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Life: Its True Genesis by R. W. Wright

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know his place," will watch over the trustful little sleeper during the
darkness and silence of the night.

Chapter VI.

The Distribution and Premanence of Species.

Professor Gray, in his address before the American Association for the
advancement of science, delivered at Dubuque (Ia.) in 1872, while
remarking upon the wide extent of similar flora in the same plant zones,
says: "If we now compare, as to their flora generally, the Atlantic United
States with Japan, Mantchooria and Northern China,--_i.e._ Eastern North
America with Eastern North Asia--half the earth's circumference apart, we
find an astonishing similarity." But why astonishing? Had our
distinguished botanical professors, in this country and in Europe,
thoroughly informed themselves as to the climatic conditions, the general
physical features, geographical characteristics, soil-constituents, and
other conditional incidences of this Asiatic region, in the light of all
the physiological facts before them, the circumstance of this great
similarity of flora would have been anything but astonishing. Indeed, the
astonishment, if any, would have been expressed at the want of similarity,
had it been found to exist.

Ever since 1862, these distinguished professors have had the great
plant-charts of Mr. Arthur Renfrey before them, with the warm temperate
zone north accurately laid down in its proper isotherms, as well as the
different classes of vegetation peculiar to the two regions referred to,
and some general conclusions of value to science might have been drawn
therefrom. Besides, the fact of these similar antipodal flora was well
known to many of them before this chart was issued. They also knew that
all along the higher mountain ranges of this country, as well as in
Europe, the same alpine flora was to be found under the same or similar
alpine conditions. From Mt. St. Elias, in Alaska, to the Central American
States, and thence, through the Isthmus, to the southern extremity of the
Andes in South Patagonia, there is one unbroken line of alpine vegetation
pressing the sides or summits of the loftier mountain ranges, at altitudes
correspondingly varying with the latitudes in which they occur. And the
same is true of the Alps in Europe and the Himalaya ranges in Asia, if not
of all the mountain systems of the globe.

These, and hundreds of other equally suggestive facts, all pointing to
geographical, climatic, and other influencing conditions, as the real
objective points of inquiry, have been constantly before our botanical
friends; and yet they have been content with Mr. Darwin's theory of
climbing mountains to cross the geographical equator, under the impression
that an enormous ice-cap, or rather prodigious "ice-ulster," would
ultimately drift them into the southern hemisphere, or enable them to
"coast" their way thither with the greatest imaginable ease. But why
insist upon the migration of plants growing in the lowlands and about the
bases and sides of mountains, and not suggest some means of transport for
the equally beautiful flora, known as "alpine," on the mountain summits of
the earth? These are distributed, as we have before shown, over all our
mountain systems, in all latitudes and in all parts of the globe, as well
as in the higher regions of vegetation as we approach the north pole.
Surely, the delicate little harebells of these alpine regions should
attract some interest, if not sympathy, from those who are constantly
hunting up means of transport for the more hardy and robust plants that
seem able to take care of themselves almost anywhere.

When the next great ice-cap shall sweep down from the north pole upon
these beautiful alpine flowers they will have to travel somewhere. There
is manifestly as much necessity for them to get out of the way as for the
rest of the flora. How will they manage to get down the mountains into the
lowlands, and traverse uncongenial plains and deserts, to find other and
far-distant alpine homes? They can never, of course, get very far away
from the regions skirted by eternal frost, for their cup of joy must be
chaliced by the snow-flake, or their beautiful life is soon ended. But if
all our alpine flora have traveled from one evolutional centre, or have
been "created but once in time and place," how have they managed to cross
the thermal equator and spread themselves out over all the alpine regions
of the globe? We call upon Mr. Darwin and Professor Gray to rise and
explain. Not that we want any explanation, but that their theory of
plant-migration stands sadly in need of one.

The theory which the Bible genesis suggests to us is fully adequate to the
explanation wanted. It explains not only _why_ these alpine flora appear
where they do, but why they cannot appear anywhere else. It also explains
all the physiological facts to which we have referred in the foregoing
chapters. Wherever the necessary alpine conditions exist the earth
responds to the divine command, and the beautiful little alpine harebell
is cradled into life, and rejoices in the bright embroidery it wears. And
so, wherever streams are turned aside to flow through new meads and
sheltered woods, or over broken and swaly places where cowslips never grew
before, hardly a year will pass before this "wan flower" will hang therein
"its pensive head," while all along the line of the stream the black alder
will make its appearance in the lowlands, no matter how far its current
may be diverted from its original channel, or how distant the supply of
natural seeds. For nature's sternest painter can only delineate her as
"instinct with music and _the vital spark_."

If our botanical professors would come forth into the true light of
nature, they should accept the position of pupil to her, and not assert
that of teacher. So long as they continue to peep and botanize upon her
grave, or over ancient mounds and Hadrianic tumuli, they will never find
out the cunning of her processes, much less the means she employs to
accomplish her perfected ends. This modern idolatry of "hypotheses," with
our chronic neglect of what nature _does_, is the great scientific
stumbling-block of the age in which we live. Our botanists all agree that
certain plants and trees disappear--hopelessly die out--from the
_absence_ of "necessary conditions;" when will they come to recognize the
reverse of this undeniable proposition, and agree that the _presence_ of
necessary conditions may cause the same plants and trees to make their
appearance, that is, spring into life in obedience to some great primal
law, as unerringly obeyed by nature as the attractive force of the
universe itself?

For nearly half a century the fact has been known that the geographical
distribution of the European flora, and especially that of the British
Islands, was referable to latitude, elevation, and climatic conditions. As
early as 1835, Mr. Hewett Watson, a well-known botanist of that day, in
his published "Remarks on the Geographical Distribution of Plants, in
connection with Latitude, Elevation, and Climate," drew the attention of
the botanical world to this remarkable feature of plant distribution;
while the late Professor Edward Forbes pursued the same line of thought in
his attempt to show how geographical changes had affected plant areas in
Great Britain as far back as the last glacial drift. And yet all our
botanical writers have been steadily persisting on immense
plant-migrations to account for their geographical distribution, and have
given us maps without number to show how the vegetal hosts have traversed
vast continents, swam multitudinous seas, braved the fiery equator, and
scaled the summits of the loftiest Andes. In the mean time, no botanist of
any distinguished note, except M. De Candolle, has confidently ventured to
question this migration theory, so imposing and formidable has been the
array of names which have frowned down, like so many gigantic ghauts, upon
the audacious questioner.

But the present actual state of knowledge on this subject forbids us any
longer to accept theories for facts, premises for conclusions, or
fallacious reasoning for legitimate induction. Truth and daylight never
meet in a corner, and no one, in our day, need go to the bottom of a well
in search of either. We are forever stumbling over the truth without
knowing it, because our old traditional beliefs, like so many
superannuated grasshoppers, are constantly springing up in our path and
diverting our attention from her. There are physiological facts enough
daily obtruding themselves upon our attention, if we would but notice
them, in the case of wayside plants, garden and household weeds, and the
more aggressive vegetation of worn out pasture-lands, to satisfy us of the
truth of our theory, were it not for the swarms of these old traditional
grasshoppers continually rising into the air before us, and shutting out
the truth as it is in nature. And the worst feature about this whole
business is, that we have come to regard these multitudinous insects as a
delight instead of a burden.

But it is hardly necessary to pursue this subject further. We have shown,
or shall show in the succeeding pages, that all crystalline forms come
from necessary or favoring statical conditions; that all infusorial forms
come in the same way, only their conditions may be said to be dynamical
rather than statical; that all mycological forms (fungi) are dependent,
for their primary manifestation, on conditions of moisture and decay; that
all plant-life, from the lowest cryptogam to the lordliest conifer, is
dependent on some similar incidence of conditions; that the mastodon, now
only known by his fossil remains, must have wallowed forth from his
"necessary mire" (plasmic conditions) in the Eocene period; and that all
animal life must have come from some underlying law of primordial
conditions, as impressed upon matter, in harmony with the "Divine
Intendment" from the beginning; and that this law is still operative in
the production of new forms of life whenever and wherever the same may
appear. We shall also show that all living organisms, such as seeds,
fungus-spores, morphological cells, etc., perish at a temperature of about
100A deg. C., and that _Bacteria, TorulA|_, and other infusorial forms, making
their appearance in super-heated flasks, originate not from morphological
cells, plastide particles, bioplasts, or any other vital organism, but
from indestructible vital units, which are everywhere present in the
organic matter of our globe, and ready to burgeon forth into life whenever
the necessary vital conditions exist, and the proper incidences of
environment occur.

We have also shown that the earth still obeys the divine command to bring
forth, or--if objection be made to this form of statement as
unscientific--still obeys some inexorable underlying law tantamount to
such command, and can no more help "bringing forth," when the necessary
telluric conditions favor, than the cold can help coming out of the north,
or the clouds dropping rain, when the necessary meteorological conditions
occur. Give the future American botanist the physical geography of a
country--its average rain-fall, temperature, etc., and the plant zone in
which it lies, and, whether explored or unexplored, he will give us the
general character of its vegetation, and name most of the plants and trees
peculiar to its soil. And he will do this, not because he has any faith in
the present theories of plant-migration, nor in the necessary distribution
of seeds, but because he will study his favorite science with reference to
latitude, elevation, climate, physical characteristics, rain-fall,
soil-constituents, and other influencing conditions of plant-life.

But we will now proceed to consider the duration of vegetable species, for
the purpose of showing that the evolutional changes they are undergoing,
if any, must cover infinitely vaster periods of time than we have any data
for determining, to say nothing of the unverified theories the
evolutionists have been spinning for us.

Our geologic and paleontologic records are becoming richer in materials,
more interesting in details, and more authentic in character, every year.
We are turning back page after page of these lithographic records, only
to find the domain of science widened and deepened in interest as we
advance, or as our rocks are being excavated, our mountains tunneled, our
vast mines explored, and the beds of our rivers and arms of seas
thoroughfared and traversed by the iron rail. Meanwhile, science exhibits
signs of becoming less devoted to new-fangled theories, more exacting in
her demands upon her votaries, and more eager to extend the domain of
facts as the only true basis on which to rest her claims for future
recognition. She is less dogmatic to-day than she was a year ago, and is
likely to become less so a year hence than now. And this is largely due
to her methods of research and inquiry. She is now everywhere sending out
her hardier and more enthusiastic sons into new fields of exploration, to
return laden with ampler materials to build, and richer treasures to
adorn, a temple worthy of her name. In the field of the fossilized fauna
and flora, these treasures are of the highest value and interest, all
indicating not only wide areas of distribution, but immense periods of
time, in which species have existed without any greater changes in
character than the necessary shadings into varieties would seem to
require. For nature everywhere characterizes her methods of production
and reproduction by a loving tendency to diversify and variously adorn
her species, as if to express the infinite conceptions of that power
above her, which "spake and it was done, which commanded and it was
brought forth."

From the fossilized plants of Atanekerdluk--a flora rich in species and
wonderfully preserved in type--and the Miocene flora of Spitzenburg, to
the southernmost limits of vegetation on the globe, science has reached
out her hands for materials, and gathered them with as much success as
avidity. And all scientific botanists agree in referring these fossilized
forms from the high northern latitudes, to the Miocene period--one so
remote that we can form no adequate conception of it, except as time may
be measured by geologic periods. And these materials show that varieties
of the _Sequoia_, the tulip-tree, oaks, beeches, walnuts, firs, poplars,
hazelnuts, etc., etc., all flourished in these sub-arctic regions during
the far-distant period we have named. Many of them must have grown on the
spot where their trunks are now to be found, as their roots remain
undisturbed in the soil, as well as at a time when these regions enjoyed a
warm or cold temperate climate. Many of these fossilized and carbonized
forms are identical with the living species of to-day, conclusively
showing that neither natural variation, nor any secondary causes, have
worked out any changes capable of being scientifically expressed in
genetic value.

There is also abundant evidence to show that many of the present tropical
forms flourished in central and southern Europe as far back as the warm
inter-glacial epoch in the Eocene period. And if these inter-glacial
periods occurred at the lowest minimum limits of eccentricity in the
earth's orbit, as calculated by Leverrier's formulA|, we can have no
conception whatever of the length of time actually intervening the period
named and our present era. Mr. Croll has given us the limits of highest
glaciation covering the last three million years, and shows that there
have been but two periods of superior eccentricity in that time, and can
be only one in the next million years, with but two or three intervening
maxima and minima that may, or may not have been, of any special value. It
is true that he assigns importance to these maxima, as affecting possible
glaciations, but there are other eminent astronomers and physicists who
differ from him, and really attach little or no importance to these of any
other intervening periods of eccentricity. If Mr. Croll is correct in his
theory and estimates, we must separate these superior glacial epochs by an
interval of not less than one million seven hundred thousand years; and
nearly three of these periods must have intervened since some of the
present tropical forms flourished in Europe. And if these forms have
undergone no specific change in all this time, how many years will it
require to work out even _one_ of Mr. Darwin's many evolutional changes?

