Page images
PDF
EPUB

It was the information given by the traveller on the who have discussed the question of the history of the diamond-mines worked in his day, that first drew Mr. Koh-i-noor. To this subject Mr. Ball devotes a long Ball's attention to the subject of Tavernier's travels. The note in the appendix, arriving at conclusions which differ mines visited and described by him have long been from those of Prof. N. S. Maskelyne, and indeed of most abandoned, and even their very sites forgotten. With previous writers, with the exception of James Forbes, free labour, and at its present enhanced rates, diamond- Major-General Sleeman, and Mr. Tennant. The arguworking is no longer so remunerative as under the ment is somewhat complex, and hardly admits of abstracdespotic governments of the seventeenth century, and it tion, and we must therefore refer those who are interested is within the recollection of the present writer that the in the subject to the text of Mr. Ball's note. It will suffice working of one of the most productive mines of the here to indicate the main issues. They are concemed former Golconda State was let on behalf of the British with the identification inter se of the three diamonds Government at the modest rental of 100 rupees. Ta- known respectively as the Mogul diamond, Baber's diavernier gives it to be understood, indeed, that only four mond, and the Koh-i-noor. The first of these, described mines were worked, all of which he visited; but Mr. and figured by Tavernier, is the largest diamond op te Ball tells us there is ample reason for believing that they cord, and is stated to have weighed originally, before were far more numerous than he had any conception of ; cutting, 900 ratis (an Indian weight still in use, but the and in an appendix he gives a full list of all the Indian value of which has varied greatly at different times and localities at which diamonds have been obtained as far under different circumstances). When Tavernier saw as is known, together with the geographical co-ordinates it

, it had been reduced by unskilful cutting to about of all such as he has succeeded in identifying. Owing two-fifths of its former size, and weighed only 379) to the vagaries of phonetic spelling, and the ignorance of ratis, which Mr. Ball computes to be equivalent to 268 Indian geography on the part of many who have dealt | English carats. Baber's diamond, of which Taverner with this subject, this identification has been far from makes no mention, but which is equally historic, Mr. easy. As amusing examples of the way in which Ball thinks was probably retained by the imprisoned localities have been confused by some previous writers, Shah Jehan, and acquired by Aurungzebe only after Mr. Ball tells us that “one author gives Pegu as a Shah Jehan's death. The weight of this stone is comdiamond-mine in Southern India ; in the Mount Catti puted by Mr. Ball, from the statements of Baber and of another we have a reference to the Gháts of Southern Ferishta, to have been 186 English carats. The weight India"; and he adds: "For some time I was unable to of the Koh-i-noor when first brought to England was identify a certain Mr. Cullinger, who was quoted by one exactly the same as that computed for Baber's diamond. writer, in connection with diamonds. Will it be believed or, accurately, 186'06 carats. Now Prof. Maskelyne, that this gentleman ultimately proved on investigation to General Cunningham, and several other writers regard be the fort of Kálinjar?”—a well-known historical fortress these three stones as identical, and the former suggests in Bundelkhand.

that Tavernier's estimate of the weight of the Great Indian diamonds are found exclusively in rocks of the Mogul diamond in carats (probably Florentine) was erroVindhyan formation or in the gravels of rivers that drain neous, and due to his having adopted a mistaken value these rocks. The formation consists of sandstones, lime- for the rati. This view Mr. Ball is unable to accept stones, and other sedimentary rocks, certainly not more Nevertheless he considers it probable that the Koh-i-noor recent than the Lower Palæozoic age, but being unfossili is the remnant of the Mogul diamond, from which porferous, their precise age cannot be determined. In tions have been removed while it was in the possession Southern India the diamonds occur only in the Bánagan- of the unfortunate grandson of Nadir Shah, or some pili sandstone, at the base of the lower subdivision of the other of those through whose hands it passed before it Vindhyan series, or in gravels derived from that bed. was acquired by Runjeet Singh ; and that Baber's diaThis is described by the authors of the “ Manual of the mond was a distinct stone, now in the possession of the Geology of India” as usually from 10 to 20 feet thick, Shah of Persia, and known as the Dariya-i-noor (sea ou consisting of gravelly, coarse sandstone, often earthy, and lustre), the weight of which is also 186 carats. containing numerous beds of small pebbles. The dia. Mr. Ball's careful criticism of the available evidence monds are found in some of the more clayey and pebbly and his clear setting forth of the several steps of his layers, and in the opinion of Dr. W. King, the present argument, give weight to the conclusion at which ke Director of the Indian Geological Survey, they are finally arrives, that will doubtless be acknowledged even innate in the rock. This view does not, however, appear by those who differ from him. But as regards the to commend itself to the authors of the manual. In identity of the Koh-i-noor and the Mogul diamond, there Northern India, at Panna, in Bundelkhand, the diamond remains one objection which, as it appears to us, Mr. bed is in the upper division of the Vindhyan series ; but Ball has hardly adequately disposed of. If Tavernie's it is considered not improbable that here also the original figure, as reproduced by Mr. Ball, represents at all faithnidus of the diamonds was, as in Southern India, a bed fully the general form and especially the height of the of the lower subdivision, pebbles of which occur in the Mogul diamond, it is difficult to see how a comparatively diamond bed, and are extracted and broken up in the flat stone like the Koh-i-noor could have been obtained search for the gem.

