence which
Darwin so aptly portrays. And so, perhaps, of the other prophetic types.
Here type and antitype correspond. If these are true prophecies, we need
not wonder that some who read them in Agassiz's book will read their
fulfilment in Darwin's.

Note also, in tins connection, that, along with a wonderful persistence
of type, with change of species, genera, orders, etc., from formation to
formation, no species and no higher group which has once unequivocally
died out ever afterwards reappears. Why is this, but that the link of
generation has been sundered? Why, on the hypothesis of independent
originations, were not failing species re-created, either identically or
with a difference, in regions eminently adapted to their well-being? To
take a striking case. That no part of the world now offers more suitable
conditions for wild horses and cattle than the Pampas and other plains
of South America is shown by the facility with which they have there run
wild and enormously multiplied, since introduced from the Old World not
long ago. There was no wild American stock. Yet in the times of the
Mastodon and Megatherium, at the dawn of the present period, wild
horses and cattle--the former certainly very much like the existing
horse--roamed over those plains in abundance. On the principle of
original and direct created adaptation of species to climate and other
conditions, why were these types not reproduced, when, after the colder
intervening era, those regions became again eminently adapted to such
animals? Why, but because, by their complete extinction in South
America, the line of descent was here utterly broken? Upon the ordinary
hypothesis, there is no scientific explanation possible of this series
of facts, and of many others like them. Upon the new hypothesis, "the
succession of the same types of structure within the same areas during
the later geological periods ceases to be mysterious, and is simply
explained by inheritance." Their cessation is failure of issue.

Along with these considerations the fact (alluded to on p. 114) should
be remembered, that, as a general thing, related species of the present
age are geographically associated. The larger part of the plants, and
still more of the animals, of each separate country are peculiar to
it; and, as most species now flourish over the graves of their by-gone
relatives of former ages, so they now dwell among or accessibly near
their kindred species.

Here also comes in that general "parallelism between the order of
succession of animals and plants in geological times, and the gradation
among their living representatives" from low to highly organized,
from simple and general to complex and specialized forms; also "the
parallelism between the order of succession of animals in geological
times--and the changes their living representatives undergo during their
embryological growth,"--as if the world were one prolonged gestation.
Modern science has much insisted on this parallelism, and to a certain
extent is allowed to have made it out. All these things, which conspire
to prove that the ancient and the recent forms of life "are somehow
intimately connected together in one grand system," equally conspire to
suggest that the connection is one similar or analogous to generation.
Surely no naturalist can be blamed for entering somewhat confidently
upon a field of speculative inquiry which here opens so invitingly; nor
need former premature endeavors and failures utterly dishearten him.

All these things, it may naturally be said, go to explain the order, not
the mode, of the incoming of species. But they all do tend to bring out
the generalization expressed by Mr. Wallace in the formula, that "every
species has come into existence coincident both in time and space with
preexisting closely allied species." Not, however, that this is proved
even of existing species as a matter of general fact. It is obviously
impossible to _prove_ anything of the kind. But we must concede that the
known facts strongly suggest such an inference. And since species are
only congeries of individuals, and every individual came into existence
in consequence of preexisting individuals of the same sort, so leading
up to the individuals with which the species began, and since the only
material sequence we know of among plants and animals is that from
parent to progeny, the presumption becomes exceedingly strong that
the connection of the incoming with the preexisting species is a
genealogical one.

Here, however, all depends upon the probability that Mr. Wallace's
inference is really true. Certainly it is not yet generally accepted;
but a strong current is setting towards its acceptance.

So long as universal cataclysms were in vogue, and all life upon the
earth was thought to have been suddenly destroyed and renewed many times
in succession, such a view could not be thought of. So the equivalent
view maintained by Agassiz, and formerly, we believe, by D'Orbigny,
that, irrespectively of general and sudden catastrophes, or any known
adequate physical cause, there has been a total depopulation at the
close of each geological period or formation, say forty or fifty times,
or more, followed by as many independent great acts of creation, at
which alone have species been originated, and at each of which a
vegetable and an animal kingdom were produced entire and complete,
full-fledged, as flourishing, as wide-spread and populous, as varied and
mutually adapted from the beginning as ever afterwards,--such a view, of
course, supersedes all material connection between successive species,
and removes even the association and geographical range of species
entirely out of the domain of physical causes and of natural science.
This is the extreme opposite of Wallace's and Darwin's view, and is
quite as hypothetical. The nearly universal opinion, if we rightly
gather it, manifestly is, that the replacement of the species of
successive formations was not complete and simultaneous, but partial
and successive; and that along the course of each epoch some species
probably were introduced, and some, doubtless, became extinct. If all
since the tertiary belongs to our present epoch, this is certainly true
of it: if to two or more epochs, then the hypothesis of a total change
is not true of them.

Geology makes huge demands upon time; and we regret to find that it has
exhausted ours,--that what we meant for the briefest and most general
sketch of some geological considerations in favor of Darwin's hypothesis
has so extended as to leave no room for considering "the great facts of
comparative anatomy and zooelogy" with which Darwin's theory "very well
accords," nor for indicating how "it admirably serves for explaining the
unity of composition of all organisms, the existence of representative
and rudimentary organs, and the natural series which genera and species
compose." Suffice it to say that these are the real strongholds of the
new system on its theoretical side; that it goes far towards explaining
both the physiological and the structural gradations and relations
between the two kingdoms, and the arrangement of all their forms in
groups subordinate to groups, all within a few great types; that it
reads the riddle of abortive organs and of morphological conformity, of
which no other theory has ever offered a scientific explanation, and
supplies a ground for harmonizing the two fundamental ideas which
naturalists and philosophers conceive to have ruled the organic world,
though they could not reconcile them, namely: Adaptation to Purpose and
the Conditions of Existence, and Unity of Type. To reconcile these two
undeniable principles is a capital problem in the philosophy of natural
history; and the hypothesis which consistently does so thereby secures a
great advantage.