The kinship between some of these arctic and sub-arctic fossilized flora
and the living forms of to-day, is so near that they cannot be
distinguished by a single difference. This is true of some of the
varieties of the _Sequoia_ family, the oaks, beeches, firs, hazelnuts,
etc., while others are so nearly identical that it would be difficult to
classify them as separate varieties. At all events, if they cannot be
placed in the list of identical species, they cannot be ruled out of
representative types. But why should our speculative botanists insist upon
these "evolutional changes" in plant-life--these "derivative forms" of
which they are constantly speaking? Paleontological botany has given us
the very highest antiquity of species, and the most that can be claimed is
that nature was just as prolific of diversified forms millions of years
ago as now. Because we, by forcing nature into unnatural, if not
repugnant, alliances, can produce

--"Streak'd gillyflowers,
Which some call nature's bastards."

it is no evidence that she commits any such offence against herself. Her
alliances are all loving ones. She indulges in no forced methods of
propagation. If she produced the _Sequoia gigantea_, or the great redwood
tree of our California Sierra, as far back as the Crustaceous period, she
has propagated it ever since according to her own loving methods, and it
is idle to talk of the _Sequoia Langsdorfii_ as being the original
ancestor of this tree, or any other distinguished branch of the sequoias.
How much more rational the suggestion of Professor Agassiz that these
trees--the entire family of sequoias--were quite as numerous in
individual varieties at first as now, and that the fruit of the one can
never bear the fruit of the other.

Again, take the still hardier and more numerous branches of the
_Quercus_ or oak family. M. De Candolle has expended a vast deal of
ingenuity to show that the various members of this old and
ancestrally-knotty family have all descended from two or three of the
hardier varieties. He arrives at this conclusion from a geographical
survey of what he would call the "whole field of distribution," and
"the probable historical connection between these congeneric species."
But science should deal with as few probabilities as possible,
especially where experience furnishes no guide to certainty, and only
the remotest clue to likelihood. We should never predicate
probabilities except on some degree of actual evidence, or some
likelihood of occurrence, falling within the limits, analogically or
otherwise, of human observation and experience. In no other way can we
determine whether an event is probable or not. But here we have not so
much as a probable experience to guide us. Geographical distribution in
the past is hardly a safe criterion to go by, because we can never be
absolutely certain that we have the requisite data on which to form a
determinate judgment. The _Quercus robur_ may furnish the maximum test
to-day, but a few concealed pockets of nature may bring some other
variety of the congeneric species to the front to-morrow, requiring M.
De Candolle to correct his classification. There are no less than
twenty-eight varieties of this one species of oak, all of them conceded
to be spontaneous in origin, and it has been on the earth quite as long
as the more stately tribe of Sequoias. Besides, not more than one
twenty-thousandth part of the earth's surface has been dug over to
determine the extent to which any one of its varieties has flourished
in the past.

Since these several varieties are only one degree removed from each other,
M. De Candolle supposes divergence to be the natural law which has
governed their growth, and not hereditary fixity. But here again he has
only remote probabilities to work upon, no absolute data. We are still
speaking of his fossilized herbaria, not his modern specimens. These may
show a large number of genetically-connected individuals, or those claimed
to be so connected. And yet no naturalist can be certain that, because
they exhibit similarly marked characteristics, the one ever descended from
the other; for the universal experience-rule still holds good that "like
engenders like," and we search in vain for anything more than a similarity
of _idea_, or logical connection, which justifies a recognition of the
_individuorum similium_ in Jessieu's definition of species. But similarity
must not be mistaken for absolute likeness, which nowhere exists in
nature. Infinite diversity is the law, absolute identity the rarest
possible exception. No two oak leaves, for instance, in a million will be
found actually alike, although taken from the same tree, or trees of the
same variety; and the same may be said of the segmentation and branching
of their limbs, as well as the striatures of their corticated covering,
_Et sic de similibus_ everywhere, and with respect to every thing. Nature
is more solicitous of diversity and beauty, than of similarity and
tameness of effect, in all her landscape pictures; and the Platonic
conception that "contraries spring from contraries," may be only a
supplementary truth to that of _de similibus_. In the eye of the soul all
objective existences are discerned in their logical order, or as
consecutive thoughts of the Divine mind, as outspoken in the material
universe. To insist upon cutting down these transcendental forms[20] into
the smallest possible number of similar or identical forms, may be all
well enough to accomplish scientific classification; but the productive
power of nature can never be limited by these mental processes of our own.

The oak family can be traced back to the Miocene period, and consequently
enjoys quite as high an antiquity as the sequoias. Professor Gray, in
speaking of the _Quercus robur_ and its probable origin, says that it is
"traceable in Europe up to the commencement of the present epoch, looks
eastward, and far into the past on far-distant shores." By "far-distant
shores," he undoubtedly means Northwest America, where its remotest
descendants still flourish. But that these trees should have waded the
Pacific, or sent their acorns on a voyage of discovery after new habitats
on the Asiatic coast, is hardly more probable than Jason's voyage after
the golden fleece, in any other than a highly figurative sense. The
spontaneous appearance of a forest of oaks on the eastern shores of Asia
was just as probable, under favoring conditions--though occurring
subsequently to the time of their appearance on this continent--as that of
the miniature forests of "samphire," or small saline plants, which
spontaneously made their appearance about the salt-works of Syracuse, when
conditions actually favored. The high antiquity of the oak makes no
difference in respect to the principle of dispersion, since geographical
conditions are what govern, and not the theoretical considerations of the
speculative botanist.

Mr. A. R. Wallace's formula concerning the origin of species, that they
"have come into existence coincident both in time and place with
preA"xisting closely-allied species," may or may not be true so far as
individual localization is concerned. But it proves nothing in the way of
original progeny, nor can we, by any actual data before us, satisfactorily
determine, under this formula, which of the two closely-allied species
preceded the other. If they came coincidently, both in time and place,
their existence must have been concurrent, not separated by preA"xistence.
The formula may be true to this extent, that the conditions favoring the
appearance of one species may have equally favored what we call a
closely-allied species. But even in this case, the material sequence is
lost, and we have nothing to express a relationship as from parent to
progeny. For, however restricted as to localization, each species
preserves its own characteristics, the similarities always being less than
the dissimilarities. These, and other equally conclusive facts of
observation, led Professor Agassiz to question any necessary genetic
connection between the different species, or between even the same
species, in widely-separated localities; his idea being precisely that
advanced by us in connection with the Bible genesis, that localization
depended on geographical conditions, not on the migration of plants or the
dispersion of seeds.

The actual geographical distribution of species--any species--does not
depend solely on lines of ancestry, however great their persistence of
specific characters; nor on any principle of natural selection, nor on the
possibility of fertile monstrosities, but on the simple incidence of
conditions; and M. De Candolle, in his "Geographie Botanique," virtually
concedes this, while treating of geographical considerations in connection
with distribution. He in fact says, in so many words, that the actual
distribution of species in the past "seems to have been a consequence of
preceding conditions." [21] And he is forced to this conclusion by his
virtual abandonment of plant-migration, and the alleged means of

The question after all, says Professor Gray, is not "how plants and
animals originated, but how they came to exist where they are, and what
they are." On only one of these points--that of favoring conditions--can
any satisfactory answer be given, except as we defer to the Bible genesis,
which explains all. And the reason is, that we can never determine what
forms are specific without tracing them back to their origin, and this is
impossible. Orders, genera, species, etc., are only so many lines of
thought on which we arrange our classifications, just as the parallel
wires of an abacus, with their sliding balls, are the lines on which we
make our mathematical computations. Agassiz would not allow that varieties
existed in nature, except as man's agency effected them, that is, as they
were brought about by artificial processes.

These artificial processes are quite numerous, and many of them have been
practised from remote antiquity. But they seem to have no counterpart in
nature, except as insects may contribute to modifications by the
distribution of pollen. But all modifications of this character tend
towards infertility, while few plants accept any fertilizing aid from
other and different species. Any break in their hereditary tendencies,
resulting in a metamorphosis that involves the integrity of their stamens
and pistils, is stoutly resisted by nature. In considering the question of
species, therefore, we should confine our observations to those produced
by natural, not artificial, methods; to plants as propagated by the loving
tendencies of nature, not by the arbitrary and exacting methods of
man--those looking to his gratification only. All these fall into the
category, of "nature's bastards," as Shakespeare happily defines them. In
view of these considerations, and the new methods of classification, such
as grouping genera into families or orders, and these into sub-orders,
tribes, sub-tribes, etc., we can readily understand why the great Harvard
Professor should have wholly eliminated community of descent from his idea
of "species," or hesitated to regard varieties otherwise than as the
result of man's agency.

Indeed, the whole question of species, as well as varieties, is likely to
undergo material modifications in the future. On some points the botanists
and zoologists differ widely already, many making likeness among
individuals a secondary consideration, and genealogical succession the
absolute test of species. Others, on the contrary, make resemblance the
fundamental rule, and look upon habitual fecundity within hereditary
limits as provisional, or answering to temporary needs only. These
differences of opinion would seem to be the more tenaciously held as the
question of new varieties presses for solution at the hands of nature,
rather than by the agency of man. All these varieties tend less to new
races than to cluster about type-centres, and can go no further than
certain fixed limits of variation, beyond which all oscillations cease.
But none of these questions touch the real marrow of the controversy as to
origin, or aid us in determining the duration of species.

The presence of the two great families of trees--the sequoias and the
oaks--as far back as the Miocene period, if not extending through the
Eocene into the Cretacious, is conclusive of the point we would make, that
no great evolutional changes have taken place in the last two or three
million years, and none are likely to take place in the next million
years, except that the _Sequoia gigantea_ may drop out, from the vandalism
of man or the next glacial drift.

M. Ch. Martins, in his "Voyage Botanique A(C)n Norwege," says "that each
species of the vegetable kingdom is a kind of thermometer which has its
own zero." It may also be said to have its hygrometric and telluric
gauges, or instruments to determine the necessary conditions of moisture
and soil-constituents. When the temperature is below zero, the
physiological functions of the plant are suspended, either in temporary
hybernation or death. And so when the hygrometric gauge falls below the
point of actual sustentation, the plant shrinks and dies; while, without
the necessary conditions, it would never have made its appearance. There
was nothing more imperative in the command for the earth to bring forth
than the necessary conditions on which plant-life depended in the first
instance, and still depends, as we have endeavored to show.

Dr. J.G. Cooper, in an interesting article prepared by him at the expense
of the Smithsonian Institute, on the distribution of the forests and trees
of North America, with notes and observations on the physical geography,
climate, etc., of the country, after classifying, arranging, and
tabulating the results of the various observations forwarded to that
institution, indulges in the following general observations: "We have with
a tropical summer a tropical variety of trees, but chiefly of northern
forms. Again, with our arctic winters, we have a group of trees, which,
though of tropical forms, are so adapted to the climate as to lose their
leaves, like the northern forms, in winter. But, here, it must be
distinctly understood, is no alteration _produced_ by climate. Trees are
made for and not _by_ climate, and they keep their characteristics
throughout their whole range, which with some extends through a great
variety of climate." The italics are the authors, and we suppose he means
by "tropical" and "arctic," the sub-tropical and sub-arctic.

In making his general observations, he had before him large collections of
the leaves, fruits, bark, and wood of trees from all parts of the United
States, including portions of Mexico, the Canadas and Alaska, and
extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. But one of the most important
elements--in fact, the _most_ important--is wanting in the tables before
us, and that is, the elevation at which these thousands of specimens were
obtained. So great an oversight as this should not have occurred, although
it may not have been entirely Dr. Cooper's fault. He had his materials to
work upon, and may have done the best that any one could with them. And
yet it is just as important to know at what _elevation_ a particular tree
grows in its own plant zone, as to know whether it comes from a sub-arctic
or sub-tropical region.