from it without a much greater reduction of its weight As is well known, Tavernier examined, and in his book than the 82 carats which are all that his data admit of described and figured, the famous Great Mogul diamond, The lateral dimensions of the two stones accord farly then in the possession of the Emperor Aurungzebe ; and enough, so that any reduction of Tavernier's figured he has been often cited as a principal witness by those stone, to bring it down to the required size, could be

effected only by diminishing its height; in which case it into, and a few experiments, illustrative of elementary would hardly correspond to his description of its form as scientific principles, are well included. The work is that of an egg cut in two. The question can only be

thoroughly practical ; none of the little details so fairly tested by the weighment of a model constructed as

necessary to beginners have been omitted, whilst many

of the hints it contains may be of service to all who use nearly as possible in accordance with Tavernier's figure,

this optical instrument, whether it be for lecture purposes and of such lateral dimensions as to be capable of in or for recreation only. cluding the Koh-i-noor. It may be that such a model, of the specific gravity of the diamond, would be found much to exceed Tavernier's reported weight of the stone, in

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. which case the importance of his figure as an item of

(The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions exevidence, would be greatly invalidated.

pressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake Whatever may be the final outcome of this controversy, to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected Mr. Ball has done a good service to literature and science

manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE,

No notice is taken of anonymous communications.] in re-translating Tavernier's work, in its careful editing, and in throwing light on much that has hitherto remained Acquired Characters and Congenital Variation, obscure. The result will certainly be that which he has I do not see that the Duke of Argyll's last letter in any way anticipated, the vindication of Tavernier's claim "to be strengthens his position. The questions at issue with regard to regarded as a veracious and original author."

evolution are now, I believe, thoroughly understood by biologists. H, F. B.

Nothing, in my opinion, can solve them in the direction the
Duke desires but the evidence of fact. And that, I can only

repeat, is precisely what is not forthcoming. I am equally of OUR BOOK SHELF.

opinion that the discussion has been worn threadbare. I should

not myself have interfered in it, had it not seemed desirable to Star Lant. By Sir Robert S. Ball, LL.D., F.R.S. show that the motives attributed by the Duke to those who London : Cassell and Co., 1889.)

accept Darwinian principles were destitute of foundation.

This part of his position the Duke does not attempt to defend. THE author of this work is now so well known as a As to the rest he merely restates what he has said before. His popular expounder of astronomical subjects that it is remarks fall under two heads, and I shall content myself with quite sufficient praise of his new book to say that it fully the briefest possible comment upon these. stistains his reputation. The book is described as “talks

(1) Acquired Characters. - The Duke gives what I presume with young people about the wonders of the heavens," he intends as a logical proof of the theorem that acquired being founded chiefly on notes taken at his courses of characters are inherited. it may, I think, be formally expressed juvenile lectures at the Royal Institution. Astronomy

as follows :gives plenty of scope for the exercise of the imagination, developed latent congenital characters.