We all know that the arm and hand of a monkey, the foreleg and foot of
a dog and of a horse, the wing of a bat, and the fin of a porpoise are
fundamentally identical; that the long neck of the giraffe has the same
and no more bones than the short one of the elephant; that the eggs of
Surinam frogs hatch into tadpoles with as good tails for swimming as any
of their kindred, although as tadpoles they never enter the water; that
the Guinea-pig is furnished with incisor teeth which it never uses,
as it sheds them before birth; that embryos of mammals and birds
have branchial slits and arteries running in loops, in imitation or
reminiscence of the arrangement which is permanent in fishes; and that
thousands of animals and plants have rudimentary organs which, at least
in numerous cases, are wholly useless to their possessors, etc., etc.
Upon a derivative theory this morphological conformity is explained by
community of descent; and it has not been explained in any other way.

Naturalists are constantly speaking of "related species," of
the "affinity" of a genus or other group, and of "family
resemblance,"--vaguely conscious that these terms of kinship are
something more than mere metaphors, but unaware of the grounds of their
aptness. Mr. Darwin assures them that they have been talking derivative
doctrine all their lives without knowing it.

If it is difficult and in some cases practically impossible to fix the
limits of species, it is still more so to fix those of genera; and those
of tribes and families are still less susceptible of exact natural
circumscription. Intermediate forms occur, connecting one group with
another in a manner sadly perplexing to systematists, except to those
who have ceased to expect absolute limitations in Nature. All this
blending could hardly fail to suggest a former material connection among
allied forms, such as that which an hypothesis of derivation demands.

Here it would not be amiss to consider the general principle of
gradation throughout organic Nature,--a principle which answers in a
general way to the law of continuity in the inorganic world, or
rather is so analogous to it that both may fairly be expressed by
the Leibnitzian axiom, _Natura non agit saltatim_. As an axiom or
philosophical principle, used to test modal laws or hypotheses, this in
strictness belongs only to physics. In the investigation of Nature at
large, at least in the organic world, nobody would undertake to apply
this principle as a test of the validity of any theory or supposed law.
But naturalists of enlarged views will not fail to infer the principle
from the phenomena they investigate,--to perceive that the rule holds,
under due qualifications and altered forms, throughout the realm of
Nature; although we do not suppose that Nature in the organic world
makes no distinct steps, but only short and serial steps,--not
infinitely fine gradations, but no long leaps, or few of them.

To glance at a few illustrations out of many that present themselves. It
would be thought that the distinction between the two organic kingdoms
was broad and absolute. Plants and animals belong to two very different
categories, fulfil opposite offices, and, as to the mass of them, are
so unlike that the difficulty of the ordinary observer would be to find
points of comparison. Without entering into details, which would fill an
article, we may safely say that the difficulty with the naturalist is
all the other way,--that all these broad differences vanish one by one
as we approach the lower confines of the two kingdoms, and that no
_absolute_ distinction whatever is now known between them. It is quite
possible that the same organism may be both vegetable and animal, or may
be first the one and then the other. If some organisms may be said to be
at first vegetables and then animals, others, like the spores and other
reproductive bodies of many of the lower Algae, may equally claim to
have first a characteristically animal, and then an unequivocally
vegetable existence. Nor is the gradation purely restricted to these
simple organisms. It appears in general functions, as in that of
reproduction, which is reducible to the same formula in both kingdoms,
while it exhibits close approximations in the lower forms; also in a
common or similar ground of sensibility in the lowest forms of both,
a common faculty of effecting movements tending to a determinate end,
traces of which pervade the vegetable kingdom,--while on the other hand,
this indefinable principle, this vegetable _animula vagula, blandula_,
graduates into the higher sensitiveness of the lower class of animals.
Nor need we hesitate to recognize the fine gradations from simple
sensitiveness and volition to the higher instinctive and other psychical
manifestations of the higher brute animals. The gradation is undoubted,
however we may explain it. Again, propagation is of one mode in the
higher animals, of two in all plants; but vegetative propagation, by
budding or offshoots, extends through the lower grades of animals. In
both kingdoms there may be separation of the offshoots, or indifference
in this respect, or continued and organic union with the parent stock;
and this either with essential independence of the offshoots, or with
a subordination of these to a common whole, or finally with such
subordination and amalgamation, along with specialization of function,
that the same parts, which in other cases can be regarded only as
progeny, in these become only members of an individual.

This leads to the question of individuality, a subject quite too large
and too recondite for present discussion. The conclusion of the whole
matter, however, is, that individuality--that very ground of _being_ as
distinguished from _thing_--is not attained in Nature at one leap. If
anywhere truly exemplified in plants, it is only in the lowest and
simplest, where the being is a structural unit, a single cell,
memberless and organless, though organic,--the same thing as those cells
of which all the more complex plants are built up, and with which every
plant and (structurally) every animal began its development. In the
ascending gradation of the vegetable kingdom individuality is, so to
say, striven after, but never attained; in the lower animals it is
striven after with greater, though incomplete success; it is realized
only in animals of so high a rank that vegetative multiplication or
offshoots are out of the question, where all parts are strictly
members and nothing else, and all subordinated to a common nervous
centre,--fully realized, perhaps, only in a conscious person.

