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acceptance of a dogma which is not only incapable of proof, but is opposed to the commonly-received opinion of mankind in all ages? Ancient literature, sacred and profane, teems with protests against the successful evil-doer, and certainly, as Mr. Hutton observes,” “Honesty must have been associated by our ancestors with many unhappy as well as many happy consequences, and we know that in ancient Greece dishonesty was openly and actually associated with happy consequences. . . . when the concentrated experience of previous generations was held, not indeed to justify, but to excuse by utilitarian considerations, craft, dissimulation, sensuality, selfishness.” This dogma is opposed to the moral consciousness of many as to the events of their own lives; and the author, for one, believes that it is absolutely contrary to fact. History affords multitudes of instances, but an example may be selected from one of the most critical periods of modern times. Let it be granted that Louis XVI. of France and his queen had all the defects attributed to them by the most hostile of serious historians; let all the excuses possible be made for his predecessor, Louis XV., and also for Madame de Pompadour, can it be pretended that there are grounds for affirming that the vices of the two former so far exceeded those of the latter, that their respective fates were plainly and evidently just? that while the two former died in their beds, after a life of the most extreme luxury, the others merited to stand forth through coming time as examples of the most appalling and calamitous tragedy ? This theme, however, is too foreign to the immediate matter in hand to be further pursued, tempting as it is. But a passing protest against a superstitious and deluding dogma may stand—a dogma which may, like any other dogma, be vehemently asserted and maintained, but which is remarkable for being destitute, at one and the same time, of both authoritative sanction and the support of reason and observation. To return to the bearing of moral conceptions on “Natural Selection,” it seems that, from the reasons given in this chapter, we may safely affirm : 1. That “Natural Selection * could not have produced, from the sensations of pleasure and pain experienced by brutes, a higher degree of morality than was useful; therefore it could have produced any amount of “beneficial habits,” but not abhorrence of certain acts as impure and sinful. 2. That it could not have developed that high esteem for acts of care and tenderness to the aged and infirm which actually exists, but would rather have perpetuated certain low social conditions which obtain in some savage localities. 3. That it could not have evolved from ape sensations the noble virtue of a Marcus Aurelius, or the loving but manly devotion of a St. Louis. 4. That, alone, it could not have given rise to the maxim fiat justitia, rudit coelum. 5. That the interval between material and formal morality is one altogether beyond its power to traverse. Also, that the anticipatory character of moral principles is a fatal bar to that explanation of their origin which is offered to us by Mr. Herbert Spencer. And, finally, that the solution of that origin proposed recently by Sir John Lubbock is a mere version of simple utilitarianism, appealing to the pleasure or safety of the individual, and therefore utterly incapable of solving the riddle it attacks. Such appearing to be the case as to the power of “Natural Selection,” we, nevertheless, find moral conceptions— formally moral ideas—not only spread over the civilized world, but manifesting themselves unmistakably (in however rudimentary a condition, and however misapplied) among the lowest and most degraded of savages. If from among these, individuals can be brought forward who seem to be destitute of any moral conception, similar cases also may easily be found in highly-civilized communities. Such cases tell no more against moral intuitions than do cases of color-blindness or idiotism tell against sight and reason. We have thus a most important and conspicuous fact, the existence of which is fatal to the theory of “Natural Selection,” as put forward of late by Mr. Darwin and his most ardent followers. It must be remarked, however, that whatever force this fact may have against a belief in the origination of man from brutes by minute, fortuitous variations, it has no force whatever against the conception of the orderly evolution and successive manifestation of specific forms by ordinary natural law—even if we include among such the upright frame, the ready hand, and massive brain, of man himself.
19 Macmillan's Magazine, No. 117, July, 1869.
A Provisional Hypothesis supplementing “Natural Selection.”—Statement of the Hypothesis.-Difficulty as to Multitude of Gemmules.—As to Certain Modes of Reproduction.—As to Formations without the Requisite Gemmules.—Mr. Lewes and Prof. Delpino.—Difficulty as to Developmental Force of Gemmules.—As to their Spontaneous Fission.—Pangenesis and Vitalism.—Paradoxical Reality.—Pangenesis scarcely superior to Anterior Hypothesis.-Buffon.—Owen.-Herbert Spencer.—“Gemmules” as Mysterious as “Physiological Units.”—Conclusion.
IN addition to the theory of “Natural Selection,” by which it has been attempted to account for the origin of species, Mr. Darwin has also put forward what he modestly terms “a provisional hypothesis” (that of Pangenesis), by which to account for the origin of each and every individual form.
Now, though the hypothesis of Pangenesis is no necessary part of “Natural Selection,” still any treatise on specific origination would be incomplete if it did not take into consideration this last speculation of Mr. Darwin. The hypothesis in question may be stated as follows: That each living organism is ultimately made up of an almost infinite number of minute particles, or organic atoms, termed “gemmules,” each of which has the power of reproducing its kind. Moreover, that these particles circulate freely about the organism which is made up of them, and are derived from all the parts of all the organs of the less remote ancestors of each such organism during all the states and stages of such several ancestors’ existence; and therefore of the several states of each of such ancestors’ organs. That such a complete collection of gemmules is aggregated in each ovum and spermatozoon in most animals, and each part capable of reproducing by gemmation (budding) in the lowest animals and in plants. Therefore in many of such lower organisms such a congeries of ancestral gemmules must exist in every part of their bodies, since in them every part is capable of reproducing by gemmation. Mr. Darwin must evidently admit this, since he says: “It has often been said by naturalists that each cell of a plant has the actual or potential capacity of reproducing the whole plant; but it has this power only in virtue of containing gemmules derived from every part.”" Moreover, these gemmules are supposed to tend to aggregate themselves, and to reproduce in certain definite relations to other gemmules. Thus, when the foot of an eft is cut off, its reproduction is explained by Mr. Darwin as resulting from the aggregation of those floating gemmules which come next in order to those of the cut surface, and the successive aggregations of the other kinds of gemmules which come after in regular order. Also, the most ordinary processes of repair are similarly accounted for, and the successive development of similar parts and organs in creatures in which such complex evolutions occur is explained in the same way, by the independent action of separate gemmules. In order that each living creature may be thus furnished, the number of such gemmules in each must be inconceivably great. Mr. Darwin says: * “In a highly-organized and complex animal, the gemmules thrown off from each different cell or unit throughout the body must be inconceivably numerous and minute. Each unit of each part, as it changes during development—and we know that some insects undergo at least twenty metamorphoses—must throw off its gemmules. All organic beings, moreover,