" It is always possible to assert ” that acquired characters are and Dr. Ball takes full advantage of this. The book It is admitted that congenital characters are inherited. abonds with anecdotes and homely illustrations, calcu .-. Acquired characters are inherited. sted to impress the facts on the memory as well as to It will be observed in the first place that this is a mere a excite wonder at them. The startling figures dealt with priori argument. , And next that, while it is not denied by Dara astronomy are, as usual, converted into railway train winians that the organism is a complex of congenital tendencies, xation, and otherwise illustrated. One new illustration limitations, and possibilities, this is entirely beside the question. o the distances of the stars is that it would take all the From Lamarck to Darwin, Weismann, and Lankester, the meanLancashire cotton factories 400 years to spin a thread ing of “acquired characters" has been clearly defined. They hing enough to reach the nearest star at the present rate like, which are obviously due to the direct physical action of the

are those changes of hypertrophy, extension, thickening, and the of production of about 155,000,000 miles per day., The environment on the body of the individual organism. It was rregularities in the motion of Encke's comet are explained these changes which Lamarck asserted were transmitted to the in an interesting dialogue between the “offending comet” and the astronomer, in which the comet explains that needs demonstration as a fact,

offspring; and it is this transmission which it is now maintained Luis delay was due to the fact that Mercury was" meddle. Let me give another illustration. I read the other day in the some."

newspapers that the police of Paris have carried out an extremely The only disappointing parts of the book are those interesting investigation. They have carefully ascertained the mch deal with astronomical physics. One point not recognizable changes in the normal human organism produced

ufficiently insisted upon is the now generally acknow- by the prolonged pursuit of any particular occupation. The ledged meteoritic constitution of comets; a connection is object was to obtain data for the identification of unknown dead certainly suggested, but that comets are now supposed to bodies. The changes proved more numerous and characteristic te simply dense swarms of meteorites is not stated at all. than could have been supposed. They supplied, in fact, diagnostie Nebule, again, are described as “ masses of glowing gas," marks by which the occupation of the individual could be notwithstanding the recent researches on the subject

. admirable case of the direct action of external conditions. I The theory that meteorites are the products of ancient ask, Is there any reason to suppose that these acquired characters terrestrial volcanoes is also still adopted by Dr. Ball, would be transmitted ? without any consideration of the objections to such a view. This appears to me an extremely plain issue, as it is certainly

The book is well illustrated, and will undoubtedly an extremely important one. There is not the least reluctance waken an interest in the subject in all intelligent on the part of Darwinians to face it squarely. But the Duke readers.

appears to me to deliberately evade it.

(2) Prophetic Germs.--It seems to me that we are somewhat The Magic Lantern : its Construction and Use. By a at cross-purposes. The Duke admits that I have correctly

Fellow of the Chemical Society. (London: Perken, quoted him as saying: “All organs do actually pass through Son, and Rayment.)

rudimentary stages in which actual use is impossible." When Ihe third edition of this little book has been issued, stance, he guarded himself by the remark : “ The stages here

Prof. Lankester challenged the Duke to produce a single inand will be exceedingly useful to those who work with alluded to are-if I understand correctly-ancestral stages, not he lantera. Descriptions are given of the various stages in the embryological development of the individual.” lights used in lanterns, from the oil lamp to the electric The Duke has never repudiated, as far as I am aware, that arc; the methods of making simple slides are entered | limitation of his meaning, if it be a limitation. And as he has

never responded to the challenge, I maintain that he has no confounded ontogenal steps of growth with phylogenal phases right in a scientific discussion to reiterate a statement in support of plan.

F. V. Dickins. of which he has produced no definite observed evidence. He Burlington Gardens, February 3. now returns the challenge to me. But it is no affair of mine. I simply take note of the fact that Prof. Lankester pointed out that the Duke's case collapsed unless the challenge was met,

Eight Rainbows seen at the Same Time. and that the Duke acquiesced by silence.

The following letter which I have just received from Dr Just, however, as with the question of acquired characters, the Percival Frost of Cambridge, may interest your readers. Duke in defect of direct evidence now tries an a priori argument. A statement that rainbows are produced not only by the sun He reminds us of the well known principle of embryology, some itself directly, but by the image of the sun reflected from still times called the recapitulation theory. 'Darwin states it in this water, is given in Prof. Tait's book up “Light." The phena form : the embryo is "a picture, more or less obscured, of the menon seems to have been observed by Halley in 1698, ses progenitor, either in its adult or larval state, of all the members NATURE, vol. x. pp. 437, 460, and 483 for interesting cor of the same great class."