But this was not the comment we designed to make. Dr. Cooper labors, with
most professional botanists, under the delusion that all our plants and
trees originated in some one "centre of creation," at some period or other
in time and place, and have been steadily spreading themselves outward
from that centre until they occupy their present areas of distribution. We
have no objection to his clinging to this superannuated faith and belief,
if he derives any pleasure in flushing up these "traditional
grasshoppers." But we have a right to insist that he shall be logical. He
wants it distinctly understood that trees are made _for_, and not _by_,
climate. Then his "centre of creation" should be everywhere, not a
localized one. For he insists that no alteration can be produced by
climate, but that the characteristics of each specific form are preserved
throughout its entire range of distribution. But if these nomadic and
migratory forms have wandered thus far from their centres of creation, it
would seem that the trees had either adapted themselves to the climate, or
the climate to the trees. But our Smithsonian systematizer will allow us
neither horn of this dilemma. He insists that the trees were made for the
climate, and that they have preserved their characteristic features during
their entire ambulation upon the earth's surface.

With the change of a single monosyllabic predicate, this proposition is
undoubtedly true. We have never heard that plants or trees were "made."
They were ordered "to grow," or rather the earth was commanded to bring
them forth, which is an equivalent induction. And the fact that they grow
now, renders it absolutely certain that they grew at first, when "out of
the ground made the Lord God _to grow_" every plant of the field, and
every tree that is pleasant to the sight. We accept this genesis for the
want of a better. And if Dr. Cooper will add to his climatic conditions,
the hygrometric and other conditions necessary for the development and
growth of his plants and trees, we will agree with him to the fullest
extent of his novel position--that trees neither adapt themselves to the
climate, nor the climate to the trees; although it is true that trees
modify climate quite as much as they are modified by it. The true
physiological formula is undoubtedly this:--Trees make their appearance
_in_ climatic and other environing conditions, and flourish, without
material change in characteristics, so long as these conditions favor.
_Why_ they make their appearance is not a debatable question, except as we
assume a preA"xisting vital principle, and apply to its elucidation our
subtlest dialectical methods. We are told that God commanded the earth to
bring them forth, after _his_ spirit (the animating soul of life) had
moved upon the face of the depths--the chaotic and formless mass of the
earth in the beginning. Plato has uttered no profounder or more
comprehensive truth than this, with all his conceptions of Deity and the
perfect archetypal world after which he conceived our own to be modeled.
Our preference for the Bible genesis over the Platonic conception is, that
it is vastly simpler and constitutes a more objective reality to the human
soul. Besides, we find _it true in fact_, since the earth is constantly
teeming with life, as if in obedience to some great primal law impressed
upon matter by an infinitely superior intelligence to our own.--

"If this faith fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble."

Chapter VII.

What Is Life? Its Various Theories.

The question, "What is life?" does not lie within the province of human
reason, the science of logic, or the intuitions of consciousness, to
determine. It furnishes no objective _datum_ on which to predicate
attributes that are either congruent or diverse. It can only be defined as
the coordination of the _vis vitae_ in nature, which is an undisguised
form of reasoning in a circle. We can ascribe to it only such attributes
as are utterly inconceivable in any other concept or object of thought. It
admits of but one attribution, and that embracing an identical
proposition. To say of life that it is "a coArdination of action," might
be true as a partial judgment, but not as a comprehensive one; otherwise,
crystallization would fall under its category, which is manifestly an
illicit induction. It allows, therefore, of no possible explication,
analysis, or separate logical predicament. It stands absolutely alone and
apart by itself--a positive, self-subsistent vital principle, or process
of action, which all physiologists agree, for the sake of convenience and
uniformity of expression, in designating as a _power, property, force_,
etc., in nature. Whenever questioned as to its origin the subtlest and
profoundest intellects, in all ages of the world, have returned but one
answer: "I know no possible origin but God"--the great primal source of
all life in the universe.

Among the ancients we find an almost equivalent induction in the phrases,
borrowed by them from the highest antiquity, "_Jupiter est genitor_,"
"_Jupiter est quodcunque vivit_," etc., which, although uninspired
utterances, strike their roots deeply into the _terra incognita_ of
consciousness, wherein we ascribe to God the "issues of life" as a
paramount theological conception. When the ingenious and learned Frenchman
defined life as "the sum of all the functions by which death is resisted,"
he was as conclusively indulging in the _argumentum in circulo_ as if he
had said, "Life is the antithesis of what is not life." This would be as
luminous a definition as that which should make Theism the opposite of
Anti-theism, or the Algebraic statement _x-y_ the antithesis of _x+y_--one
of no definitional value so long as there is no known quantity expressed
in the formula.

To begin with begging the question, and then adroitly whipping the
argument about a pivotal point, as a boy would whip a top, may be amusing
enough to the childish mind, but is manifestly making no more progress in
logic than to substitute an ingenious paraphrase of a term for its real
definition. It is a mere verbal feat at best, without the possibility of
reaching any determinate judgment. It is like some of the half-circular
phrases we are likely to meet with in the categories of modern
materialistic science, such as the "correlated correlates of motion," the
"potentiated potentialities of sky-mist," the "undifferentiated
differentialities of life-stuff," called, by special condescension on the
part of the materialists, "life." All of which is an easy logic, but a
whimsical enough way of putting it.

According to Leibnitz, everything that exists is replete with life, full
of vital activity, if not an actual mass of living individualities. But
this daring hypothesis has ceased to attract the attention it once
received. There are states and conditions of matter in respect to which it
is idle to predicate the _vis vitae_. For the great bulk of our globe is
made up of the highly crystallized and non-fossiliferous rocks, which
neither contain any elementary principle of life, nor exhibit the
slightest trace of vital organism, even to the minutest living speck or
plastid. During all those vast periods of uncomputed time, covering the
world's primeval history, there was an utter absence of life until the
chief upheavals of the outer strata of our globe, now constituting the
principal mountain chains of its well-defined continents, occurred. In
whatever atomic or molecular theories, therefore, we may indulge, in
respect to the original formation of the earth, the utmost stretch of
empirical science can go no further, in the solution of vital problems,
than to touch the threshold of inorganic matter, where, in our backward
survey of nature, vegetable life begins and animal life ends. All beyond
this point must be given up to other "correlates of motion" than those to
which the materialists specifically assign the beginnings of life.

The theory of "panspermism," originating with the AbbA(C) Spallanzani in
modern times, and still stoutly advocated by M. Pasteur and some few
others, is manifestly defective in this,--that it goes beyond the
inorganic limit in assigning vital units to all matter, even to its
elemental principles. It is true that they speak of "pre-existing
germs"--"primordial forms of life"--that are "many million times smaller
than the smallest visible insect." But their assumptions go far beyond
the construction we give to the Bible genesis, which merely asserts that
the germinal principle of life--that of every living thing--is in the
earth, or in "the waters and the earth," which were alone commanded "to
bring forth."

Some of the panspermists have gone so far as to assert that everything
which exists is referable to the _vis vitA|_--to non-corporeal, yet
extended vital units, mere metaphysical points--like Professor Beale's
bioplasts in the finer nerve-reticulations--or living things endowed with
a greater or less degree of perceptive power. This was the assumption of
the great German philosopher, Leibnitz, who carried the panspermic theory
so far as to accept the more fanciful one of "monads"--those invisible,
ideal, and purely speculative units of Plato, which go to make up the
entire universe, extending even to the ultimate elements, or elements of
elements. Leibnitz says: "As it is with the human soul, which sympathizes
with all the varying states of nature--which mirrors the universe--so it
is with the monads universally. Each--and they are infinitely
numerous--is also a mirror, a centre of the universe, a microcosm:
everything that is, or happens, is reflected in each, but by its own
spontaneous power, through which it holds ideally in itself, as in a
germ, the totality of things."

But the specific germ theory advanced in the Bible genesis, is capable of
being taken out of the purely speculative region in which "panspermism"
landed the great German philosopher. It is a simple averment that the
animating principle of life is in the earth; that the germs of all living
things, vegetal and animal alike, are implanted therein, and that they
make their appearance, in obedience to the divine command, whenever and
wherever the necessary environing conditions occur. The fact that nature
still obeys this command is proof that she has the power to do so--that
this indestructible vital principle still animates her breast. Innumerable
experiments, as well as phenomenal facts, attest the truth of this genesis
of life, while the researches of Professor Bastian and other eminent
materialists, made in infusorial and cryptogamic directions, confirm
rather than discredit it. The fact that it appears for the first time in
this ancient Hebrew text can detract nothing from its value as a
scientific statement. Granting that panspermism may rest upon a purely
fanciful and unsubstantial basis, it is but fair to concede that its great
advocates have honestly attempted to explain by it all the vital phenomena
occurring in nature, as M. Pasteur is conclusively attempting to do now.
It is certain that the materialists, who are resolutely antagonizing the
panspermic, as well as all other "vital" theories, have not yet gone so
deeply into elementary substance as to shut off all further investigation
in these directions.[22] Neither the lowest primordial cell, nor the least
conceivable molecule, has yet been reached by the aid of the microscope,
any more than the outermost circle of the heavens has been penetrated by
the aid of the telescope. We must stop somewhere, and when we find a
scientifically formulated statement which embraces all vital phenomena,
and satisfactorily accounts for them all, whether it originally came from
Aristotle, from Plato, or from Moses, is a matter of comparatively slight
moment, so far as the scientific world is concerned. At least, it would
seem so to us. But to talk of the _de novo_ origin of "living matter" as
the result of the dynamic force of molecules--themselves concessively
"dead matter"--is to indulge in quite as fanciful a speculation as the
advocates of the panspermic hypothesis have ever ventured to suggest.
Professor Bastian is forced to go back of his infusorial forms and
fungus-germs to a microscopical "pellicle," from which he admits they are
"evolved." But why evolved? Does not the principle of vitality lie back of
the pellicle, as well as the fungus-germ? How absolutely certain is he
that the extremest verge of microscopic investigation has been attained,
in what he is pleased to designate "primary organic forms?" "Evolution" is
a very potential word, and no one may yet know what boundless stores of
absurd theory and metaphysical nonsense are locked up in it![23] He admits
that "evolution," as embracing the idea of "natural selection," can have
nothing to do with the vast assemblage of infusorial and cryptogamic
organisms, until they assume definitely recurring forms, that is, rise
into species and breed true to nature. Then, he agrees with Mr. Darwin,
that the law of vital polarity or "heredity," as he calls it, may come in
and play its part towards effecting evolution, or variability, in both
animal and vegetal organisms, but not before. Why then should he lug in,
or attempt to lug in, the diverse potentialities of this word "evolution,"
for the purpose of demonstrating the dynamic law governing the
developmental stages of his microscopic pellicle? This, he will agree,
lies far below the point, in primary organism, where specific identity, or
the law of heredity, asserts its full recognition. All below this
developmental point is inconstancy of specific forms, with no line of
ancestry to be traced anywhere.

This, Professor Bastian readily concedes, notwithstanding it cuts the
Darwinian _plexus_ squarely in the middle. He says: "Both Gruithuisen and
TrA(C)viranus agree that the infusoria met with have never presented similar
characters when they have been encountered in different infusions; nor
have they been uniform in the same infusion, when different portions of it
have been _exposed to the incidence of different conditions_. The
slightest variations in the quality or quantity of the materials employed,
are invariably accompanied by the appearance of different organisms--these
being oftentimes strange and peculiar, and unaccompanied by any of the
familiar forms." Other writers of equal eminence in this field of
investigation have not only observed the same characteristics, but
encountered the same difficulties in classification, from the very great
diversity obtaining even in the nearest allied forms. So great is this
diversity, and so multitudinous the different forms, that little certainty
or value can be attached to the classifications already made. Even
Professor O.F. MA1/4ller, after he had convinced himself that he had
discovered not less than twelve different species belonging to a single
genus, was subjected to the mortification of seeing Ehrenberg cut them all
down to mere modifications of one and the same species.

We refer to these several statements of fact for the purpose of
emphasizing the true genesis of life as supplemented by "the incidence of
different conditions," on which all vital manifestations depend. The
presence of the germinal principles of life in the earth is emphatically
averred in the Bible genesis. And we have only to connect the doctrine of
"conditional incidence" with this averment, to account for all the vital
phenomena which so profoundly puzzle these gentlemen while prying into the
mysteries of the ephemeromorphic world. Whatever may be the character of
any infusion, or to whatever incidence of conditions it may be subjected,
it will produce _some_ form of life; not because it contains this or that
morphological cell, destructible at a temperature of 100A deg. C--that to which
it is experimentally subjected before microscopic examination,--but
because every organic infusion, whether undergoing the required heat-test
or not, contains vital units--those as indestructible by heat as by
glacial drift--which burgeon forth into life whenever the proper
conditions of environment obtain. The slightest variation, in either the
quantity or quality of the material employed in the infusion, is, as these
eminent microscopists agree, invariably accompanied by the appearance of
different forms of life, just as the slightest change in soil-conditions,
such as that produced by the presence of one species of tree with another
in natural truffle-grounds, will result in the appearance of another and
altogether different plant, as well as truffle tuber.