So, also, the broad distinction between reproduction by seeds or ova and
propagation by buds, though perfect in some of the lowest forms of life,
becomes evanescent in others; and even the most absolute law we know in
the physiology of genuine reproduction, that of sexual co-operation,
has its exceptions in both kingdoms in parthenogenesis, to which in the
vegetable kingdom a most curious series of gradations leads. In plants,
likewise, a long and most finely graduated series of transitions leads
from bisexual to unisexual blossoms; and so in various other respects.
Everywhere we may perceive that Nature secures her ends, and makes her
distinctions on the whole manifest and real, but everywhere without
abrupt breaks. We need not wonder, therefore, that gradations between
species and varieties should occur; the more so, since genera, tribes,
and other groups into which the naturalist collocates species are
far from being always absolutely limited in Nature, though they are
necessarily represented to be so in systems. From the necessity of the
case, the classifications of the naturalist abruptly define where Nature
more or less blends. Our systems are nothing, if not definite. They
are intended to express differences, and perhaps some of the coarser
gradations. But this evinces, not their perfection, but their
imperfection. Even the best of them are to the system of Nature what
consecutive patches of the seven colors are to the rainbow.

Now the principle of gradation throughout organic Nature may, of
course, be interpreted upon other assumptions than those of Darwin's
hypothesis,--certainly upon quite other than those of materialistic
philosophy, with which we ourselves have no sympathy. Still we conceive
it not only possible, but probable, that this gradation, as it has its
natural ground, may yet have its scientific explanation. In any case,
there is no need to deny that the general facts correspond well with an
hypothesis like Darwin's, which is built upon fine gradations.

We have contemplated quite long enough the general presumptions in
favor of an hypothesis of the derivation of species. We cannot forget,
however, while for the moment we overlook, the formidable difficulties
which all hypotheses of this class have to encounter, and the serious
implications which they seem to involve. We feel, moreover, that
Darwin's particular hypothesis is exposed to some special objections. It
requires no small strength of nerve steadily to conceive not only of
the variation, but of the formation of the organs of an animal through
cumulative variation and natural selection. Think of such an organ as
the eye, that most perfect of optical instruments, as so produced in the
lower animals and perfected in the higher! A friend of ours, who accepts
the new doctrine, confesses that for a long while a cold chill came over
him whenever he thought of the eye. He has at length got over that stage
of the complaint, and is now in the fever of belief, perchance to be
succeeded by the sweating stage, during which sundry peccant humors may
be eliminated from the system.

For ourselves, we dread the chill, and have some misgiving about the
consequences of the reaction. We find ourselves in the "singular
position" acknowledged by Pictet,--that is, confronted with a theory
which, although it can really explain much, seems inadequate to the
heavy task it so boldly assumes, but which, nevertheless, appears better
fitted than any other that has been broached to explain, if it be
possible to explain, somewhat of the manner in which organized beings
may have arisen and succeeded each other. In this dilemma we might take
advantage of Mr. Darwin's candid admission, that he by no means expects
to convince old and experienced people, whose minds are stocked with a
multitude of facts all viewed during a long course of years from the old
point of view. This is nearly our case. So, owning no call to a larger
faith than is expected of us, but not prepared to pronounce the whole
hypothesis untenable, under such construction as we should put upon it,
we naturally sought to attain a settled conviction through a perusal
of several proffered refutations of the theory. At least, this course
seemed to offer the readiest way of bringing to a head the various
objections to which the theory is exposed. On several accounts some
of these opposed reviews specially invite examination. We propose,
accordingly, to conclude our task with an article upon "Darwin and his

* * * * *


_Modern Painters_. By J. RUSKIN. Vol. V. Smith, Elder, & Co. London.

The completion of a work of the importance of the "Modern Painters,"
which has occupied in its production the thought and a large portion of
the labor of fourteen years, is an event of more interest than it often
falls to the lot of a book to excite; but when, as in this case, the
result shows the development of an individual taste and critical ability
entirely without peer in the history of art-letters, the value of the
whole work is immensely enhanced by the time which its publication

The first volume of "Modern Painters" was, as everybody will remember,
one of the sensation-books of the time, and fell upon the public opinion
of the day like a thunderbolt from the clear sky. Denying, and in many
instances overthrowing, the received canons of criticism, and defying
all the accepted authorities in it, the author excited the liveliest
astonishment and the bitterest hostility of the professional critics in
general, and at once divided the world of art, so far as his influence
reached, into two parts: the one embracing most of the reverent and
conservative minds, and by far the larger; the other, most of the
enthusiastic, the radical, and earnest; but this, small in numbers
at first, was increased, and still increases, by the force of those
qualities of enthusiasm and earnestness, until now, in England, it
embraces nearly all of the true and living art of our time. But that
volume, professedly treating art with reference to its superficial
attributes and for a special purpose, the redemption of a great and
revered artist from unjust disparagement and undeserved neglect,
touched in scarcely the least degree the vital questions of taste or
art-production. It had no considerations of sentiment or discussion of
principles to offer: it dealt with facts, and touched the simple truths
of Nature with an enthusiastic fire and lucidness which were proof
positive of the knowledge and feeling of the author; and the public,
either conversant with those facts or capable of being satisfied of
them without much thought, abandoned itself to the fascination of his
eloquence and acquiesced in his teachings, or arrayed itself in utter
hostility to him and his new ideas.