respondence on the subject). Now, of course, in the development of the individual organism, The diffuse rainbow produced by the image of the sun ise we have " a series of incipient structures on the rise for actual flected from a white cloud after sunset, described by MT use,"if by “on the rise " we mean in process of nutritive growth. Scouller, is, I believe, a novelty. This is, however, not necessarily true of the recapitulative struc

WILLIAM THOM50g. tures which may or may not be temporarily utilized. When they The University, Glasgow, January 31, are not so utilized they are mere survivals, and we know that survivals constantly so completely fall out of use, that by mere

In Nature (January 23, p.271) you givea letter from Mr. Scooler inspection it is often difficult to conceive what could have been describing an interesting case of a rainbow, due to the image de the their original function. I may give a single illustration. In sun in water, which, with the ordinary, primary, and secondary flowering plants the homologue of the spore of the vascular bows, make up (there being no secondary to that formed by cryptogams is still preserved. Within it, previous to fertiliza- the reflected sun) the three which he saw. Here is a slum tion, certain rudimentary structures are developed. It has been account of what I saw long ago, almost in prehistoric times, in shown that these are the last recapitulative remnant of an in Scotland, where such sights ought, according to your corre dependent series of structures developed outside the spore in the spondent, to be very commonly seen. I may mention that I fern. In that type they form the prothallus, which possesses all saw at the same time, lasting some five minutes, eight wel! the attributes of an independent organism, assimilates, respires, defined rainbows of one sort or another. often reproduces itself asexually, and finally bears the sexual reproductive organs. All this in the flowering plant is not merely reduced to scarcely intelligible rudimenis, but, in accordance with a well-known principle in embryology, it is thrown backwards in the order of development, and never emerges from the spore at all, instead of as in the fern being wholly external to and independent of it.

In ihis case we know the recapitulation and the thing recapitulated. We infer from their comparison that a fern-like plant was amongst the ancestry of the flowering plant. But I defy anyone, from a mere inspection of what happens in the latter, to sorm any idea of what happens in the former. From cases such as these it is obvious that the analogy between the development of the individual and the evolution of the race only holds for the broad facts of the sequence of stages, and does not give us any information as to the inutility of the structures of the ancestral organisms, or even, indeed, as to the precise period in their life when such structures made their appearance. The Duke's argument may now, I take it, be stated as follows:

In the development of the individual organism, incipient organs are useless.

The development of the individual organism is a recapitulation of the evolution of the race.

... Incipient organs in the evolution of the race are useless.

I observe that the Duke's estimation of my logical powers is the reverse of flattering. I abstain, therefore, from criticizing this piece of reasoning. For my part I must confess I do not possess an a priori mind. No argument, however ingenious, is as convincing to me as accurately observed facts. If the Duke's convictions are laws of Nature, the objective verification ought to be forthcoming.

W. T. THISELTON DYER. Royal Gardens, Kew.

[graphic]

The Duke of Argyll supports his assertion that "all organs do actually pass through rudimentary stages in which actual use is impossible" by reference to the stages of embryonic growth. Surely the assertion remains merely an empty repetition of the Darwinian position that the development of the embryo summarizes the morphological history of the race.

The modern dress coat has developed from a mere blanket, In 1841, during the time of a long vacation party, spent but even the useless parts of the modern coat can be easily at Oban,' I walked out with my brother to Dunstaffnange, shown to have had their use in some anterior forms of completed and we were on the top of the Castle, somewhere betweet coat. The embryo, like the coat, preserves traces of evolutional 3 and 4 p.m., on a day in the middle of August. No stages at which what now appear useless characters were in a breath of wind, bright sun over, I think, Limmer reality actual useful characters.

Lighthouse, dusky clouds all over Ben Cruachan and Canoll What the Duke has to show is some instance of a completed Ferry; the sea in the bay (bounded by Danstaffnage in organ in a completed organism, useless to that organism, not the west) as smooth as a pond. Gradually there appearet phases in the growth of an organ affording a blurred copy of before us the astonishing sight of the aforesaid right distinc some form of the organ existent at an anterior stage of the rainbows, viz. primary and secondary ordinary bows ; p organism, and then useful to it. So far he has merely mary and secondary bows by reflected sun ; primary and

secondary bows formed by light from the real sun reflected from fastness, dhyana, contemplation, and samüdhi, meditation, or the water after leaving certain drops ; primary and secondary almost a cataleptic trance. These three are supposed to impart turmed by light from the sun reflected at the water, and, after powers or siddhis which seem to us incredible, but which never. leaving certain other drops, again reflected at the water. I have iheless are attested by the ancient Yogis in a very bond-fide called the latter four distinct bows, because, although they spirit, and deserve examination, if only as instances of human looked like reflections of a solid set of four arcs, they were really credulity. I say nothing of modern impostures. formed by means of drops distinct from those which helped to Oxford, January 22.