But the theory which the vitalists are more particularly called upon to
combat is that to which the non-vitalists most rigidly adhere; and we
refer to it, in this connection, that the reader may compare its
complexity and involution of statement and idea with the extreme
simplicity of the biblical genesis, as heretofore presented. We give it in
the exact phraseology employed by Professor Bastian: "Living matter is
formed by, or is the result of, certain combinations and rearrangements
that take place _in invisible colloidal molecules_--a process which is
essentially similar to the mode by which higher organisms are derived from
lower in the pellicle of an organic infusion." This carefully-worded
definition of life, or the origin of "living matter," presents a
hypothetical mode of reasoning which is eminently characteristic of all
materialists. In the stricter definitional sense of the word, there is no
such thing as "living matter" or "dead matter," as we have before claimed.
There are "living organisms" in multitudinous abundance--those resulting
_from_, not _in_, the _vis vitA|_, or the elementary principle of life in
nature--as there are also "dead organisms" in abundance. This
materialistic definition of life, which is not so much as a generic one
even, begins in an absurdity and ends in one. It is agreed that the
"proligerous pellicle" of M. Pouchet, the "plastide particle" of Professor
Bastian, the "monas" of O.F. MA1/4ller, the "bioplast" of Professor Beale,
etc., are essentially one and the same thing, except in name. They are
mere moving specks, or nearly spherical particles, which exhibit the first
active movements in organic solutions. They vary in size from the one
hundred-thousandth to the one twenty-thousandth of a second of an inch in
diameter, and appear at first hardly more than moving specks of
semi-translucent mucus. Indeed, Burdach calls them "primordial mucous
layers." But they move, pulsate, swarm into colonies, and act as if they
were guided, not by separate intelligence, but by some master-builder
supervising the whole work of organic structure. This master-builder is
the one "elementary unit of life," which directs the movements of all the
plastide particles, constantly adding to their working force, from the
first primordial mucous layer of the superstructure to the majestic dome
of thought (in the case of man) which crowns the temple of God on

But this "pellicle" of Professor Bastian is not mere structureless matter,
any more than the "bioplast" of Professor Beale. The fact that they move,
pulsate, work in all directions, shows that they have the necessary organs
with which to work. These organs may be invisible in the field of the
microscope, but that is no proof that they do not exist. Organs are as
essential for locomotion in a plastide particle as in a mastodon or
megatherium, and if the microscope could only give back the proper
response, we should see them, if not be filled with wonder at the
marvellous perfection of their structure. But into whatever divisions or
classifications we may distinguish or generalize the properties of matter,
we can never predicate _vitality_ of it, any more than we can predicate
_intellectuality_. Indeed, "intellectual matter" presents no greater
incongruity or invalidity of conception than "vital matter." These
qualifying terms are applied to the known laws and forces of nature, not
to insensate matter. To assert that life results _from_ "certain
combinations and rearrangements of matter," and not _in_ them, is utterly
to confound cause and effect, or so incongruously mingle them together
that no logical distinction between the two can exist as an object of
perception. Without the _vis vitA|_, or some germinal principle of life,
lying back of these "combinations and rearrangements of matter," and
determining the movements of their constituent molecules, there could be
no vital manifestation, any more than there could be a correlate of a
force without the actual existence of the force itself. [25]

The materialists give the name of "protoplasm" to that primitive
structureless mass of homogeneous matter in which the lowest living
organisms make their appearance. They claim that this generic substance is
endowed with the property or power of producing life _de novo_, or, as
Professor Bastian puts it, of "unfolding new-born specks of living matter"
which subsequently undergo certain evolutional changes; but whether they
die in their experimental flasks, or rise into higher and more potentially
endowed forms of life, it is difficult for those following their diagnoses
to determine. They further claim that the same law of vital manifestation
obtains in organic solutions as in the structureless mass they call
"protoplasm." Both are essentially endowed with the same potentiality of
originating life independently of vital units, or _de novo_, as they more
persistently phrase it. But why speak of _unfolding_ "new-born specks of
living matter?" "To unfold" means to open the folds of something--to turn
them back, get at the processes of their _infoldment_. It implies a
pre-existing something, inwrapped as a germ in its environment. If not a
germ, what is this pre-existing vital something which their language
implies? Is our scientific technology so destitute of definitional
accuracy that they cannot use half a dozen scientific terms without
committing half that number of down-right scientific blunders? "New-born
specks of living matter" is language that a vitalist might possibly use by
sheer inadvertence; but no avowed materialist, like Professor Bastian,
should trip in this definitional way.

"Living matter," _born_ of what? Certainly not of _dead_ matter. Death
quickens nothing into life, not even the autonomous moulds of the grave.
It implies the absence of all vitality--a state or condition of matter in
which all vital functions have been suspended, have utterly ceased, if,
indeed, they ever existed. It behooves the materialists to use language
with more precision and accuracy than this. "Dead matter," whatever the
phrase may imply, can bear nothing, produce nothing, quicken nothing. The
pangs of death once past, the pangs of life cease. Nor is there any birth
from unquickened matter. Animals _bear_ young, trees _bear_ fruit, but
force _produces_ results. What then quickens protoplasmic matter? Neither
vital force, nor vegetative force, if we are to credit the materialists.
They would scorn to postulate such a theory, or accept any such absurd
remnant of the old vitalistic school. It is rather "molecular force"--a
physical, not a vital unit--that gives us these "new-born specks of living
matter." [26] This is what they would all assert at once, in their
enthusiasm to enlighten us on a new terminology.

But "molecular force" fails to give us any additional enlightenment on the
subject we are investigating. It is even less satisfactory than "atomic
force," or "elementary force"--that which may be considered as inhering in
the elementary particles from which both atoms and molecules are derived.
And since both the ultimate atom and the ultimate molecule lie beyond
microscopic reach, the assumption that vital phenomena are the result of
either molecular force or atomic force, rests upon no other basis than
that of imaginary hypothesis. To postulate any such theory of life, is
going beyond the limits of experimental research and inquiry, and hence
adopting an unscientific method. At what point the smallest living
organism is launched into existence--started on its life-journey--no one
is confident enough to assert. The materialist is just as dumb on this
subject as the vitalist; and the only advantage he can have over his
antagonist is to stand on this extreme verge of attenuated matter, and
deny the existence of any force beyond it. The postulation by him of
molecular force at this point, is virtually an abandonment of the whole
controversy. He ceases to be a materialist the moment he passes the
visible boundaries of matter, in search of anything like "undifferentiated
sky-mist" beyond it.

All that we definitely know is that certain conditions of protoplasmic
matter, of organic solutions, of soil-constituents, etc., produce certain
forms of life; and, in the case of solutions, certain low forms of life:
But whether the lower rise, by any insensible gradations, into the higher,
more complex, and definitely expressed forms of life, is altogether
unknown. That any such gradations can be traced from the lowest vital
unit, in the alleged collocations of molecules, is not yet claimed. These
primordial collocations, like the lowest living organisms, lie beyond the
microscopic aids to vision, so that the ultimate genesis of life remains
as much a mystery as ever--becomes, in fact, a mere speculative
hypothesis. And when it comes to this sort of speculation, the materialist
is just as much in the dark as the vitalist, and neither can have any
advantage over the other, except as the one may adopt the analytic, and
the other the synthetic method.

This is the materialistic argument covering the _de novo_ origin of living
organisms:--There is no greater microscopical evidence, they assert, that
these organisms come from pre-existing invisible germs or vital units,
than that crystals are produced in a similar manner--that is, come from
pre-existing invisible germs of crystals. But this is overlooking all
generic distinction in respect to processes or modes of action. Crystals
are inorganic matter which _form_, do not _grow_. They are mere
symmetrical arrangements, not organic growths; and are produced by some
law akin to chemical affinity, acting on the molecules of their
constituent mass. They possess no vital function. They show no beginning
or cessation of life. But, once locked up in their geometric solids, they
remain permanently enduring forms--concessively inorganic, not
functionally-endowed, matter. To speak, therefore, of the "germs of
crystals," is using language that has no appreciable significance to us.
Germs are embryonic, and imply a law of growth--a process of assimilation,
not of mere aggregation.

But, at the risk of being tedious, let us extend this argument of the
materialists a little further: The only difference, they will still
insist, between the preA"xisting germs of crystals and plants--or the only
difference essentially worth noticing--is that crystalline particles of
matter are endowed with much less potentiality of undergoing diversified
forms and structural changes than the more highly favored vital particles,
such as the proligerous pellicle, the bioplast, the plastide, etc. The one
represents mere crystallizable matter, the other the more complex
colloidal or albuminoid substance, or that capable of producing a much
greater number of aggregates. The analogies, they concede, end here. But
the difference is world-wide when we come to processes--the true
experimental test in all classification. Crystallizable substances
_crystallize_--that is all. They pass into a fixed and immovable state,
and mostly into one as enduring as adamant; while colloidal or albuminoid
matter (laboratory protoplasm) takes on no fixed forms--only those that
are ephemeral, merely transitory. This is so marked a feature, in respect
to all the primordial forms of life, that Professor Bastian gives them the
more distinctive name of "ephemeromorphs," in place of _infusoria_. But
all these primordial forms grow--develop into vital activity. Not so with
a solitary crystal. Everywhere the statical unit _forms_, the dynamical
unit _grows_; the one aggregates, the other assimilates; the one
solidifies, the other opens up into living tissue; the one rests in the
embrace of eternal silence, the other breaks the adamantine doors, and
makes nature resonant with praise.

Great stress is laid by the materialists on the changeability of certain
microscopic forms, and the startling metamorphoses they apparently undergo
in different infusions, especially those forms having developmental
tendencies towards fungi and certain low forms of algA|. They attribute
their different modes of branching, articulation, segmentation of
filaments, etc., both to intrinsic tendencies and extrinsic causes, the
latter depending, no doubt, in a great measure upon the chemical changes
constantly taking place in their respective infusions. These intrinsic
tendencies, they would have us believe, depend upon the dynamic force of
molecules, rather than any vital unit, or even change in elementary
conditions. But "Dynamism" simply implies that force inheres in, or
appertains to, all material substance, without specifically designating
either the quantity or quality of the inhering force. If these
materialists, therefore, use the terms "dynamic force," in this
connection, in the sense in which we use vital force, or in the sense in
which they use "statical force" as applied to the formation of crystals,
in contradistinction from "dynamical force" as applied to living
organisms, we have no special objection to urge against this particular
formula. It presents no such formidable antagonism as the vitalists would
expect to encounter from them.

M. Dutrochet is approvingly quoted by Professor Bastian, as asserting that
he could produce different genera of mouldiness (low mycological forms)
_at will_, by simply employing different infusions. This is unquestionably
true, with certain limitations. And the chief limitation is as to _his_
(M. Dutrochet's) will. He might "will," for instance, to plant one field
with corn and another with potatoes, but if the husbandman he employed to
do the planting should happen to plant the one crop where he had willed to
plant the other, and corn should grow where potatoes were planted, and
_vice versa_, then he might be said to have produced corn _at will_. And
so of his infusions. No change in their conditions enabled him to produce
one species, much less a genus, of mouldiness in preference to another, by
any change in the infusions employed by him. The power which implants life
in the mycological world, implants it in every other world, from that
without beginning to that without end. And this implanted life is quite as
complete in one form as another,--

"As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns."

All that the materialists can claim respecting man's agency in the
production of life is, that he may take advantage of the uniform laws of
nature, so far as they are known to him, planting seeds here, changing
chemical conditions there, using different infusions in his experimental
flasks,--organic or inorganic, as he may choose--and then await the
action of these uniform laws. He will find them operative everywhere, and
if he studies them deeply enough, he will find that they are not so much
the laws of nature as they are the laws of nature's God.