The second volume was more abstruse and deeper in feeling, and
comparatively few of Mr. Ruskin's followers through the first cared
to get entangled in the metaphysical mazes of the second, and it is
generally neglected, although containing some of the deepest and most
satisfactory studies on the fundamental principles of art and taste
which have ever been printed.

The third and fourth volumes, coming up again nearer the surface, made
an application of the principles investigated to the material for art
which Nature furnishes; and here again the author found in part his
audience diminished among those who had at first been carried away by
his enthusiasm or silenced and convinced by his unhesitating dogmatism.
A partial reaction took place, owing not only to the change in the tone
of the "Modern Painters," but to the springing up of a new school of
painting, the consequence, mainly and legitimately, of the teachings of
the work,--the pre-Raphaelite,--which, at once attacked virulently and
immeasurably by the old school of critics, and defended as earnestly by
Mr. Ruskin, became the subject of the war which was still waged between
him and them. Turner in the meanwhile had passed away and was admitted
to apotheosis, the malignant critics of yesterday becoming the ignorant
adulators of to-day: _his_ position was conceded, but the hostility to
Ruskin was sustained with unabated bitterness on the new field. He
was demolished anew, and proved, many useless times over and over, an
ignorant pretender; the public in the meanwhile, even his opponents,
taking up in turn his _proteges_, as he pointed them out to their
notice. The effect of his criticisms in enhancing the value of the works
they approved would be incredible, if one did not know how glad an
English public is to be led. As a single instance,--a drawing which was
sold from one of the water-color exhibitions at fifty guineas, sold
again, after Ruskin's notice, at two hundred and fifty; and in the lists
of pictures sold or to be sold at auction, one sees constantly, "Noticed
by Mr. Ruskin," "Approved by Mr. Ruskin," appended to the title.

The third volume, being devoted to the correction of the ideas of Style
and the Ideal, to Finish, and a review of the Past Landscape-Painting,
recurs to Turner in its closing chapter, "On his Teachers"; the fourth
was given to Mountain _Beauty_, following the parallel of the first,
which treated of the _Truth_ of Mountains, and bearing as its burden of
moral the expression of that Ideal by Turner; and the fifth now comes to
conclude the investigations on the Ideal by chapters: first, on "Leaf
Beauty," an exceedingly interesting investigation of the development
of the forms of trees and plants as concerned with the laws of beauty;
second, "Cloud Beauty"; and then of the "Ideas of Relation," in which
the author comes finally to the demonstration of the right of Turner to
his position amongst the thinking and poetic painters.

From the first division, "Leaf Beauty," we must make one extract.
The author has been speaking of the, influence of the Pine on Swiss

"But the point which I desire the reader to note is, that the character
of the scene which, if any, appears to have been impressive to the
inhabitant is not that which we ourselves feel when we enter the
district. It was not from their lakes, nor their cliffs, nor their
glaciers, though these were all peculiarly their possession, that the
three venerable cantons or states received their name. They were not
called the States of the Rock, nor the States of the Lake, but the
States of the _Forest_. And the one of the three which contains the most
touching record of the spiritual power of Swiss religion, in the name of
the convent of the 'Hill of Angels,' has for its own none but the sweet,
childish name of 'Under the Woods.'

"And, indeed, you may pass under them, if, leaving the most sacred spot
in Swiss history, the Meadow of the Three Fountains, you bid the boatman
row southward a little way by the Bay of Uri. Steepest there, on its
western side, the walls of its rocks ascend to heaven. Far in the blue
of evening, like a great cathedral-pavement, lies the lake in its
darkness; and you may hear the whisper of innumerable falling waters
return from the hollows of the cliff like the voices of a multitude
praying under their breath. From time to time, the beat of a wave, slow
lifted, where the rocks lean over the black depth, dies heavily as the
last note of a requiem. Opposite, green with steep grass and set with
chalet villages, the Tron Alp rises in one solemn glow of pastoral light
and peace; and above, against the clouds of twilight, ghostly on the
gray precipice, stand, myriad by myriad, the shadowy armies of the
Unterwalden pine.

"I have seen that it is possible for the stranger to pass through this
great chapel, with its font of waters, and mountain pillars, and vaults
of cloud, without being touched by one noble thought or stirred by any
sacred passion; but for those who received from its waves the baptism
of their youth, and learned beneath its rocks the fidelity of their
manhood, and watched amidst its clouds the likeness of the dream of
life, with the eyes of age,--for these I will not believe that the
mountain-shrine was built or the calm of its forest-shadows guarded by
their God in vain."