F. MAX MÜLLER. make the first four bows. I append a sketch of what I saw.

PERCIVAL FROST.

IN connection with Prof. Leumann's recent researches into 15 Fitzwilliam Street, January 29.

the relation between changes in respiration and changes in [We have received other letters on the subject of Mr. Scouller's certain cerebral functions, it seems curious that the employment letter.]

of deep and rapid respiration as an anästhetic has received so

little attention. Some dentists order their patients to respire as Thought and Breathing.

quickly and sully as they can for a period which varies, I believe,

from four to six minutes, although as to the exact duration I I SEND you some extracts from the Sanskrit Yoga-sútras am insufficiently informed. At the termination of this period which treat very fully of the prânâyâma, or the expulsion and the patient becomes giddy, and to a great extent loses conretention of breath, as a means of steadying the mind.

sciousness, when a short operation can be painlessly performed. A Yogi has first of all to assume certain postures which help The patient, while unable to move his arms, opens his mouth at him to fix his mind on certain objects. He cannot concentrate the order of the operator. I have heard of no casualties or evil his mind while walking or running. He ought to assume a firm effects from this mode of treatment. W. CLEMENT Ley. and pleasant position, one requiring little effort. To judge, however, from the description given of some of these postures, they would seem to us anything but pleasant.

Chiff-Chaff singing in September. When a Yogi has accustomed himself to his posture, he During more than forty years' observation of the singing of begins to regulate his breath-that is, he draws in the breath birds, I have invariably heard the chiff-chaff singing in Septthrough one nostril, retains it for some time in the chest, and ember, although the song is much less frequently repeated than then emits it through the other nostril

. The details of this pro- in the spring. In connection with this observation I may mencess are given in the first chapter of the Yoga-sâtras, sûtra 37. tion that both the male and female birds appear to be always Here the commentator states that the expulsion means the mule for two or three days after their spring arrival in Northern throwing out of the air from the lungs in a fixed quantity through a Europe.

W. CLEMENT LEY. special effort. Retention is the restraint or stoppage of the motion Lutterworth, January 31. of breath for a certain limited time. That stoppage is effected by Iwo acts--by filling the lungs with external air, and by retaining therein the inhaled air. Thus the threefold prânâyâma, including

Foreign Substances attached to Crabs. the three acts of expiration, inspiration, and retention of breath, I HAVE read in recent numbers of NATURE some letters on fixes the thinking principle to one point of concentration. All sponges attached to crabs. The functions of the organs being preceded by that of the breath There are two crabs on the east coast of Australia-one of -there being always a correlation between breath and mind in them allied to Dromia vulgaris-which cover themselves with their respective functions—the breath, when overcome by sponges or with a composite Ascidian. I have in one case sopping all the functions of the organs, effects the concentration counted no less than seven species of sponges on one individual of the thinking principle to one object.

crab. Rajendralal Mitra, io whom we owe a very valuable edition The Ascidian referred to is usually from ten to thirty times as of

the text and translation of the Yoga-sútras, adds the follarge as the crab to the back of which it is attached. kowing remarks :-"All other Yogic and Tantric works regard

Among the specimens brought by me from Australia, and the three acts of expiration, inspiration, and retention performed now deposited in the National Collection of the British Muin specific order to constitute pranâyâma. The order, however, is not always the same. . . . The mode of reckoning the time

seum, there are some of these crabs with sponges and Ascidians

attached. robe devoted to each act is regulated in one of two ways : (1) These might, perhaps, be interesting to your correspondents by so many repetitions of the syllable om, or the mystic mantra on the subject.