Professor Bastian thinks he has conclusive evidence that what he calls
"new-born specks of living matter" are produced _de novo_, that is,
independently of any conceivable germ or germinal principle of life
implanted in nature. But he confounds this implanted principle of life
with the living organism it produces. His morphological cells, as well as
plastide particles, are among these living organisms, as is conclusively
shown by his own experiments. These all perish in his super-heated flasks.
But the vital principle that produced them--that which becomes germinal
under the proper conditional incidences--he can no more destroy by
experimentation than he can create a new world or annihilate the old one.
His flask experiments, therefore, prove nothing; and all this talk about
_de novo_ production is the sheerest scientific delusion. For, were it
possible to destroy every plant, tree, shrub, blade of grass, weed, seed,
underground root, nut, and tuber to-day, the earth would teem with just as
diversified a vegetation as ever to-morrow. A few trees, like the gigantic
conifers of the Pacific slope, might not make their appearance again, and
some plants might drop out of the local flora; but the _Pater omnipotens
Ather_ of Virgil, would descend into the bosom of his joyous spouse (the
earth), and, great himself, mingle with her great body, in all the
prodigality, profusion, and wealth of vegetation as before.[27]

But these defiant challengers of the vitalists, who refuse us even the
right to assume the existence of a special "vital force" in nature, are
anything but consistent in their logical deductions. For while they
resolutely deny the invasion of vital germs in their experimental flasks,
they talk as flippantly of the "germs of crystals," and their presence in
saline and other solutions, as if there were no scientific formula more
satisfactorily generalized than that establishing their existence. Even
Professor Bastian speaks of "germs," in a general sense, as if they
thronged the earth, air, water, and even the stratified rocks, in
countless and unlimited numbers. But we fail to see that any of his
accurately obtained results determine their exclusion from the
experimental media employed by him for that purpose. His unit of value is
a morphological cell, a derivative organism rather than a primary vital
unit; and all organisms are, as we have before said, destructible by heat.
Professor Agassiz is pretty good authority for doubting the existence of
such a cell. The difficulty of assigning to it any definitional value is,
that it lies too near the ultimate implications of matter--those shadowy
and inexplicable confines not yet reached--to admit of any scientific
explication necessarily resting on objective data. If they mean by "germs"
primary organic cells, then none exist in their super-heated infusions,
and they are logical enough in rejecting the idea of their invasion. But
in assuming the cell to be the ultimate unit of value, is where they trip
in attribution, and stumble upon a partial judgment only.

The only value attaching to their theory of crystalline germs is, that it
conclusively establishes the law of uniformity by which all structural
forms are determined, whether they originate in organic infusions or
inorganic solutions--in protoplasm or protoprism. The crystalline system
presents no variability in types, but a rigid adherence to specific forms
of definitely determined value. Whatever geometrical figure any particular
crystal assumed at first, it has continued to assume ever since, and will
forever assume hereafter. As a primary conception of the "Divine
Intendment" (to speak after the manner of Leibnitz) it can neither change
itself, nor become subject to any law of change, or variability, from
eternally fixed types. And this is as demonstrably true of all living
types, after reaching the point of heredity, as of the countless
crystalline forms that go to make up the principal bulk of our planet. In
this light, and as affording this conclusive induction, the crystalline
argument of the materialists has its value.

The materialists should not too mincingly chop logic over the validity of
their own reasoning. If they force upon us their conclusions respecting
statical aggregates, or crystalline forms, let them accept the inductions
that inevitably follow in the case of dynamical aggregates, or living
organisms. Beggars of conditions should not be choosers of conditions,
nor should they be al lowed to dodge equivalent judgments where the
validity of one proposition manifestly rests upon that of another. If
they insist upon the presence of a chemical unit, or, worse still, a
crystalline "germ" or unit, in the case of statical aggregations, they
are effectually estopped from denying the presence of vital units in
dynamical aggregations. And if they further force upon us the conviction
that the process of aggregation, when once determined, remains in the one
case, eternally fixed and certain, they should not be permitted to turn
round and insist that, in the other case, there is nothing fixed and
certain, but all is variability, change, uncertainty of specific forms.
If vital units have only a hypothetical existence, then chemical units,
statical units, and morphological units, should fall into the same
categories of judgment.

A great deal of needless ingenuity has been wasted, both by the vitalists
and materialists, in formulating impossible definitions of life--in
attempts to tell us what life is. But Mr. Herbert Spencer is believed, by
his many admirers, to have hit upon the precise explanatory phrases
necessary to convey its true definitional meaning. He defines it as "_the
continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations_." This
definition, when first formulated, was received by all the materialists of
Europe with the wildest enthusiasm. It was absolutely perfect. All the
phenomenal facts of life fitted into it, as one box, in a nest of them,
fitted into another. The universal world was challenged to show that any
other phenomenal fact than the one of life would fit into this prodigious
formula of Mr. Spencer. The London "Times" tried its hand on it, but only
in a playful way. It said: "All the world, or at least all living things,
are nothing but large boxes containing an infinite number of little boxes,
one within the other, and the least and tiniest box of all contains the
germ,"--the elementary principle of life. But this was hardly a legitimate
characterization. A nest of boxes presents no idea of "continuous
adjustment," nor are the internal relations of one box adjusted to the
external relations of another. The definition is really that of a piece of
working machinery--any working machinery--and was designed to cover Mr.
Spencer's theory of "molecular machinery" as run by molecular force.

But the earth presents the most perfect adjustment of internal relations
to those that are external, and it continuously presents them. Even the
upheaval of its fire-spitting mountains affords the highest demonstration
of the adjustment of its inner terrestrial forces to those that are purely
external; and much more does it show the adjustment of its internal to its
external relations. There is a continuous adaptation of means to ends, of
causes to effects, of adjustments to re-adjustments, in respect to the
characteristics of the earth's surface--its physical configuration, the
distribution of its fluids and solids, its fauna and flora, its
hygrometric and thermometric conditions, its ocean, wind, and
electro-magnetic currents, and even its meteorological manifestations--all
showing a continuous adjustment of interior to exterior conditions or
relations. The earth should, therefore, fall under the category of "life,"
according to Herbert Spencer's definitional formula. And so should an
automatic dancing-jack that is made to run by internal adjustments to
external movements or manifestations. There are any number of Professor
Bastian's "ephemoromorphs" that do not live half as long as one of these
automatic dancing-jacks will run, and so long as they run, the adjustment
of their internal to their external relations is continuous.

The success of Mr. Spencer's definition of "life" encouraged Professor
Bastian to try his hand at it, with this definitional result: "Life," he
says, "is an unstable collocation of Matter (with a big M), capable of
growing by selection and interstitial appropriation of new matter (what
new matter?) which then assumes similar qualities, of continually varying
in composition in response to variations of its Medium (another big M),
and which is capable of self-multiplication by the separation of portions
of its own substance."

It shall not be our fault if the reader fails to understand this
definition--to untwist this formidable formula of life. And we can best
aid him by grammatically analyzing its structure. And,

1. "Life is capable of growing." We are glad to know this. As a vitalist
it enables us to take a step towards the front--gets us off the "back
seat" to which we were summarily ordered at the outset of this inquiry. We
let its "unstable collocation" pass for what it is worth, and stick to our
grammatical analysis.

2. "Life grows--is capable of doing something." This assurance positively
encourages us.

3. "It grows by selection and interstitial appropriation." This is still
more encouraging. It emboldens us to take a second step forward. Life, we
feel, is increasing in potentiality.

4. "By appropriation it enables _new matter to assume similar qualities
to old matter_." This makes us more confident than ever; we take another
step forward--are half disposed to take two of them. Life is getting to
be almost a "potentiated potentiality," to adopt the style of
materialistic phrases.

5. "It causes matter _to continually vary in composition._" Bravo! we
unhesitatingly take two steps forward on the strength of this most
comforting assurance. Life is assuredly getting the upperhand of
Matter (with a big M.) It is no longer a mere "undiscovered correlate
of motion"--a hypothetical slave to matter only. It wrestles with
it--throws it into the shade. We involuntarily take several more
steps forward.

6. "Life is capable of self-multiplication"--has almost a creative
faculty. Here we interject a perfect bravura of "bravoes," and,
stepping boldly up to the front, demand of Professor Bastian to "throw
up the sponge," take a back seat, and there--formulate us a new
definition of "life."

But our London University materialist is not entirely satisfied with his
own definition, or at least with the moral effect of it. He thinks that
all these attempts to define life as a non-entity only, tend to keep up
the demoralizing idea that it is an actual entity. We entirely agree with
him in this conclusion. The infelicity and entire inconclusiveness of the
definition he has vouchsafed us can hardly have any other effect. He sees
this himself, and hence this foot-note to his great work on
Ephemeromorphs: "Inasmuch as no life can exist without an organism, of
which it is the phenomenal manifestation, so it seems comparatively
useless to attempt to define this phenomenal manifestation alone--and,
what is worse, such attempts tend to keep up the idea that life is an
independent entity."

It may be objected that our grammatical analysis of the professor's
definition of life is unfair, since he manifestly intended that it should
cover a "living thing," and not "life" as an abstract, term. Our reply to
this is, that he makes no distinction between the two. Life, with him, is
simply a phenomenal manifestation. The two are correlative terms; so that
his definition of the one must necessarily be the definition of the other,
either as an identical or partial judgment. But let us take his definition
entirely out of its abstract sense, and run it into the concrete. The able
pathological anatomist of the London University college is a "living
thing." He is, therefore, presumably a phenomenal manifestation. He is
capable of growing, by "selection and interstitial appropriation," in
reputation at least, if not in the direction of "an independent entity."
His work of twelve hundred pages, covering his laborious delvings into the
ephemeromorphic world, is conclusive on this point. As a phenomenal
manifestation alone, any attempt to define either him or his professional
labors, may be worse than useless, since it would tend to keep up the idea
that he is an actual London entity. We are very confident that he is not a
London non-entity, but are willing to agree that he is either the one or
the other. The flaw that we are after lies in his interstitial logic, not
in the hallucination in which he indulges respecting nonentities. His
assumption that life cannot exist without an organism, of which it is the
phenomenal manifestation, is what we propose to deal with.

Now, directly the reverse of this proposition is what is true. An organism
cannot exist without life or an independent vital principle in nature, any
more than celestial bodies can be held in their place independently of
gravitation. The vital principle that organizes must precede the thing
organized or the living organism, as the great formative principle of the
universe (call it the will of God, gravitation or what you may) must have
existed before the first world-aggregation. In logic, we must either
advance or fall back--insist upon precedence being given to cause over
effect, or deny their relative connection altogether. The organism is the
phenomenal manifestation, not the vital principle which organizes it. To
say that there can be no _manifestation_ of life without an organism is
true; but to assume that the vital principle which organizes is dependent
on its own organism for its manifestation is absurd. It would be the
lesser fallacy to deny the phenomenal fact altogether, and insist that
cause and effect are mere intellectual aberrations, or such absurd mental
processes as find no correlative expression in nature, as that embodying
the idea of either an antecedent or a consequent.

"Plato lived." He ate, he drank, he talked divinely. He was the occupant
of an admirably constructed life-mansion; one that St. Paul would have
looked upon as "the temple of God," and all the world would have
recognized as a god-like temple. His head was a study for the Greek
chisel; none was ever more perfectly modeled, or artistically executed.
All agreed in this. And yet it was not the _habitat_ but the _habitant_
that attracted the admiration of the Greek mind; enkindled its highest
enthusiasm; drew all the schools of philosophy, about him at once. It was
the lordly occupant of the temple, the indwelling _Archeus_, presiding
over all the organic phenomena and directing all the dynamic powers
therein, which was so profoundly present in the living Plato. Even
Professor Haeckel, of the famous University of Jena, would not deny this,
with all that his new terms "ontogeny" and "phylogeny" may imply. When
potential life passed over into actual life in the individual Plato, it
was not the pabulum that assimilated the man, but the man the pabulum. If
this were not so, then the mere potentiality of growing, as in the case
of plants and animals, would be all there is to distinguish the
phenomenal manifestation of a Plato from that of a mole or a
cabbage-stalk. In other words, if the animating principle of life--or, as
the Bible has it, the "animating soul of life"--is not what manifests
itself in material embodiment, but the reverse, what can Professor
Haeckel mean by his new term "phylogeny," which ought to cover the lines
of descent in all organic beings?

If it be a question of mere pabulum, it is altogether _mal posA(C)_. Pabulum
is nothing without a preA"xisting "something" to dispose of it. It is not
so much as a jelly-mass breakfast for one of Professor Haeckel's
"protamoebA|;" for if it were served up in advance, there would be none of
his little non-nucleated jelly-eaters to partake of it, much less any of
his "protogenes." As the famous Mrs. Glass would say, in her "hand-book of
cookery," if you want a delightful "curry," first catch your hare. But our
ingenious professor of Jena dispenses with both the hare and the curry, in
serving up his pabulum to the "protamoebA|." The improvident pabulum
"evolves" its own eaters, and then, spider-like, is eviscerated by them,
as was Actaeon by his own hounds. As Life, therefore, begins in the
tragedy of Mount CithA|ron, it is to be hoped it will end in the delights
of Artemis and her bathing nymphs.

Chapter VIII.

Materialistic Theories of Life Refuted.