But perhaps that conclusion of Ruskin's, in the new volume, which will
most interest his earnest readers, is that the Venetian school is _the
only religious school that has ever existed_. So much has Ruskin's
development seemed to contradict itself, that one is scarcely surprised
at one conclusion being apparently opposed to the former one; but a
change so great as this, from Giotto, Perugino, and Cima, to Tintoret,
Titian, and Veronese, as the religious ideals, will, indeed, amaze all
who read it. Yet this is but the logical consequence of his progression
hitherto. If he commenced with a belief that asceticism was religion, he
would recognize Perugino and Giotto as the true religious artists; but
if, as seems to be the case, he has learned at last that religion is a
thing of daily life, mingling in all that we do, caring for body as well
as soul, sense as well as spirit, and that a complete man must be a
man who _lives_ in every sense of the word, then the Venetians, as the
painters of the truth of life in _all_ its joy and sorrow, are the true
painters, and the only ones whose art was inhabited by a religion worth

It is interesting to follow what are called Ruskin's contradictions and
see how perfectly they represent the whole system of artistic truth, as
seen from the different points of a young artist's or student's growth
up to mature and ripened judgment; so that there is no stage of artistic
development which has not some form of truth particularly adapted to it,
in the "Modern Painters." If it be urged that the book should have been
written only from the point of final development, it can only be said
that no true book will ever he so written, for no man can ever be
certain of his having attained final truth. "Modern Painters" has
value in this very showing of the critical development, which to an
intelligent student is greater than that a complete and infallible guide
could have.

The chapter on Invention is full of the most delightful artistic truth,
and shows completely, by copious illustrations, how well Turner deserved
the rank Ruskin gives him amongst great composers. The analyses of the
compositions of Turner are most curious and interesting, but, of course,
depend on the accompanying plates. Some most valuable mental philosophy
bearing on the production of art-works concludes Part VIII., which
is devoted to "Invention Formal," of which we quote the concluding

"Until the feelings can give strength enough to the will to enable it
to conquer them, they are not strong enough. If you cannot leave your
picture at any moment, cannot turn from it and go on with another while
the color is drying, cannot work at any part of it you choose with equal
contentment, you have not firm enough grasp of it.

"It follows, also, that no vain or selfish person can possibly paint,
in the noble sense of the word. Vanity and selfishness are troublous,
eager, anxious, petulant: painting can only be done in calm of mind.
Resolution is not enough to secure this; it must be secured by
disposition as well. You may resolve to think of your picture only; but,
if you have been fretted before beginning, no manly or clear grasp of
it will be possible for you. No forced calm is calm enough: only honest
calm, natural calm. You might as well try by external pressure to smooth
a lake till it could reflect the sky, as by violence of effort to secure
the peace through which only you can reach imagination. That peace must
come in its own time, as the waters settle themselves into clearness as
well as quietness: you can no more filter your mind into purity than you
can compress it into calmness; you must keep it pure, if you would have
it pure; and throw no stones into it, if you would have it quiet. Great
courage and self-command may to a certain extent give power of painting
without the true calmness underneath, but never of doing first-rate
work. There is sufficient evidence of this in even what we know of great
men, though of the greatest we nearly always know the least (and that
necessarily; they being very silent, and not much given to setting
themselves forth to questioners,--apt to be contemptuously reserved no
less than unselfishly). But in such writings and sayings as we possess
of theirs we may trace a quite curious gentleness and serene courtesy.
Rubens's letters are almost ludicrous in their unhurried politeness.
Reynolds, swiftest of painters, was gentlest of companions; so also
Velasquez, Titian, and Veronese.

"It is gratuitous to add that no shallow or petty person can paint. Mere
cleverness or special gift never made an artist. It is only perfectness
of mind, unity, depth, decision, the highest qualities, in fine, of the
intellect, which will form the imagination.

"And, lastly, no false person can paint. A person false at heart may,
when it suits his purposes, seize a stray truth here or there; but the
relations of truth, its perfectness, that which makes it wholesome
truth, he can never perceive. As wholeness and wholesomeness go
together, so also sight with sincerity; it is only the constant desire
of and submissiveness to truth, which can measure its strange angles
and mark its infinite aspects, and fit them and knit them into sacred

"Sacred I call it deliberately; for it is thus in the most accurate
senses, humble as well as helpful,--meek in its receiving as magnificent
in its disposing; the name it bears being rightly given even to
invention formal, not because it forms, but because it finds. For you
cannot find a lie; you must make it for yourself. False things may be
imagined, and false things composed; but only truth can be invented."

One of those cardinal doctrines by which we may learn the bearings of a
writer's system of truth is that of Ruskin's of the intimate connection
between landscape art and humanity.

"Fragrant tissue of flowers, golden circlet of clouds, are only fair
when they meet the fondness of human thoughts and glorify human visions
of heaven.

"It is the leaning on this truth which more than any other has been the
distinctive character of all my own past work. And in closing a series
of art-studies, prolonged during so many years, it may be perhaps
permitted me to point out this specialty,--the rather that it has been,
of all their characters, the one most denied. I constantly see that the
same thing takes place in the estimation formed by the modern public of
the work of almost any true person, living or dead. It is not needful
to state here the causes of such error; but the fact is indeed so, that
precisely the distinctive root and leading force of any true man's work
and way are the things denied him.

"And in these books of mine, their distinctive character, as essays on
art, is their bringing everything to a root in human passion or human
hope. Arising first not in any desire to explain the principles of art,
but in the endeavor to defend an individual painter from injustice, they
have been colored throughout, nay, continually altered in shape, and
even warped and broken, by digressions respecting social questions,
which had for me an interest tenfold greater than the work I had been
forced into undertaking. Every principle of painting which I have
stated is traced to some vital or spiritual fact; and in my works on
architecture the preference accorded finally to one school over another
is founded on a comparison of their influences on the life of the
workman,--a question by all other writers on the subject of architecture
wholly forgotten or despised.