R. v. LENDENFELD. (for nula) of the performer, or the specific mystic syllables (vija) University, Innsbruck, January 25. of that mantra ; (2) by turning the thumb and the index-finger of the left hand round the left knee a given number of times. The time devoted to inspiration is the shortest, and to retention

Foot-pounds. the longest. A Vaishnava in his ordinary daily prayer repeats the Vija-mantra once while expiring, 7 times while inspiring, turning, expressed in foot-pounds (often inch-pounds or foot tons)

"A. S, E.” will find moments, of resistance, of bending, or of and 20 times while retaining. À såkta repeats the mantra 16 in any treatise on civil, mechanical, or marine engineering, on cames while inspiring, 64 times while retaining, and 32 times architecture, land or naval, and, in fact, in every treatise on

The usual mode of performing the prảnâyâma is, after real mechanics he may consult. Why, then, should a different assuming the posture prescribed, to place the ring-finger' of the terminology be adopted in a Civil Service examination paper ? right hand on the left nostril, pressing it so as to close it, and to centimetres ; but in the C.G.S. system I do not suppose it is

In metric units, moments are given in kilogramme-metres or expire with the right, then to press the right nostril with the suggested to measure moments of dyne-centimetres in ergs. thwml, and to inspire through the left nostril, and then to close the two nostrils with the ring finger and the thumb, and to stop

February 3.

A. G. GREENHILL. all breathing. The order is reversed in the next operation, and in the third act the first form is required. The Hathadipika IF "A. S. E." will push his researches further, he will fin 1 says:-"By the motion of the breath, the thinking principle that in Government dockyards the stability moment on ships is moves: when that motion is stopped, it becomes motionless, calculated in foot-tons. and the Yogi becomes firm as the trunk of a tree; therefore the February 3. wird should be stopped. As long as the breath remains in the wody, so long it is called living. Death is the exit of that breath, therefore it should be stopped."

Some of the minor works on Yoga expatiate on the sanitary PROF. WEISJANN’S THEORY OF HEREDITY, and therapentic advantages of practising prânâyâ ma regularly at ihated timesIn America some spiritualistic doctors

prescribe IN NATURE Of October 24, 1889 (p. 621), appeared a In India prânâyáma is only a means towards a higher object, and allied subjects. I should be glad to reply briefly to namely, the abstraction of the organs from their natural functions. his objections, and the more so as I hope thus to be able It is a preliminary to Yoga, which consists in dharani, stead to place the scientific problems at issue in a somewhat

V.

clearer light. With regard to the immortality which I of life, i.e. of division, growth by assimilation, and attribute both to the unicellular organisms and to the repeated division, should ever end; and this characgerminal cells of the multicellular, if I understand Prof. teristic it is which I have termed immortality. It is the Vines aright, he does not attack the proposition itself, but only true immortality to be found in Nature-a pure has simply overlooked the explanation in my book of the biological conception, and one to be carefully disway in which mortal organisms arose out of immortal in tinguished from the eternity of dead, that is to say process of phyletic

development, a process which must have unorganized, matter. taken place if the Protozoa have developed in the course of If then this true immortality is but cyclical, and is conthe world's history into the higher Metazoa, -" the first ditioned by the physical constitution of the protoplasın. difficulty is to understand how the mortal heteroplastides why is it inconceivable that this constitution should be can have been evolved from the immortal monoplastides." | under certain circumstances and to a certain extent. 30 My explanation was simply that which appears to be the modified that the metabolic activity no longer exactly true one for the origin of every higher differentiation- follows its own orbit, but after more or fewer revolutions namely, the division of the cell-mass of the Protozoan, on comes to a standstill and results in death! All living the principle of the division of labour, into two dissimilar i matter is variable; why should not variations in the halves, differing in substance, and consequently also in protoplasm have also occurred which, while they fulfilled function ; from the one cell which performed all functions certain functions of the individual economy better, caused comes a group of several cells which distribute themselves a metabolism which did not exactly repeat itself, i... over the work. In my opinion, the first such differentia sooner or later came to a condition of rest? I admit that tion produced two sets of cells, the one the mortal cells I feel such a descent from immortality into mortality far of the body proper, the other the immortal germ-cells. less remarkable than the permanent retention of immorProf. Vines certainly believes in the principle of the divi- tality by the monoplastids and germ-cells. Small, indeed, sion of labour, and in the part that it has played in the must be the variations in the complicated qualities of development of the organic world, as well as I ; but it living matter to bring in their train such a falland very seems to him that this division of a unicellular being into sharply must the essentials of its constitution be retained somatic and germinal cells is impossible, and that my for metabolism to take place so smoothly without creating explanation of the process by dissimilar division is in itself an obstacle to its own continuance! Even if we inadequate, because it strikes him as "absurd to say that cannot penetrate into the mysteries of this constitutir, an immortal substance can be converted into a mortal still we may say that a rigorous and unceasing natural substance."

selection is unremittingly active in maintaining it at such There certainly does seem to be a great difficulty in an exact standard as to preserve its immortality: ani this idea, but in reality it arises simply from a confusion every lapse from this standard is punished by death. of two conceptions--immortality and eternity. That I believe that I have proved that organs no longer in the Protozoa and the germ-cells of Metazoa are in a certain use become rudimentary, and must finally disappear sense immortal seems to me an incontrovertible proposi- solely by "panmixie"; not through the direct action of tion. As soon as one has clearly realized that the division disuse, but because natural selection no longer mainof a monoplastid is in no way connected with the death of tains their standard structure. What is true for an organ one part, there can be no further question that we have is true also for its function, since the latter is but the to do with individuals of indefinite duration ; but this in expression of the qualities of material parts, whether we no way implies that they possess an eternal duration ; on can directly perceive their relations or not. If, thes, as the contrary, we imagine that they have all had a be- we saw, the immortality of monoplastids depends on the ginning. The conception of eternity, however, extends fact that the incessant metabolism of their bodies is eve into the past as well as the future; it is without beginning returning exactly to its starting-point, and produces to or end, and does not affect the present question ; it is an such modifications as would gradually obstruct the repe entirely artificial conception, and has no real and com-tition of the cycle, why should that quality of the living prehensible existence ; to express it more accurately, matter which causes immortality-nay, how could it be eternity is merely the negation of the conception of retained—when no longer necessary? It is obvious that transitoriness. Of the objects with which natural science it was no longer necessary in the somatic cella of the deals, none are eternal except the smallest particles of heteroplastids. From the instant that natural selection matter and their forces, certainly not the thousandfold sem- relaxed its watch on this quality of immortality began the blances and combinations under which matter and force process of panmixia which led to its abolition. Prof. meet us. As I have said years ago, the immortality of Vines will ask, How can one conceive of this process? unicellular organisms, and of the germ-cells of the multi- I answer, Quite easily. When once individuals arose cellular, is not absolute but potential ; it is not that they among monoplastids, in the protoplasm of which occurred must live for ever as did the gods of the ancient Greek's such variation in chemical and molecular constitution as - Ares received a “mortal” wound, and roared for to result in a gradual check on the metabolic cycle, it pain like to ten thousand bulls, but could not die; they would happen that these individuals died; a permanent can die--the greater number do in fact die-but a pro- variety could not grow out of such variations. But if portion lives on which is of one and the same substance there arose among heteroplastids individuals with a with the others. Does not life, here as elsewhere, depend similar differentiation of the somatic cells, the death of on metabolism—that is to say, a constant change of these cells would not be detrimental to the species, since material ? And what is it, then, which is immortal ? its continuance is ensured by the immortal germ-cells Clearly not the substance, but only a definite form of Upon the differentiation into germinal and somatic cells activity. The protoplasm of the unicellular animals is of natural selection was, speaking metaphorically, trained such chemical and molecular structure that the cycle of to bear on immortality of the germ-cells, but on quite material which constitutes life returns even to the same other qualities in the somatic cells--on motility, irritabipoint and can always begin anew, so long as the neces- lity, capacity for assimilation, &c. We do not know whether sary external conditions are forthcoming. It is like the the attainment of these qualities was accompanied by a circulation of water, which evaporates, gathers into constitutional alteration which caused the loss of immorclouds, and falls as rain upon the earth, always to eva- tality, but it is at least possible; and, if true, the somatic porate afresh. And as in the physical and chemical cells will have lost their immortality even more rapidly properties of water there is no inherent cause for the than through the unaided action of panmixia. cessation of this cycle, so there is no clear reason in the In the fourth essay of my book, I have cited tite two physical condition of unicellular organisms why the cycle Volvocinean genera Pandorina and Volvox as example:

« PreviousContinue »