The methods by which the advocates of a purely physical origin of life
seek to establish the correctness of their conclusions, are unfortunately
not always attended by uniform results in experimentation. They subject
their solutions of organic matter to a very high temperature by means of
super-heated flasks, the tubes to which are so packed in red-hot materials
that whatever air may enter them shall encounter a much greater degree of
heat than that indicated by boiling water. At this temperature (100A deg.
C--212A deg. F) they assume that all living organisms perish, especially when
the solutions containing them have been kept, for the space of fifteen or
twenty minutes, at this standard point of heat. But, in the light of all
the experiments which have been made in this direction, there is some
doubt as to the entire correctness of their assumption. That many, if not
most living organisms, perish at a temperature of 100A deg. C, there is little
or no doubt; but that there are some which are much more tenacious of
life, that is, possess greater vital resistance to heat, is equally

M. Pasteur, for instance, mentions the spores of certain fungi which are
capable of germinating after an exposure of some minutes to a temperature
of 120A deg. to 125A deg. C. (248-257A deg. F), while the same spores entirely lose their
germinating power after an exposure for half an hour or more to a slightly
higher temperature. Dr. Grace-Calvert, in a paper on "The Action of Heat
on Protoplasmic Life," recently published in the proceedings of the Royal
Society, asserts that certain "black vibrios" are capable of resisting the
action of fluids at a temperature as high as 300A deg. F, although exposed
therein for half an hour or more. But none of these crucial tests, however
diverse in experimental results, really touch the all-important question
in controversy. They all relate either to living organisms, or to the
seeds and spores of vegetation, not to living indestructible
"germs"--invisible vital units--declared to be in the earth itself.

We use the term "vital unit" in the same restricted sense in which the
materialists speak of "chemical units," "morphological units," etc., which
they admit are invisible in the microscopic field, and hence they can have
no positive information as to their destructibility or indestructibility
by heat. That this vital unit lies, in its true functional tendencies,
between the chemical and morphological units--manifesting itself in the
conditions of the one and resulting in the structural development of the
other--is no new or startling theory, but one that has been more or less
obscurely hinted at by Leibnitz, and even acknowledged as possible by
Herbert Spencer. It is this vital unit that assimilates or aggregates
protoplasmic matter into the morphological cell, or the initial organism
in a vital structure, or an approach towards structural form.
Morphological cells are not therefore "units," considered as the least of
any given whole, nor are they mere structureless matter, or any more
homogeneous in character than in substance. Different chemical solutions
give rise to different morphological cells, as differently constituted
soils produce different vegetal growths. Change the chemical conditions in
any solution or infusion, and you change the entire morphological
character of the infusoria appearing therein.[28] The cells are living
organisms springing from vital units, and can no more manifest themselves
independently of these units than life can manifest itself independently
of an actual organism. And they make their appearance in the proper
environing conditions, just as the oak comes from its primordial germ or
vital unit in the chemically changed conditions of the soil. Everywhere
the vital germ or unit precedes the vital growth as the plant or tree
precedes the natural seeds it bears.

This is not only the logical order, but the exact scientific method of
vital manifestation and growth. In this truth lies the whole mystery of
vegetal and animal life as hitherto manifested on our globe, with the
single exception of man whose crowning distinction it was to receive "a
living soul." This may be rejected as a scientific statement, but its
verification will appear in the very act of its rejection. Pry as deeply
as we may into the _arcana_ of nature in search of exact scientific truth,
and we shall ultimately land in one or the other of these
propositions,--either that nature was originally endowed with some occult
and unknown power "to bring forth," which power is either continuously
inherent or continuously imparted, or else "specific creation" was the
predetermined plan and purpose, with no higher or more specialized animal
or vegetal forms than were specifically created in the beginning.
Otherwise, we are inevitably forced back, by our mental processes, which
we cannot resist, upon an effect without a cause--a physical law of the
universe without any conceivable law-giver--an all-pervading,
all-energizing principle of matter which must have existed as a cause
infinitely anterior to its first effect. And this is forcing language into
such crazy and paralytic conclusions as to utterly destroy its efficiency
as a vehicle of thought.

To conceive of the existence of the universe, or of any possible law that
may be operative therein, without an adequate antecedent cause, is as
metaphysically impossible as to conceive of substance without form, space
without extension, or a God who has been superceded in the universe by the
operation of his own laws. For if the world-ordaining and world-arranging
intelligence of the universe has ceased to ordain and arrange,--if all
things therein have been left to the operation of fixed and eternally
unchangeable laws--then no further supervisional direction is required on
the part of either an infinite or a finite intelligence, and our idea of a
God must disappear in the paramount induction of a universe which has
successfully risen up in insurrection against its own maker and lawgiver,
if it has not remorselessly consigned him to some inconceivable limbo
outside of the universe itself. But this Titanic, and worse than satanic,
insurrection on the part of a universe of matter and motion, is only the
conjectural coinage of the human brain--the wild supposition hazarded by
the materialistic mind--and fortunately has no conceivable counterpart
outside of it.

But the palpable blunder, in materialistic science, consists in its
overlooking the necessary outgrowth of theological ideas in the human
mind--as conclusively a phenomenal fact of nature as the invariable
uniformity of astronomical movements, the ebb and flow of the tides, or
the electro-magnetic waves of the earth itself. And nature furnishes no
greater clue to the one set of phenomena than the other. For when we say
that bodies act one upon another by the force of gravity, we are no nearer
an explication of the force itself, than we should be were we to allege
any corresponding manifestation on the part of the human mind. Kant says;
"We cannot conceive of the existence of matter without the forces of
attraction and repulsion--the conflict of two elementary forces in the
universe;" much less can we have any conception of the elementary forces
themselves. Science can, therefore, assign no more conclusive reason for
overlooking psychical manifestations than physical phenomena. Nor is the
one set of phenomena any more marvellous in its manifestations than the
other. They may both furnish food for speculative thought and inquiry, and
yet the nearer we get to the ultimate implications of either, the more
completely are we lost in Professor Tyndall's "primordial haze," from
which he assumes that the universe, and all the phenomenal manifestations
therein, originally came.

But however rapidly these materialistic theories may disappear in the
scientific waste-basket of the future, there is one sublime verity that
will stand the test of all time, and that is, that the moral universe of
God is no less complete, in the Divine Intendment, than the physical
universe, while the latter is so inter-correlated and inter-tissued with
the former, in all its conceivable relations, that it can no more exist
independently of its correlative, than matter can exist independently of
space, or time independently of eternity. [29]

According to this view of Leibnitz, all living organisms have their own
essence, or essential qualities and characteristics. They have been from
all eternity in the "Divine Intendment," and can undergo no changes or
modifications which shall make them essentially different from what they
were in the beginning, or are now. This is not only true of the "germs"
that are "in themselves upon the earth," but of every living thing,
whether lying within or beyond the telescopic or microscopic limits. As a
law of causation, as well as of consecutive thought, there must be in the
order of life (all life) a continuous chain of ideas linking the past to
the present, the present to the future, and the future to eternity. But
that this continuous chain is dependent on mere physical changes or
manifestations, is a logical induction utterly incapable of being
exhibited in scientific formulA|. The higher and more satisfactory
induction is that which places cause before effect, the Maker before the
made, the Creator before the creature, and so on, in the analogical order,
till the smallest conceivable "vital unit" is reached in the universe of
organic matter. To begin, therefore, with microscopic observation, at a
point in the ephemeromorphic world where that optical instrument fails to
give back any intelligible answer, and synthetically follow this chain of
causation upward and outward to Dr. Tyndall's "fiery cloud of mist," in
which it is assumed that all the diversified possibilities and
potentialities of the universe once lay latent, may answer the logical
necessities of the "Evolution" theory, but will never satisfy the
inductive processes of a Plato, a Leibnitz, or a Newton.

Professor Tyndall, in speaking of his "fiery-cloud" theory, says: "Many
who hold the hypothesis of natural evolution would probably assent to the
position (his position) that at the present moment all our philosophy, all
our poetry, all our science, all our art,--Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, and
a Da Vinci--are potential in the fires of the sun." But, to be consistent
in their inductions, they should proclaim themselves sun-worshippers at
once, and ascribe to that transcendent luminary all the potentialities of
a universe

"Fresh-teeming from the hand of God."

But what possible advantage, we would ask, can this physical hypothesis of
life have over that which ascribes to God the issues of all life in the
universe, from the highest to the lowest living organism? We can
positively conceive of none but that of placing the cosmological cart
before the horse, and so harnessing "cause and effect" _in tandem_, that
the latter shall uniformly precede the former in the chain of logical
induction. As a dialectical feat, in exhibiting the higher possibilities
of logic, it may have its advantages in subordinating the facts of science
to the higher illuminations of fancy, and thus resting the basis of
reality on the ever-changing and ever-shifting assumptions of the human
mind. For the materialistic theories of to-day are not those of yesterday,
nor is there any certainty that they will be those of to-morrow. They are
almost as fantastic and variable as the forms of the kaleidoscope,
although, as a general rule, they lack the symmetrical arrangements and
proportions of that scientific toy.

Professor Bastian, in considering the heterogenetic phenomena of "living
matter," is obliged to fall back, near the end of his great work, on "the
countless myriads of living units which have been evolved (?) in the
different ages of the world's history." But by what process a "vital
unit" can be _evolved_, he does not condescend to tell us. He has no
"primordial formless fog" to fall back upon as has Professor Tyndall, nor
can he imagine anything beyond the least of possible conceptions in a
chemical, morphological, or vital unit. A "unit" can neither be evolved
nor involved; it admits of no square, no multiple, no differentiation; it
is simply the ever-potent unit of "organic polarity," by which it
multiplies effects, but can never be multiplied itself. The chief fault
that we have to find with the London University professor is that he
confounds a morphological cell with a morphological unit, and insists
upon drawing unwarrantable conclusions therefrom. His "countless myriads
of living units" are all well enough in their way. That they exist in the
earth, and are constantly developed into innumerable multitudes of living
organisms, of almost inconceivable variety, in both the animal and
vegetal world, is true, as he half-reluctantly admits in almost the
identical language we here use.

And he also admits that morphological cells, when once formed, continue to
grow by their own individual power or inherent tendency. But before they
can manifest any such inherent tendency, they must be developed from the
vital units that lie back of them, and on which their manifestation
unquestionably depends. The only doubt that can possibly exist on this
point is, that the process of development cannot be determined by
microscopic examination. But we may as well assume the presence of vital
units in the case of dynamical aggregates, as for Professor Bastian to
insist upon crystalline units in the case of statical aggregates or
crystals. Both processes, in their initial stages of development, lie
beyond the reach of human scrutiny, and all that we know, or possibly can
know, is, that certain inorganic conditions are favorable for the
development of crystals, as certain organic conditions are favorable for
the development of morphological cells. Beyond this Professor Bastian
knows nothing--we know nothing.

Professor Beale, in his recent work on "the Mystery of Life"--one that is
now justly attracting very wide attention--says: "Between the two sets of
phenomena, physical and vital, not the faintest analogy can be shown to
exist. The idea of a particle of muscular or nerve tissue being formed by
a process akin to crystallization, appears ridiculous to any one who has
studied the two classes of phenomena, or is acquainted with the structure
of these tissues." And he quietly, yet effectively, ridicules the idea
that the ultimate molecules of matter--substantially the same matter, in
fact--have the power to arrange themselves, independently of vital
tendency, alternately into a dog-cell or a man-cell, according to the
specific direction they may take, or the incidence of conditions they may
undergo, in their primary movement. And for the benefit of Professor
Beale, behind whose "bioplasts," we place the "vital unit"--not a variable
but a constant unit--we would have him bear in mind (what he so well
knows) that the finest fibres that go to make up these tissues lie quite
beyond the microscopic limit in their interlaced and spirally-coiled
reticulations, so that nothing can be predicated of their ultimate
contexture, any more than of the ultimate distribution of matter itself.
He has himself traced these wonderfully minute nerve-ramifications under
glasses of the highest magnifying power, and knows that their ultimate
distribution cannot be reached. Let him come out then, as the ablest
vitalist now living, and boldly assert the presence of the man-_unit_ and
the dog-_unit,_ instead of falling back on his bioplastic spinners and
weavers of tissue, which are only the servants and willing workers of the
one integral unit, or life-directing force, within. It is far more
rational, and, at the same time, more accordant with strict scientific
methods, to attribute these muscular and nerve reticulations to a single
direct cause, than to a multitude of secondary causes.