"The essential connection of the power of landscape with human emotion
is not less certain because in many impressive pictures the link is
slight or local. That the connection should exist at a single point is
all that we need.... That difference, and more, exists between the power
of Nature through which humanity is seen, and her power in the desert.
Desert,--whether of leaf or sand,--true desertness, is not in the want
of leaves, but of life. Where humanity is not and was not, the best
natural beauty is more than vain. It is even terrible; not as the
dress cast aside from the body, but as an embroidered shroud hiding a

The volume, as a whole, will be found less dogmatic, calmer, more
convincing, and more directly applicable to artistic judgment, than any
of the others. There is the same love of mysticism and undermeanings,
but freighted with deeper and more central truths: a charming conclusion
to a fourteen-years' diary of such study of Art and Nature, so severe,
so unremitting, as never critic gave before.

_Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb._ By W.W. GOODWIN,
Ph.D. Cambridge: Sever and Francis.

Grammarians had once a simple way of disposing of the subject on which
Professor Goodwin has given us this elaborate treatise of three hundred

In the Greek Grammar of the Messieurs de Port Royal, which Gibbon
praises so highly in his charming autobiography, and which has passed
through several editions in England within the present century, we
are taught, that, "though the moods [in Greek] are not to be rejected
entirely, yet their signification is sometimes so very arbitrary, that
they are put for one another through all tenses." Lancelot himself
seems to have had a glimmering of the essential incredibility of this
statement; for, though he attempts to substantiate it by citing from
Greek authors a number of passages in which the Greek idiom happens to
differ from the Latin,--passages, however, which Mr. Goodwin would have
been glad to use, had they fallen in his way, to illustrate the regular
constructions of the language,--he feels it necessary to appeal to
the authority of the learned Budaeus, the greatest of the early Greek
scholars. Strange as it seems that really accomplished Greek scholars
should have charged Plato and Demosthenes, speaking the most perfect of
tongues, with arbitrary interchanges of moods and tenses, yet the same
views continued to be presented in grammatical works down to the close
of the last century. The transition to the new school of grammarians was
made in 1792, by the publication of a Greek Grammar by Philip Buttmann,
which, in the greatly improved form which it afterwards received from
his hands, is familiar to all Greek scholars. In our frequent boasts of
the great strides that knowledge has taken in the present century, we
commonly have in mind the physical sciences; but we doubt whether in any
department of physical science the manuals in use seventy-five years
ago are so utterly inferior to those of the present day as are, for
instance, the remarks of Viger, and his commentators before Hermann, on
the syntax of the Greek verb, to the philosophical treatment of the same
points by Professor Goodwin.

This work is entitled, we think, to rank with the best grammars of the
Greek language that have appeared in German or English, in all the
points that constitute grammatical excellence; while its monographic
character justified and required an exhaustive treatment of its
particular topic, not to be found even in the huge grammars of Matthiae
and Kuehner. Indeed, not the least of its merits is this, that, in
addition to the excellent matter which is original with Professor
Goodwin, it furnishes to the student, American or English,--for we hope
to see its merits recognized on the other side of the Atlantic,--a
digest, as it were, of all that is most valuable on the subject of the
syntax of the Greek verb in the best German grammars, from Buttmann
to Madvig, enhanced, too, in value by being recast and worked into a
homogeneous system by an acute scholar and experienced teacher. One
excellence of the book we would by no means pass over, an excellence
which we are sure will be particularly appreciated by all who have used
translations of German grammars,--the precision both of thought and
expression by which it is characterized, which releases the student from
the labor of constructing the meaning of a rule from the data of the
appended examples. Not that Mr. Goodwin is chary of examples; on the
contrary, one of the most attractive and not least profitable features
of the book is the copiousness and freshness of the illustrative
quotations from Greek authors. These are as welcome as the brightness of
newly minted coin to the eye which, in consulting grammar after grammar,
has been condemned to meet under corresponding rules always the same
examples, till they begin to produce that effect upon the nerves which
all have experienced at the mention of the deadly upas-tree, or the
imminence of the dissolution of the Union.

We must not omit to speak of the typographical merit of the work,--and
especially of what constitutes the first and the last merit of books of
this class, the excellent table of contents, and the indexes, Greek and
English, which leave nothing to be desired in the way of facility of
reference, except, perhaps, an index to the quotations.

_The Law of the Territories_. Philadelphia: C. Sherman & Son.

The author of the two able essays contained in this volume will be
remembered by many of our readers under his assumed name of "Cecil."
The second, as he himself tells us, on "Popular Sovereignty in the
Territories," was published, as one of a series of essays on Southern
politics, in the Philadelphia _North American and United States
Gazette_. The first, we believe, has never been published before.

Our author, whom we may designate, without violating any confidence, as
Mr. George Sidney Fisher, devotes an elaborate preface, which is itself
a third essay, to discussing the invasion of Virginia by John Brown and
the Southern threats of secession, drawing from the foray of Harper's
Ferry a conclusion very different from that of the disunionists. In his
own words,--

"Disunion is a word of fear. Is it not
strange that it should have been as yet pronounced
only by the South? The danger of
insurrection and servile war belongs to the
nature of slavery. It is, perhaps, not too much
to assert that the safety and tranquillity of
Southern society depend on the fact that the
Northern people are close at hand to aid in
case of need,--that the power of the General
Government is ever ready for the same purpose.
Four millions of barbarians, growing
with tropical vigor, and soon to be eight millions,
with tropical passions boiling in their
blood, endowed with native courage, with
sinews strong by toil, and stimulated by the
hope of liberty and unbounded license, are
not to be trifled with. Take away from them
the idea of an irresistible power in the North,
ready at any moment to be invoked by their
masters, or let them expect in the North, not
enemies, but friends and supporters, which
even now they are told every day by these
masters they may expect,--and how soon
might a flame be lighted which no power in
the South could extinguish!"