There is a world-wide difference between the dog-_ego_ and the man-_ego;_
but the physical differences are not by any means the greatest. The
bioplastic spinners and weavers work as obediently for the one
master-_ego_ as the other. They never stop to inquire how far they shall
differentiate this vital tissue or that, or in what direction even they
shall work. Not a thread is spun nor a shuttle thrown that is not directed
by the one head-webster of vital tissue. These obedient bioplasts
determine nothing, direct nothing. Each works in his own cell as
obediently as a galley-slave. All specific modifications, all determinate
movements, all molecular arrangements, all multiplications of bioplastic
force, are the work of the one vital webster, or principle of life,
within--that which shapes all, directs all, determines all. And this is
true from the first or embryological inception of the dog-unit or "germ,"
until the real occupant of the dog-tenement dismisses his bioplastic
weavers, and lies down to die. And so of all vital units. Each determines
its own structural form, and unchangeably retains it to the end, even to
the slightest impression of a scar inflicted years and years before. The
occupant of this dog-mansion has dismissed one set of bioplastic weavers
after another; has thrown aside this spun tissue and that warp and woof of
woven texture, time and time again, so that the dog of to-day is not the
same _physical_ dog of a year ago; and yet he has the same affection for
his master, carries with him the same scar received twenty years before in
the chase, gives the same glad bark of welcome as his owner nears home,
exhibits the same characteristic wag in his tail, and, lying down to
sleep, dreams of the once happy chase in which he is no longer able to
engage. This continuous presence of the same dog, through all these twenty
years of physical change--the old dog reappearing in the new, a dozen
times over--is what we mean by the constantly differentiating yet
undifferentiated "dog-unit."

Those who attempt to bisect this vital unit, divide it up into one
fractional part after another, until it shall represent a million
bioplastic workers in as many different cells, are committing the same
sort of folly--in principle at least, if not in practice--as that which
led the simple-minded daughters of Pelias to cut up their father, in the
expectation of boiling the old bioplasts into new, and then, by the
cunning aid of Medea, who directed the operation, reuniting them into the
one Peliastic-unit they so much delighted to honor. But this first and
only recorded attempt at differentiating a vital unit disastrously failed,
as the reader of ancient myths well knows, although the experiment was
conducted by the most careful and loving hands. The necessary chemical
re-agents to reproduce life, as well as the necessary processes of
producing it _de novo_ have not yet been ascertained, nor is it likely
they ever will be. And herein lies the most marked distinction between
crystallizable matter and living substance.

And yet there is no evidence that the vital principle perishes in the
destruction of its temporary organism. It is not the material seed that
germinates, but the vital principle it contains, bursting forth from its
environment into newness of life. All that can be alleged of either boiled
or calcined seeds is, that the material substances of which they were
composed are so changed in their chemical constituents, or molecular
adjustment, that they are no longer capable of developing, or being
developed, into a living organism. "Principles never die," and this is as
true of the vital principles in nature, as those obtaining in ethics and
morals. Were it possible to restore the exact chemical conditions and
constituent particles of the boiled or calcined seed, there is no more
doubt that nature would respond to the environing conditions, and give
forth the proper expression of plant-life, than there is that crystals of
spar would make their appearance in an overcharged bath chemically
prepared for that purpose. It is not the albuminous substance enclosed in
the seed, but the vital principle therein--that continuously imparted to
nature from the great vital fountain of the universe--which burgeons forth
into life whenever and wherever the required conditions obtain.

In proof of this statement, we might instance any number of cases where
recently abandoned brick-yards and other clayey excavations, were situated
at considerable distances from any natural water-courses, or fish-stocked
ponds, from which spawn could have been derived, and yet these excavations
have no sooner been filled with permanently standing rain water, than
certain small fishes of the _Cyprinidae_ and other families, have made
their appearance therein.[30] Nobody has thought of stocking these
standing pools of water with the fish in question, nor has there been any
surface overflow to account for their presence, nor any other apparent
means of transportation, if we except the fish-catching birds, and they
generally swallow their food in the water or on the nearest tree to the
point of capture. Any theory accounting for the presence of spawn is,
therefore, out of the question. This spawn must have traversed hard clay
deposits for the distance of half a mile or more to make their appearance
in these waters. The only possible explanation of this class of phenomena,
and they are by no means infrequent, is to be found in "favoring
conditions" and the "presence of vital units." They are primordial
manifestations of life, and such as would have made their appearance in
any corresponding latitude of the southern hemisphere, under the same
favoring conditions.

And this is true of all living organisms from the lowest morphological
cell, in the ichthyologic world, to the highest and lordliest conifer that
grows. Their spawn and seeds are perishable by heat, but the vital
principle that organizes them is as imperishable in one element as
another. No seven-times heated furnace, much less the experimental flasks
of the physicist, will affect a vital principle of nature any more than a
May-morning puff of the east wind would shake Olympus. And all the
countless myriads of vital units in nature are now manifesting themselves
in animal and vegetal forms, under favoring conditions, the same as in
those far-distant epochs of the world's history when a more exuberant
vegetation prevailed, if not a more abounding animal life. The same
persistent, ever-acting law of vital development and growth has been
present, in all conditions and circumstances of matter, ever since the
detritus of the silicious rocks felt the first influence of the rains, the
dews, and the sunlight. Then the earth commenced "to bring forth the
grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-trees yielding fruit, after
his kind;" and in their growth was laid the foundation of animal life.
Whether there was any audible or inaudible command of God uttered at the
time, is not the question. It is the _fact_ of vital growth that we are
after, and not the command. The geologic records attest the fact, as well
as the ever-acting vital law; and it is enough for us to know, with sturdy
old Richard Hooker, that all law--and especially all _vital_ law--"has her
seat in the bosom of God, and her voice is the harmony of the world."

Professor Beale, while resolutely combating the physical hypothesis of
life, is not a little unfortunate in his use of scientific terms. He is
constantly using those of "living matter" and "dead matter," as if they
contained no fatal concession to the materialists, with which to
completely overthrow his own ultimate conclusions as to life. For he gains
nothing by merely substituting "bioplasm" and "bioplasts" for "protoplasm"
and "plastide particles." The essential plasma in both cases is the same,
and behind each lies the vital unit or principle therein manifested--the
invisible, indestructible germ or ZRA of the Bible genesis. Living
organisms come, of course, from this essential plasma, but without an
elementary principle or vital unit therein, there would be no "bioplasts,"
in the sense in which Professor Beale uses this term. These bioplasts are
living organisms which take up nutrient matter and convert it by
assimilation into tissues, nerves, fibres, bones, etc.--into the higher
and more complex organs that go to make up living structure. This
mysterious transmutation of one thing into another, as organic matter into
living organisms, is due to a vitally implanted principle, not to these
little bioplasts, or mere epithelial and other tools with which the vital
principle works. To apply the term "living matter" to the tools with which
a living structure is built up, is to lose sight of the master-mechanic
using them for an apparently intelligent purpose. The microscope may
demonstrate that these little bioplasts throb--have life; but there is no
intelligent purpose manifested by them except as they are moved by an
unseen hand that conclusively directs the whole structural work--builds up
the one complete symmetrical structure, not its thousand independent parts
having no relation to a general plan. The future lord and occupant of the
mansion is presumably present, and if he uses tools that "throb and have
life," it is because everything he touches is quickened into life that it
may be the more obedient to his will. If this structure be the
soul-endowed one of man, the vital principle imparted is that which
fashions the epithelial tools, and uses them, as well in laying the
embryological foundation, as in crowning its work with that many-colored
"dome of thought flashing the white radiance of eternity."

Mr. Joseph Cook, who enthusiastically follows Professor Beale in his
theory of life, in one of his "Boston Monday Lectures," says; "It is
beyond contradiction that we know that these little points ('bioplasts')
of structureless matter spin the threads, and weave the warp and woof, of
organisms." With all due respect to this distinguished lecturer, we must
except to not less than three points in as many lines of his
over-confident statement. In the first place, we know nothing respecting
the "beginnings of life," which may not be contradicted with some show of
reason. Take his own definition of "bioplasts," as copied from Professor
Beale, coupled with what they both term "nutrient matter" and "germinal
matter," or bioplasm, and this confident assertion of his will land him at
once where the highest powers of the microscope fail to give back any
intelligible answer, or where neither assertion nor contradiction avails
anything. A bioplast, they tell us, is a germinal point in germinal matter
or bioplasm. It is also assumed that the central portion of every cell in
an organic tissue is a bioplast. Here this wonderful little weaver of
tissue sits spinning his threads and weaving them into the warp and woof
of "formed matter"--that which, according to Professor Beale, becomes
"dead matter" as soon as it is woven! But it is admitted that the nerve
fibres constitute an uninterrupted network which admits of no
endings--that is, whose ultimate reticulations lie beyond the microscopic
limit. But there is a cell in every hundredth part of an inch of these
ultimate reticulations, in each of which one of these bioplastic weavers
sits plying his threads into the warp and woof of nerve tissue, if not of
nerve force. What is known of these little weavers, either by Mr. Joseph
Cook or Professor Lionel S. Beale? Manifestly nothing, unless they have
been specially favored with microscopes of over 2,800 diameters--the
highest yet made,--and have fathomed the ultimate implications of nerve
force; an assumption on the part of the Boston lecturer to which we are
bound to except.

Nor are these "bioplasts" mere structureless matter, however minute they
may be as "little points." They differ only from "morphological cells," in
the definitional language employed by different theorists, and lack the
all-essential accuracy of distinction necessary to scientific
classification. To define a bioplast as a germinal point in germinal
matter, or bioplasm, is to draw no satisfactory line of distinction
between the two, except that the one is a mere aggregation of the other. A
germinal mass is only made up of germinal points--those considered as the
least of any given whole--however infinitesimal they may be in theoretical
statement. If any germinal point in germinal matter, therefore, be a
bioplast, then every germinal point, to the extent of making up its entire
mass, must be a bioplast; and the distinction between the two becomes
merely verbal, and without generic signification. But every morphological
cell is conceded to be an organism, whether it lie within or beyond the
microscopic limit. And it invariably exhibits a greater or less amount of
cellular activity at its centre. It grows rather than spins; it builds up
tissue, rather than weaves it into warp and woof; it assimilates nutritive
matter rather than plies a loom in any conceivable sense in which we may
view that industrial machine. No matter what we may call this point of
vital activity in a cell--whether it be a bioplast, a plastid, a
physiological unit, or a granule of "elementary life-stuff"--it simply
performs the one single function of life to which it is specifically
assigned in the process of "building up" any one identical individual of a
species, whether it be a man, an ape, a tree, or a parasitic fungus. The
very admission that the bioplast spins, makes it an organism, and not mere
structureless matter. For the first thread it spins is manifestly for its
own covering or the ornamentation of its own cell-walls. And to speak of
these as "structureless matter" is to confound all scientific sense, as
well as meaning.

The third objection to Mr. Cook's statement is, that if bioplasts spin, it
is as dependent, and not as independent machines or agencies. There are
millions of these bioplasts--taking the word in the sense in which
Professor Beale uses it--in every living organism considered as a
biological whole. In the case of man, there are millions of them within a
comparatively small compass; and each has its own cell to which its
specific work is assigned. Now, these germinal points, or bioplasts, in
each of these myriads of cells, work, not separately and independently,
like so many oysters in their respective shells, but harmoniously and
together, as if under the supervisional direction of one supreme architect
and builder. This builder is that one elementary principle of life,
appertaining to each specific individual as a species, with which nature
was endowed from the beginning, and which, in the case of man, was a
direct emanation from Deity. It is this vital principle manifesting itself
_in_ all living organisms, not _from_ them; directing Professor Beale's
"bioplastic weavers," not directed by them; availing itself of necessary
plasmic conditions, if not giving rise to them in the first instance;
observing no developmental processes by which one form of life laps over
upon another, and following no order but that of universal harmony in the
Divine intendment. There is struggle and rivalry for existence, even among
the same classes, orders, genera, and species, and the smallest and
weakest must give place to the largest and strongest everywhere, and _vice
versa_, as Time, the greatest of all rodents, gnaws away at the mystical
tree of life. But in every living organism, from the lowest and simplest
to the highest and most complex, all bioplastic spinners of filamentous
tissue, all plastide weavers of membranous or spun matter, all epithelial
bobbin-runners, and other anatomical helpers and workers, perform their
respective tasks under the special supervision we have named, that is,
under the higher unit of life. They all work for the advancement and
well-being of the higher organism of which they form a component and
necessarily subordinate part.

The fact that Professor Beale has discovered that what he calls bioplasm
and germinal points or bioplasts may take on a distinct and separate color
from tissue, when subjected to a solution of carmine in ammonia, is no
evidence that he has penetrated the adytum of this sacred temple of Life,
wherein lies the "mystery of mysteries." It is an important discovery so
far as tracing tissue is concerned, but it admits him into no higher
mystery within the temple built by God than another may attain to by the
accidental discovery that the tissues may take on the same color in some
other solution--by no means an improbable discovery. Carmine in ammonia is
not the only solution that may aid science in the investigations now being
carried forward by the vitalists and non-vitalists with so much bitterness
and asperity of feeling between them; and now that Professor Beale has
made _his_ happy discovery, it is by no means certain that some other
equally persistent worker in this interesting field of inquiry may not hit
upon quite as happy a discovery in the same or some equivalent
direction--one that shall throw the bioplasmic theory as far into the
shade as Mr. Cook thinks the bioplasts have already thrown the cells.

But decidedly the most objectionable statement of Professor Beale,
although one confidently re-affirmed by our "Boston Monday Lecturer," is
that which makes bioplasm and bioplasts the only "living matter." We have
already referred to the phrases "living matter" and "non-living matter" as
altogether objectionable in biological statement, since they are more than
half-way concessions to the materialists, who contemptuously order the
vitalists to take a "back seat" in the discussions now going forward as to
the true origin of life. But the objection we here make is less technical,
and touches a far more vital point in the inquiry. It is true that
Professor Beale speaks of "formed matter," as if it were a peculiar
something--a sort of _tertium quid_--between living and non-living matter.
But he distinctly avers that the substance which turns red in his carmine
solutions is the "only living matter," and hence asserts, inferentially at
least, that all other matter, in any and every living organism, is "dead
matter." But we may just as confidently aver that no matter is living in
any vital organism which has not been assimilated and built up into living
membranous tissue capable of responding (in the case of man) to his will,
as well as performing the autonomous functions of plants and the lower
animals. For all these membranous tissues are innumerably thronged with
bioplasts or plastide particles, not for the purposes of obedience to
man's will, or of performing any autonomous function, but simply to supply
the tissues with the necessary nutrient matter to make up for the constant
waste that is going on in a healthy living organ. This waste is very much
greater than has heretofore been supposed, so that the man or animal of
to-day may be an entirely distinct and separate one, considered
materially, from that of a year or more ago. And this averment would have
a decided advantage over Professor Beale's, since, in meeting a friend, we
might be certain that four-fifths of him at least was alive, while the
other one-fifth was industriously at work to keep him alive, instead of a
stalking corpse, as he would otherwise be, upon the street. Besides, it
would obviate the necessity, on the part of the vitalists, of giving
themselves four-fifths away to the materialists, as Professor Beale
virtually does in the argument.

The too rude touch of a child's hand will rob the canary bird of its
life--stifle its musical throat, hush its most ecstatic note, still its
exquisite song, and render forever mute and silent its voice. But where
are Professor Beale's bioplasts which, but a moment before, were not only
weaving the nerves, tissues, muscles, bones, and even the wonderful
plumage of this canary bird, but plying the invisible threads of
song--throwing off its chirps, carols, trills, quavers, airs, overtures
and brilliant _roulades_, as if the little vocalist had caught its
inspiration from the very skies? Where, we repeat, are these bioplasts
now? They are all quietly and industriously at work as before. The
occupant of the song-mansion is gone, but not one of these bioplasts has
dropped a clew, thrown down a shuttle, abandoned a loom, or fled in dismay
to the core of its cell. They still pulsate, throb, throw off tissue. No
chemical change has yet intervened to break down their cell-walls, or
interfere with the occupations assigned them. The machinery that ran their
looms is stopped--that is all. The invisible shuttles have ceased to
ply--the meshes of their tangled webs are broken--the more delicate
threads of song are snapped in sunder, but the bioplastic spinners and
weavers are all there. Not one of them has been displaced from its seat,
nor in any way disturbed or molested in its work. If they are conscious of
any danger, it is that the occupant of this little song-mansion has
suddenly stepped out--is no longer present to direct their tasks. The icy
hand of decay and death will soon be upon them--these poor bioplastic
weavers of tissue--but the vocal spark, the "bright gem instinct with
music," is beyond the reach of these dusky messengers. _Where_ it is, not
man, but the Giver of all life knows. We only know, when our faith is
uplifted by inspiration, that--

"The soul of music never dies,
Nor slumbers in its shell;
'Tis sphere-descended from the skies,
And thence returns to dwell."

Chapter IX.

Force-Correlation, Differentiation and Other Life Theories.

Among the more startling, if not decidedly brilliant, vital theories which
have been advanced within the last few years, is that which makes life an
"undiscovered correlative of force." Those who have the reputation of
being the profoundest thinkers and delvers in the newly-discovered realm
of Force-correlation in Europe, and who have more or less modestly
contributed to that reputation themselves, have evidently thought to
eclipse, if not to entirely throw into the shade, the great exploit of
Leverrier, in pointing out the exact place in their empirical heavens
where the superior optics of some future observer shall behold, in all its
glory, this "undiscovered correlative of force," which they have indicated
as lying within the higher possibilities and potentialities of matter.
Precisely what they mean by this undiscovered correlate, is what puzzles
us quite as much to determine as it does the materialists to explain. Were
they to define life as an "undiscovered force" simply, their definition
would manifestly lack in brilliancy what it would conclusively make up in
precision and accuracy of definitional statement. But such a poor
metaphrastic and half-circular exposition of vital force would never
answer the necessities of that profounder profundity required for the
success of modern scientific treatises. Hence the interpolation of this
"correlative" of theirs. Let us ascertain, if we can, what it means, since
they are so chary of informing us themselves.

A "correlate" of a thing--any thing--simply implies the reciprocal
relation it bears to some other thing. As a cognate term it expresses
nothing, can express nothing, but reciprocity of relationship, such as
father to son, brother to sister, uncle to aunt, nephews to nieces, etc.
As applied to vital force, it means nothing more nor less than that this
particular force stands in some sort of relationship to the other forces
of nature, or, as they would have us believe, the _material_ forces of
nature. And the simple strength or potentiality of this relationship is
what makes all the difference between the severally related forces of the
universe, since it would be as impossible to differentiate a fixed
relationship as to change the nature of vital units. But whether vital
force, as a distinct correlate, is paternal or filial, brotherly or
sisterly, avuncular or amital in its relationship, is not stated. The
scientific formula, however, may be stated thus: As A (chemical force) is
to B (molecular force) so is C (a third known force) to _x_ (the vital or
unknown force); so that, by multiplying the antecedents and consequents
together, and eliminating the value of _x_, we may mathematically obtain
the value of vital force.

But to eliminate the value of _x_ is what troubles them. Herbert Spencer
has tried his hand at it, but failed to express life under any higher
correlation than "molecular force;" nor can he definitely inform us
whether either force is third or fourth cousin to the other. But he
manifestly regards their relationship as constituting either a very
attractive or highly repulsive force. In his vexation at not finding the
value of _x_, he is driven from mathematical to mechanical biology, and
gives us this new definitional value of life--that singularly
contumacious quantity which so persistently refuses to be eliminated in
scientific equations: "Life is molecular machinery worked by molecular
force." But as Professor Beale has utterly demoralized, if not
demolished, this machinery, in his recent treatise on "The Mystery of
Life," we will spare it any further blows, and proceed to the
consideration of "molecular force."

Before we proceed however, to the consideration of this force, let us
definitely understand the meaning of the terms we shall be called upon
to use. We can have no difficulty in understanding the meaning of
"molecular attraction," or that force acting immediately on the
integrant molecules or particles of a body, as distinguished from the
attraction of gravitation which acts at unlimited distances. But when it
comes to ascribing other and higher manifestations of power to
molecules, such as have not been scientifically shown to exist, we must
feel our way with caution, and demand of these pretentious molecules, or
rather of their materialistic backers, a reason for the faith, or rather
force, that is in them.

It is agreed by all physicists, as well as chemists, that a "molecule" is
the smallest conceivable quantity of a simple or compound substance, as an
"atom" is the smallest conceivable quantity of an element which enters
into combination with other elements to form material substance. For
instance, the smallest conceivable quantity of water is a molecule, while
the smallest conceivable quantity of either of the two elements of which
water is composed, is an atom. In every molecule of water, therefore,
there are three elementary atoms, two of hydrogen and one of oxygen. And
since a molecule, as a general rule, contains two or more atoms, and may
contain many of them, why not predicate dynamic force of the atoms, which
lie one step nearer the elementary forces of nature? For the mightiest
forces of nature lie in these elements, when forced into unnatural
alliances, or chained up in durance vile. It is in the elements of matter,
and not in its molecules, that this tremendous dynamic force resides. Man,
knowing this, harnesses them into his service, first by forcing them into
unnatural alliances, as in the case of charcoal, sulphur and saltpetre,
and then successfully pitting them in conflict against the rocks and the
general inertia of matter. To charge all the destructive work they do on
the innocent and harmless molecules, which are two steps removed from the
actual force expended, is drawing conclusions from the sheerest
hypothetical data. It is the office of "molecular force," if there is any
meaning to the term beyond what is expressed by "molecular attraction," to
conserve matter--bind rocks together, not rend them in sunder.

If the dynamic forces of nature lie pent up in the molecules, then man
must array molecular force against molecular force in order to rend rocks
and tear mountains in sunder. This theory of molecular force, as extended
to vital physics in the force-doctrine of life, is irreconcilably at war
with the principal phenomena of life, and should be classed with the other
undiscovered correlates of force, which Professor Beale speaks of as "the
fictions of a mechanical imagination." The truth is that these much abused
and much slandered molecules are the most innocent and harmless things in
nature. They never become destructive unless some other force than that
inhering in themselves drags them into its service and hurls them along a
devastating path. Of themselves, they are the very quintessence of
quiessence in the universe, and, when formed in nature's laboratory, at
once seek quiet and loving companionship with kindred molecules, and
retain it forever afterwards. The idea that they should break away from
their loving molecular embrace, and, by any process of differentiation or
constructive agency of their own, seek an alliance with some living
dog-germ in order to be built up into living dog-tissue, presents about as
perverse and wayward an impulse on the part of matter as can well be
imagined by the scientific mind. That the dog-germ should seek to get hold
of, and differentiate them, we can well understand. The Circean witchery
and enticement is all on the part of the dog-germ, not in the inclination
of the molecules.

If there is any truth in this molecular-force-theory of life, it is about
time for us to discard some of the old categories respecting matter,
motion, and life, and substitute new ones in their place. In the
multiplicity of new scientific terms constantly springing up for
recognition in these days, there ought to be no difficulty in expressing
the true categories, and assigning to them their proper definitional
value. To include physical force, chemical force, molecular force, and
vital force all under one and the same category, and then interpret their
several modes of action on any theory of force-correlation, is not
emancipating language from the gross thraldom into which their "molecular
machinery" has driven it. Besides, there is moral force, mental force, the
force of will, the force of reason, the force of honesty, the force of
fraud, etc., and any number of other forces, all possessing more or less
impetus or momentum, and capable of binding or coercing persons and
things, in all their diversified relations, correlations, incidences,
coincidences, affinities, antagonisms, and so on through an interminable
chapter of interchangeable predications. All these different expressions
of force are to be tethered together--definitionally bound hand and
foot--under the one explanatory head of "force-correlation." We protest
against the labor of thus unifying all the natural forces of the universe,
even if it were practicable under scientific methods.

But Professor Tyndall denies that "molecular groupings" and "molecular
motions" explain anything--account for anything--in the way of explicating
life-manifestations, or determining what life is.[31] And it would be
difficult to cite a stronger and more determined materialist as authority
on the point we are considering. He says: "If love were known to be
associated with a right-handed spiral motion of the molecules of the
brain, and hate with the left-handed, we should remain as ignorant as
before, as to the cause of motion." But there is no proof that the
molecules of the brain manifest any other motions than those necessary for
keeping up the normal condition of health and vital activity in the brain
itself. No one can be certain that he has seen these molecules in a state
of mental activity; for where portions of the human brain have been
exposed to microscopic examination, even in perfect states of
consciousness on the part of those whose brains have been laid bare, there
can be no certainty that the molecular action, if any, is referable to one
set of movements more than another. And even in the case of animalcules,
as seen in the object glass of the microscope, there is no absolute
certainty that their quick, darting or jerking movements are due to any
life-manifestation, as heretofore assumed. Some quite as well defined
forms are entirely motionless, and if all were so, it would be idle to
predicate vitality of them.[32] These infinitessimal and constantly
varying forms, many of them not the one hundred-thousandth part of an inch
in length, to say nothing of their other dimensions, may owe their
oscillations, wave movements, darting and other manifestations, and even
their molecular arrangements and rearrangements, to other causes than
those strictly "vital." And it should be borne in mind that their actual
movements are just as much exaggerated under the microscope as their real
dimensions. But as they make their appearance in organic infusions only,
they are presumably vital organisms rather than fomentative or mere
filamentous yeast-manifestations.

Professor Huxley, while conceding that molecular changes may take place

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