Mr. Fisher treats of the "Law of the Territories" in two essays,--the
first considering more particularly "The Territories and the
Constitution," the second, "Popular Sovereignty in the Territories." The
first commences with a quotation so happy that it has all the effect of
original wit:--

"The wily and witty Talleyrand was once
asked the meaning of the word 'non-intervention,'
so often used in European diplomacy.
'It is a word,' he replied, 'metaphysical and
political, not accurately defined, but which
means--much the same thing as intervention!'
The same word has been frequently
employed, of late years, in our politics, with
the same difference between its professed
and its practical signification. It was introduced
for the first time in reference to the
government of the Territories, when it became
an object for the South to gain Kansas as a
Slave State. Two obstacles were to be overcome.
One was the Missouri Compromise,
which was a solemn compact between North
and South to settle a disturbing and dangerous
question; the other was a possible majority
in Congress, that, it was feared, might prohibit
slavery in the new Territory. Southern
politicians had at the time control of the government;
and they got rid of both difficulties
by repealing the Missouri Compromise in the
Kansas and Nebraska Bill. By necessary implication,
arising from the relation of the Territories
to the rest of the nation, by the language
of the Constitution, and by the uniform
construction of it and practice under it from
the earliest period of our history, the Territories
had been subjected to the absolute control
of the General Government. By the Kansas
and Nebraska Bill they were withdrawn
from that control. The principle of Popular
Sovereignty, it was said, applied to them as
well as to the States; and this bill declared
that the people of the Territories should be
perfectly free to choose their own domestic
institutions and regulate their own affairs in
their own way."

The means employed to carry out this plan and the ultimate failure of
the plan itself are sketched with a boldness and vigor that our limits,
much to our regret, forbid our reproducing. Mr. Fisher, however, fails
to notice the wretched plea put forth by the Democratic managers,
in favor of the recognition by Congress of the Lecompton
Constitution,--that it had been officially authenticated. All might be
wrong, but the official record pronounced it right; and behind that
record Congress had no authority to go. And this plea was advanced in
the face of overwhelming evidence tending to show that the officials,
for whose record so inviolable a sanctity was claimed, were appointed
for the express purpose of falsifying that record! If confirmation be
wanted, we need go no farther than the fate of Robert J. Walker, who was
eager to make Kansas a Slave State, but was so false to every principle
of Democratic integrity as to confine himself to legitimate means to
bring about that result,--a remissness for which he was promptly removed
by President Buchanan! Mr. Fisher pertinently says,--

"Two great facts were plainly visible through the flimsy web of attorney
logic and quibbling technicality, not very ingeniously woven to conceal
them. One of these facts was, that the people of Kansas were heartily
and almost unanimously averse to slavery; the other was, that the
Government was trying by every means in its power to impose slavery upon

After describing the contemptuous rejection by the people of Kansas of
the pro-slavery constitution, Mr. Fisher proceeds with an analysis of
the Kansas-Nebraska fraud, so clear and so masterly that we must again
quote his own language, with an occasional condensation or omission.

"It was clear, therefore, that the principle of Popular Sovereignty,
introduced by the Kansas and Nebraska Bill, a principle before unknown
to the law and practice of our government, would not suit the South.
It appeared too probable that not only the people to inhabit all the
territory north of 36 deg. 30', but also much territory south of it, would,
like the people of Kansas, reject slavery, if left to regulate their
domestic institutions in their own way. What, then, were Southern
politicians to do? Invoke the ancient and long exercised, but now denied
and derided power of Congress over the Territories? This might prove a
dangerous weapon in the hands of possible future Northern majorities. It
was obviously necessary to withdraw slavery alike from the control of
Congress and of the people of a Territory. Some ingenuity was required
for this. The doctrine that the Constitution extends to the Territories
(a doctrine broached before by Mr. Calhoun, but always defeated on the
ground that the Constitution, by its language and the practice under it,
was made for States only, and that the Territories were subject to the
supreme control of Congress,--a control frequently exercised, not only
independently of the Constitution, but in a manner incompatible with it)
was introduced, with other innovations, into the Kansas and Nebraska
Bill. The Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court followed, by which
the Constitution recognizes slavery as a national institution. It
recognizes slaves as mere property, differing in no respect from other
merchandise. The Territories belong to the nation. Every citizen has
equal rights to them and in them. Why, therefore, may not a Southern
man, as well as a Northern man, go into them with his _property_? What
right has Congress to place the South under an ignominious bar of
restriction? The Constitution declares that slaves are property; that
all the States and the people have equal rights. The Territories belong
to all. Therefore, under the Constitution, they should be enjoyed by

"By this ingenious logic the Kansas and Nebraska Bill is made to
contradict itself. It first declares that the Constitution extends to
the Territories; in other words, slavery exists there by force of the
Constitution, without reference to the will of the people. It then says
that the people of the Territories shall be 'perfectly free to form and
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way.'

"The contradictions, duplicity, and absurdity of the law are obvious at
once. The first sentence announces a change in the settled principles
and policy of the Government; else why declare that the Constitution
'_shall_' extend to Nebraska, if it already extended there? Then comes
the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. The reason given for this is,
that it is inconsistent with the non-intervention by Congress with
slavery, recognized in the Compromise of 1850. But that law declares
positively that Congress does not intervene, _because it is
'inexpedient'_ to do so; and gives the reason why it is inexpedient. The
_power_ of Congress _was asserted_ by Mr. Clay, who made the law, and
the terms of it were chosen for the very purpose of preventing any
inference being drawn from it against that power.

"It is remarkable, too, that the Bill, whilst declaring the _perfect_
freedom of the Territories, should still have left them subject to the
power of the President, who, as before, is permitted to appoint their
Governor, Judges, and Marshals, officers who are his agents, and without
whose sanction the acts of the Territorial Legislature can neither
become laws, nor be construed and applied, nor executed. So that the
will of the people may be defeated, should it happen to be opposed to
the will of the President: as was seen in the case of Kansas.

"Why," Mr. Fisher asks, "is the anomalous monster of Popular Sovereignty
to be introduced with reference to slavery? Is it because slaves are
'mere property'? Why, then, not subject all property, land included, to
popular control? Is it because the subject of slavery is an exciting
topic, a theme for dangerous agitation, to be checked only by placing
the subject beyond the power of Congress? The answer is, that Congress
cannot abdicate its power on the ground of expediency. If it may give up
one power, it may give up all. Nor can Congress delegate its power for
the same reason. Trust power, from its very nature, cannot be delegated.
To break down great principles, to set aside ancient usage, to abandon
legal authority, in order to appease the contests of parties, is too
great a sacrifice. No true peace can come of it; only suppressed and
adjourned war."

The natural inference from the extracts we have given would be that Mr.
Fisher was a member of the Republican party. But such is not the fact:
Mr. Fisher rests his hope upon a party "yet to be organized." "The
extreme Northern, or Free-soil, or Abolition party is only less guilty
than the extreme Southern and Democratic party." Which? Does Mr. Fisher
mean that "Northern," "Free-soil," and "Abolition" are synonymous terms?
And does any or do all of them mean the Republican party? Or, finally,
does Mr. Fisher shrink from the conclusions presented by his logic, and
is his vaguely convenient linking together of different words intended
to leave his position gracefully doubtful? And in that case, do the
Baltimore nominations, with their innocent unconsciousness, supply his
political needs? It is not easy to answer these questions. We begin now
upon the views of a Pennsylvania Oppositionist; and quicksilver defied
not more utterly the skill of Raymond Lullius than the doctrines of the
Philadelphia school perplex the inquiries of sharply defined New England
minds. The rudimentary state of Republican principles may nowhere else
be so clearly seen as in Pennsylvania. Four years of the Democratic
administration of her "favorite son" have done much to make her less
favored sons into good Republicans; but the State needs another
Democratic President. Mr. Fisher appears to much more advantage in
pulling down than in building up. We have hitherto seen only the keen,
fearless dissector of fraud and hypocrisy; we are now to contemplate a
circumspect alarmist, who dreads to call things by their right names
for fear of unpleasant consequences. He is such a master of English,
so judicious in the use of middle terms,--so shrewd a fencer
altogether,--that even his timidity cannot make him other than a
formidable opponent.

Mr. Fisher, believing that slavery receives ample protection from a fair
interpretation of the Constitution, holds that

"Congress has plenary power over the Territories, often exercised on
this subject of slavery. It may be said that Congress has on various
occasions prohibited slavery in the Territories. True; but with the
consent and cooeperation of the Southern States. The people of all the
States have equal right in the Territories. To exclude the people of the
Slave States, therefore, _without their consent_, would be unequal and
opposed to the spirit of the Constitution."

Certainly it would. Who proposes to do it? No living man, woman, or
child. It is worth noticing, by the way, that the Republican party is
not committed to the doctrine of carrying out the principle of the
Wilmot Proviso. But supposing it were, Mr. Fisher's argument has
no force or direction, unless he can establish his suppressed
premise,--that the exclusion of slavery from the Territories is the
exclusion of "the people of the Slave States" from the Territories.
And to make that good, all Mr. Fisher's skill and ingenuity will
be required. Why so many Northern politicians should have weakly
surrendered this point is a mystery. Because the slaveholders (who are
not, Mr. Fisher, "the people of the Slave States," by any means, but a
small portion of them) are at home a privileged aristocracy, have they
any claim to the same position abroad? If so, on what does it rest? The
laws of the Southern States? They are now beyond their jurisdiction. The
common law? To that wise and beneficent law slavery is a thing unknown.
The Constitution? It is silent. There is no exclusion of the Southerners
even proposed. Let them come: but when they claim to carry with them
the right to hold a certain class of men as property because they
are recognized as property by certain local regulations elsewhere
prevailing, they must not complain, if such a claim be disallowed. The
Southerner's complaint, that he is accustomed to the institution of
slavery, is fairly met by the Northerner's retort, that he is accustomed
to the institution of freedom.

Now, which voice shall prevail? Neither party has any more right than
the other; and neither party has any right at all. The Territories are
in a state of wardship; and Congress is to decide as it thinks best for
their welfare, present and future; and if Congress thinks that a nation
prospers with free institutions and droops under slavery, then let
Congress admit the Territory as a Free State. True, there is some
inconvenience to the slave-holder; but from so abnormal a relation as
slavery some inconvenience must result. When admitted to be a necessary
evil, it is barely tolerable; when boastingly proclaimed to be a
sovereign good, it is fairly intolerable. And it is both criminal and
foolish to try to make good all the evils inseparable from slavery by

Book of the day: