IV.—An Ideal Old Age
As I have shown in the "Nature of Man," the human constitution as it exists to-day, being the result of a long evolution and containing a large animal element, cannot furnish the basis of rational morality. The conception which has come down from antiquity to modern times, of a harmonious activity of all the organs, is no longer appropriate to mankind. Organs which are in course of atrophy must not be re-awakened, and many natural characters which, perhaps, were useful in the case of animals, must be made to disappear in men.
Human nature which, like the constitutions of other organisms, is subject to evolution, must be modified according to a definite ideal. Just as a gardener or stock-raiser is not content with the existing nature of the plants and animals with which he is occupied, but modifies them to suit his purposes, so also the scientific philosopher must not think of existing human nature as immutable, but must try to modify it for the advantage of mankind. As bread is the chief article in the human food, attempts to improve cereals have been made for a very long time, but in order to obtain results much knowledge is necessary. To modify the nature of plants, it is necessary to understand them well, and it is necessary to have an ideal to be aimed at. In the case of mankind the ideal of human nature, towards which we ought to press, may be formed. In my opinion this ideal is "orthobiosis"—that is to say, the development of human life, so that it passes through a long period of old age in active and vigorous health, leading to a final period in which there shall be present a sense of satiety of life, and a wish for death.
Just as we must study the nature of plants before trying to realise our ideal, so also varied and profound knowledge is the first requisite for the ideal of moral conduct. It is necessary not only to know the structure and functions of the human organism, but to have exact ideas on human life as it is in society. Scientific knowledge is so indispensable for moral conduct that ignorance must be placed among the most immoral acts. A mother who rears her child in defiance of good hygiene, from want of knowledge, is acting immorally towards her offspring, notwithstanding her feeling of sympathy. And this also is true of a government which remains in ignorance of the laws which regulate human life and human society.
If the human race come to adopt the principles of orthobiosis, a considerable change in the qualities of men of different ages will follow. Old age will be postponed so much that men of from sixty to seventy years of age will retain their vigour, and will not require to ask assistance in the fashion now necessary. On the other hand, young men of twenty-one years of age will no longer be thought mature or ready to fulfil functions so difficult as taking a share in public affairs. The view which I set forth in the "Nature of Man" regarding the danger which comes from the present interference of young men in political affairs has since then been confirmed in the most striking fashion.
It is easily intelligible that in the new conditions such modern idols as universal suffrage, public opinion, and the referendum, in which the ignorant masses are called on to decide questions which demand varied and profound knowledge, will last no longer than the old idols. The progress of human knowledge will bring about the replacement of such institutions by others, in which applied morality will be controlled by the really competent persons. I permit myself to suppose that in these times scientific training will be much more general than it is just now, and that it will occupy the place which it deserves in education and in life.
Our intelligence informs us that man is capable of much, and, therefore, we hope that he may be able to modify his own nature and transform his disharmonies into harmonies. It is only human will that can attain this ideal.
The Old Red Sandstone
Hugh Miller was born in Cromarty, in the North of Scotland, October 10, 1802. From the time he was seventeen until he was thirty-four, he worked as a common stone-mason, although devoting his leisure hours to independent researches in natural history, for which he formed a taste early in life. He became interested in journalism, and was editor of the Edinburgh "Witness," when, in 1840, he published the contents of the volume issued a year later as "The Old Red Sandstone." The book deals with its author's most distinctive work, namely, finding fossils that tell much of the history of the Lower Old Red Sandstone, and fixing in the geological scale the place to which the larger beds of remains found in the system belong. Besides being a practical and original geologist, Miller had a fine imaginative power, which enabled him to reconstruct the past from its ruinous relics. The fact that he unfortunately set himself the task of combating the theory of evolution, which was fast gaining ground in his day, should not blind us to the high value of his geological experiences. The results of his observations provide some of the most cogent proofs of the theory he disputed. Late in life Miller's mind gave way, and he put an end to his own life on December 24, 1856.
I.—A Stone-mason's Researches
My advice to young working men desirous of bettering their circumstances, and adding to the amount of their enjoyment, is to seek happiness in study. Learn to make a right use of your eyes; the commonest things are worth looking at—even stones, weeds, and the most familiar animals. There are none of the intellectual or moral faculties, the exercise of which does not lead to enjoyment; hence it is that happiness bears so little reference to station.
Twenty years ago I made my first acquaintance with a life of labour and restraint. I was but a slim, loose-jointed boy at the time, fond of the pretty intangibilities of romance, and of dreaming when broad awake; and, woful change! I was now going to work in a quarry. I was going to exchange all my day-dreams for the kind of life in which men toil every day that they may be enabled to eat, and eat every day that they may be enabled to toil!
That first day was no very formidable beginning of the course of life I had so much dreaded. To be sure, my hands were a little sore, and I felt nearly as much fatigued as if I had been climbing among the rocks; but I had wrought and been useful, and had yet enjoyed the day fully as much as usual. I was as light of heart next morning as any of my brother-workmen. That night, arising out of my employment, I found I had food enough for thought without once thinking of the unhappiness of a life of labour.
In the course of the day I picked up a nodular mass of blue limestone, and laid it open by a stroke of the hammer. Wonderful to relate, it contained inside a beautifully finished piece of sculpture, one of the volutes, apparently, of an Ionic capital. Was there another such curiosity in the whole world? I broke open a few other nodules of similar appearance, and found that there might be. In one of these there were what seemed to be scales of fishes and the impressions of a few minute bivalves, prettily striated; in the centre of another there was actually a piece of decayed wood.
Of all nature's riddles these seemed to me to be at once the most interesting and the most difficult to expound. I treasured them carefully up, and was told by one of the workmen to whom I showed them that there was a part of the shore, about two miles further to the west, where curiously shaped stones, somewhat like the heads of boarding-pikes, were occasionally picked up, and that in his father's day the country people called them thunderbolts. Our first half-holiday I employed in visiting the place where the thunderbolts had fallen so thickly, and found it a richer scene of wonder than I could have fancied even in my dreams.
My first year of labour came to a close, and I found that the amount of my happiness had not been less than in the last of my boyhood. My knowledge had increased in more than the ratio of former seasons; and as I had acquired the skill of at least the common mechanic, I had fitted myself for independence.
My curiosity, once fully awakened, remained awake, and my opportunities of gratifying it have been tolerably ample. I have been an explorer of caves and ravines, a loiterer along sea-shores, a climber among rocks, a labourer in quarries. My profession was a wandering one. I remember passing direct, on one occasion, from the wild western coast of Ross-shire, where the Old Red Sandstone leans at a high angle against the prevailing quartz of the district, to where, on the southern skirts of Midlothian, the Mountain Limestone rises amid the coal. I have resided one season on a raised beach of the Moray Firth. I have spent the season immediately following amid the ancient granite and contorted schists of the central Highlands. In the north I have laid open by thousands the shells and lignites of the oolite; in the south I have disinterred from their matrices of stone or of shale the huge reds and tree ferns of the carboniferous period.
I advise the stone-mason to acquaint himself with geology. Much of his time must be spent amid the rocks and quarries of widely separated localities, and so, in the course of a few years he may pass over the whole geological scale, and this, too, with opportunities of observation at every stage which can be shared with him by only the gentleman of fortune who devotes his whole time to study. Nay, in some respects, his advantages are superior to those of the amateur, for the man whose employments have to be carried on in the same formation for months, perhaps years, enjoys better opportunities of arriving at just conclusions. There are formations which yield their organisms slowly to the discoverer, and the proofs which establish their place in the geological scale more tardily still. I was acquainted with the Old Red Sandstone of Ross and Cromarty for nearly ten years ere I ascertained that it is richly fossiliferous; I was acquainted with it for nearly ten years more ere I could assign its fossils to their exact place in the scale. Nature is vast and knowledge limited, and no individual need despair of adding to the general fund.
II.—Bridging Life's Gaps
"The Old Red Sandstone," says a Scottish geologist in a digest of some recent geological discoveries, "has hitherto been considered as remarkably barren of fossils." Only a few years have gone by since men of no low standing in the science disputed the very existence of this formation—or system, rather, for it contains at least three distinct formations. There are some of our British geologists who still regard it as a sort of debatable tract, entitled to no independent status, a sort of common which should be divided.
It will be found, however, that this hitherto neglected system yields in importance to none of the others, whether we take into account its amazing depth, the great extent to which it is developed both at home and abroad, the interesting links which it furnishes in the geological scale, or the vast period of time which it represents. There are localities in which the depth of the Old Red Sandstone fully equals the elevation of Mount Etna over the level of the sea, and in which it contains three distinct groups of organic remains, the one rising in beautiful progression over the other.
My first statement regarding the system must be much the reverse of the one just quoted, for the fossils are remarkably numerous and in a state of high preservation. I have a hundred solid proofs by which to establish the truth of the assertion within less than a yard of me. Half my closet walls are covered with the peculiar fossils of the Lower Old Red Sandstone; and certainly a stranger assemblage of forms has rarely been grouped together—creatures whose very type is lost, fantastic and uncouth, which puzzle the naturalist to assign them even to their class; boat-like animals, furnished with oars and a rudder; fish, plated over, like the tortoise, above and below, with a strong armour of bone, and furnished with but one solitary rudder-like fin; other fish with the membranes of their fins thickly covered with scales; creatures bristling over with thorns; others glistening in an enamelled coat, as if beautifully japanned; the tail in every instance among the less equivocal shapes formed not equally, as in existing fish, on each side the central vertebral column, but chiefly on the lower side—the column sending out its diminished vertebrae to the extreme termination of the fin. All the forms testify of a remote antiquity. The figures on a Chinese vase or an Egyptian obelisk are scarce more unlike what now exists in nature than are the fossils of the Lower Old Red Sandstone.
Lamarck, on the strength of a few striking facts which prove that to a certain extent the instincts of species may be improved and heightened, has concluded that there is a natural progress from the inferior orders of being towards the superior, and that the offspring of creatures low in the scale may belong to a different and nobler species a few thousand years hence. Never was there a fancy so wild and extravagant. The principle of adaptation still leaves the vegetable a vegetable, and the dog a dog. It is true that it is a law of nature that the chain of being is in some degree a continuous chain, and the various classes of existence shade into each other. All the animal families have their connecting links. Geology abounds with creatures of the intermediate class.
Fishes seem to have been the master existences of two great geological systems, mayhap of three, ere the age of reptiles began. Now, fishes differ very much among themselves, some ranking nearly as low as worms, some nearly as high as reptiles; and we find in the Old Red Sandstone series of links which are wanting in the present creation, and the absence of which occasions a wide gap between the two grand divisions of fishes, the bony and the cartilaginous.
Of all the organisms of the system one of the most extraordinary is the pterichthys, or winged fish, which the writer had the pleasure of introducing to the acquaintance of geologists. Had Lamarck been the discoverer he would unquestionably have held that he had caught a fish almost in the act of wishing itself into a bird. There are wings which want only feathers, a body which seems to have been as well adapted for passing through the air as through water, and a tail with which to steer.
My first idea regarding it was that I had discovered a connecting link-between the tortoise and the fish. I submitted some of my specimens to Mr. Murchison, and they furnished him with additional data by which to construct the calculations he was then making respecting fossils, and they added a new and very singular link to the chain of existence in its relation to human knowledge. Agassiz confirmed the conclusions of Murchison in almost every particular, deciding at once that the creature must have been a fish.
Next to the pterichthys of the Lower Old Red Sandstone I shall place its contemporary the coccosteus of Agassiz—a fish which in some respects must have resembled it. Both were covered with an armour of thickly tubercled bony plates, and both furnished with a vertebrated tail. The coccosteus seems to have been most abundant. Another of the families of the ichthyolites of the Old Red Sandstone—the cephalaspis—seems almost to constitute a connecting link between fishes and crustaceans. In the present creation fishes are either osseous or cartilaginous, that is, with bony skeletons, or with a framework of elastic, semi-transparent animal matter, like the shark; and the ichthyolites of the Old Red Sandstone unite these characteristics, resembling in some respects the osseous and in others the cartilaginous tribes. Agassiz at once confirmed my suspicion that the ichthyolites of the Old Red Sandstone were intermediate. Though it required skill to determine the place of the pterichthys and coccosteus there could be no mistaking the osteolepis—it must have been a fish, and a handsome one, too. But while its head resembled the heads of the bony fishes, its tail differed in no respects from the tails of the cartilaginous ones. And so through the discovery of extinct species the gaps between existing species have been bridged.
III.—Place-Fixing in the Dim Past
The next step was to fix the exact place of the ichthyolites in the geological scale, and this I was enabled to do by finding a large and complete bed in situ. Its true place is a little more than a hundred feet above the top, and not much more than a hundred yards above the base of the great conglomerate.
The Old Red Sandstone in Scotland and in England has its lower, middle, and upper groups—three distinct formations. As the pterichthys and coccosteus are the characteristic ichthyolites of the Lower Old Red formation, so the cephalaspis distinguishes the middle or coronstone division of the system in England. When we pass to the upper formation, we find the holoptychius the most characteristic fossil.
These fossils are found in a degree of entireness which depends less on their age than on the nature of the rock in which they occur. Limestone is the preserving salt of the geological world, and the conservative qualities of the shales and stratified clays of the Lower Old Red Sandstone are not much inferior to limestone itself; while in the Upper Old Red the beds of consolidated sand are much less conservative of organic remains. The older fossils, therefore, can be described almost as minutely as the existence of the present creation, whereas the newer fossils exist, except in a few rare cases, as fragments, and demand the powers of a Cuvier or an Agassiz to restore them to their original combinations. On the other hand, while the organisms of the Lower Old Red are numerous and well preserved, those of the Upper Old Red are much greater in individual size. In short, the fish of the lower ocean must have ranged in size between a stickleback and a cod; whereas some of the fish of the ocean of the Upper Sandstone were covered with scales as large as oyster shells, and were armed with teeth that rivalled in size those of the crocodile.
IV.—Fish as Nature's Last Word
I will now attempt to present to the reader the Old Red Sandstone as it existed in time—during the succeeding periods of its formation, and when its existences lived and moved as the denizens of primeval oceans. We pass from the cemetery with its heaps of bones to the ancient city full of life and animation in all its streets and dwellings.
Before we commence our picture, two great geological periods have come to their close, and the floor of the widely spread ocean is occupied to the depth of many thousand feet by the remains of bygone existences. The rocks of these two earlier periods are those of the Cambrian and Silurian groups. The lower—Cambrian, representative of the first glimmering twilight of being—must be regarded as a period of uncertainty. It remains for future discoverers to determine regarding the shapes of life that burrowed in its ooze or careered through the incumbent waters.
There is less doubt respecting the existences of the Silurian rocks. Four distinct platforms of being range in it, the one over the other, like the stories of a building. Life abounded on all these platforms, and in shapes the most wonderful. In the period of the Upper Silurian fish, properly so called, and of a very perfect organisation, had taken precedence of the crustacean. These most ancient beings of their class were cartilaginous fishes, and they appear to have been introduced by myriads. Such are the remains of what seem to have been the first vertebrata.
The history of the period represented by the Old Red Sandstone seems, in what now forms the northern half of Scotland, to have opened amid confusion and turmoil. The finely laminated Tilestones of England were deposited evidently in a calm sea. During the contemporary period the space which now includes Orkney, Lochness, Dingwall, Gamrie, and many a thousand square miles besides, was the scene of a shallow ocean, perplexed by powerful currents and agitated by waves. A vast stratum of water-rolled pebbles, varying in depth from a hundred feet to a hundred yards, remains, in a thousand different localities, to testify to the disturbing agencies of this time of commotion, though it is difficult to conceive how the bottom of any sea could have been so violently and equally agitated for so greatly extended a space.
The period of this shallow and stormy ocean passed, and the bottom, composed of the identical conglomerate which now forms the summit of some of our loftiest mountains, sank to a depth so profound as to be little affected by tides and tempests. During this second period there took place a vast deposit of coarse sandstone strata, and the subsidence continued until fully ninety feet had overlaid the conglomerate in waters perfectly undisturbed. And here we find the first proof that this ancient ocean literally swarmed with life—that its bottom was covered with miniature forests of algae, and its waters darkened by immense shoals of fish. I have seen the ichthyolite bed where they were as thickly covered with fossil remains as I have ever seen a fishing-bank covered with herrings.
At this period some terrible catastrophe involved in sudden destruction the fish of an area at least a hundred miles from boundary to boundary, perhaps much more. The same platform in Orkney as in Cromarty is strewn thick with remains which exhibit unequivocally the marks of violent death. In what could it have originated? By what quiet but potent agency of destruction could the innumerable existences of an area perhaps ten thousand miles in extent be annihilated at once, and yet the medium in which they lived be left undisturbed by its operations? The thought has often struck me that calcined lime, cast out as ashes from some distant crater and carried by the winds, might have been the cause of the widely spread destruction to which the fossil organisms testify. I have seen the fish of a small trouting stream, over which a bridge was in the course of building, destroyed in a single hour, for a full mile below the erection, by a few troughfuls of lime that fell into the water when the centring was removed.
The period of death passed, and over the innumerable dead there settled a soft muddy sediment. For an unknown space of time, represented in the formation by a deposit about fifty feet in thickness, the waters of the depopulated area seem to have remained devoid of life. A few scales and plates then begin to appear. The fish that had existed outside the chasm seem to have gradually gained upon it as their numbers increased.
The work of deposition went on and sandstone was overlaid by stratified clay. This upper bed had also its organisms, but the circumstances were less favourable to the preservation of entire ichthyolites than those in which the organisms were wrapped up in their stony coverings. Age followed age, generations were entombed in ever-growing depositions. Vast periods passed, and it seemed as if the power of the Creator had reached its extreme limit when fishes had been called into existence, and our planet was destined to be the dwelling-place of no nobler inhabitants.
The curtain rises, and the scene is new. The myriads of the lower formation have disappeared, and we are surrounded on an upper platform by the existences of a later creation. Shoals of cephalaspides, feathered with fins, sweep past. We see the distant gleam of scales, that some of the coats glitter with enamel, that others bristle over with minute thorny points. A huge crustacean, of uncouth proportions, stalks over the weedy bottoms, or burrows in the hollows of the banks. Ages and centuries pass—who can sum up their number?—for the depth of this middle formation greatly exceeds that of the other two.
The curtain rises. A last day had at length come to the period of the middle formation, and in an ocean roughened by waves and agitated by currents we find new races of existences. We may mark the clumsy bulk of the Holoptychius conspicuous in the group. The shark family have their representative as before; a new variety of the pterichthys spreads out its spear-like wings at every alarm, like its predecessor of the lower formation. Fish still remained the lords of creation, and their bulk, at least, had become immensely more great. We began with an age of dwarfs, we end with an age of giants, which is carried on into the lower coal measures. We pursue our history no further?
Has the last scene in the series arisen? Cuvier asked the question, hesitated, and then decided in the negative, for he was too intimately acquainted with the works of the Creator to think of limiting His power, and he could anticipate a coming period in which man would have to resign his post of honour to some nobler and wiser creature, the monarch of a better and happier world.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON
Sir Isaac Newton was born at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England, Dec. 25, 1642, the son of a small landed proprietor. For the famous episode of the falling apple, Voltaire, who admirably explained his system for his countrymen, is responsible. It was in 1680 that Newton discovered how to calculate the orbit of a body moving under a central force, and showed that if the force varied as the inverse square of the distance, the orbit would be an ellipse with the centre of force in one focus. The great discovery, which made the writing of his "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica" possible, was that the attraction between two spheres is the same as it would be if we supposed each sphere condensed to a point at its centre. The book was published as a whole in 1687. Of its author it was said by Lagrange that not only was he the greatest genius that ever existed, but also the most fortunate, "for we cannot find more than once a system of the world to establish." Newton died on March 20, 1727.
Our design (writes Newton in his preface) not respecting arts but philosophy, and our subject not manual but natural powers, we consider those things which relate to gravity, levity, elastic force, the resistance of fluids and the like forces, whether attractive or impulsive; and, therefore, we offer this work as the mathematical principles of philosophy, for all the difficulty of philosophy seems to consist in this—from the phenomena of motions to investigate the forces of nature, and from these forces to demonstrate the other phenomena, and to this end the general propositions in the first and second book are directed. In the third book, we give an example of this in the explication of the system of the world; for by the propositions mathematically demonstrated in the former books, we in the third derive from the celestial phenomena the forces of gravity with which bodies tend to the sun and the several planets. Then from these forces, by other propositions which are also mathematical, we deduce the motions of the planets, the comets, the moon, and the sea.
Upon this subject I had (he says) composed the third book in a popular method, that it might be read by many, but afterward, considering that such as had not sufficiently entered into the principles could not easily discern the strength of the consequences, nor lay aside the prejudices to which they had been many years accustomed, therefore, to prevent the disputes which might be raised upon such accounts, I chose to reduce the substance of this book into the form of Propositions (in the mathematical way). So that this third book is composed both "in popular method" and in the form of mathematical propositions.
Books I and II
The principle of universal gravitation, namely, "That every particle of matter is attracted by or gravitates to every other particle of matter with a force inversely proportional to the squares of their distances," is the discovery which characterises the "Principia." This principle the author deduced from the motion of the moon and the three laws of Kepler; and these laws in turn Newton, by his greater law, demonstrated to be true.
From the first law of Kepler, namely, the proportionality of the areas to the times of their description, Newton inferred that the force which retained the planet in its orbit was always directed to the sun. From the second, namely, that every planet moves in an ellipse with the sun as one of foci, he drew the more general inference that the force by which the planet moves round that focus varies inversely as the square of its distance therefrom. He demonstrated that a planet acted upon by such a force could not move in any other curve than a conic section; and he showed when the moving body would describe a circular, an elliptical, a parabolic, or hyperbolic orbit. He demonstrated, too, that this force or attracting, gravitating power resided in even the least particle; but that in spherical masses it operates as if confined to their centres, so that one sphere or body will act upon another sphere or body with a force directly proportional to the quantity of matter and inversely as the square of the distance between their centres, and that their velocities of mutual approach will be in the inverse ratio of their quantities of matter. Thus he outlined the universal law.
The System of the World
It was the ancient opinion of not a few (writes Newton in Book III.) in the earliest ages of philosophy that the fixed stars stood immovable in the highest parts of the world; that under the fixed stars the planets were carried about the sun; that the earth, as one of the planets, described an annual course about the sun, while, by a diurnal motion, it was in the meantime revolved about its own axis; and that the sun, as the common fire which served to warm the whole, was fixed in the centre of the universe. It was from the Egyptians that the Greeks derived their first, as well as their soundest notions of philosophy. It is not to be denied that Anaxagoras, Democritus and others would have it that the earth possessed the centre of the world, but it was agreed on both sides that the motions of the celestial bodies were performed in spaces altogether free and void of resistance. The whim of solid orbs was of later date, introduced by Endoxus, Calippus and Aristotle, when the ancient philosophy began to decline.
As it was the unavoidable consequence of the hypothesis of solid orbs while it prevailed that the comets must be thrust down below the moon, so no sooner had the late observations of astronomers restored the comets to their ancient places in the higher heavens than these celestial spaces were at once cleared of the encumbrance of solid orbs, which by these observations were broken to pieces and discarded for ever.
Whence it was that the planets came to be retained within any certain bounds in these free spaces, and to be drawn off from the rectilinear courses, which, left to themselves, they should have pursued, into regular revolutions in curvilinear orbits, are questions which we do not know how the ancients explained; and probably it was to give some sort of satisfaction to this difficulty that solid orbs were introduced.
The later philosophers pretend to account for it either by the action of certain vortices, as Kepler and Descartes, or by some other principle of impulse or attraction, for it is most certain that these effects must proceed from the action of some force or other. This we will call by the general name of a centripetal force, as it is a force which is directed to some centre; and, as it regards more particularly a body in that centre, we call it circum-solar, circum-terrestrial, circum-jovial.
That by means of centripetal forces the planets may be retained in certain orbits we may easily understand if we consider the motions of projectiles, for a stone projected is by the pressure of its own weight forced out of the rectilinear path, which, by the projection alone, it should have pursued, and made to describe a curve line in the air; and through that crooked way is at last brought down to the ground, and the greater the velocity is with which it is projected the further it goes before it falls to earth. We can, therefore, suppose the velocity to be so increased that it would describe an arc of 1, 2, 5, 10, 100, 1,000 miles before it arrived at the earth, till, at last, exceeding the limits of the earth, it should pass quite by it without touching it.
And because the celestial motions are scarcely retarded by the little or no resistance of the spaces in which they are performed, to keep up the parity of cases, let us suppose either that there is no air about the earth or, at least, that it is endowed with little or no power of resisting.
And since the areas which by this motion it describes by a radius drawn to the centre of the earth have previously been shown to be proportional to the times in which they are described, its velocity when it returns to the point from which it started will be no less than at first; and, retaining the same velocity, it will describe the same curve over and over by the same law.
But if we now imagine bodies to be projected in the directions of lines parallel to the horizon from greater heights, as from 5, 10, 100, 1,000 or more miles, or, rather, as many semi-diameters of the earth, those bodies, according to their different velocity and the different force of gravity in different heights, will describe arcs either concentric with the earth or variously eccentric, and go on revolving through the heavens in those trajectories just as the planets do in their orbs.
As when a stone is projected obliquely, the perpetual deflection thereof towards the earth is a proof of its gravitation to the earth no less certain than its direct descent when suffered to fall freely from rest, so the deviation of bodies moving in free spaces from rectilinear paths and perpetual deflection therefrom towards any place, is a sure indication of the existence of some force which from all quarters impels those bodies towards that place.
That there are centripetal forces actually directed to the bodies of the sun, of the earth, and other planets, I thus infer.
The moon revolves about our earth, and by radii drawn to its centre describes areas nearly proportional to the times in which they are described, as is evident from its velocity compared with its apparent diameter; for its motion is slower when its diameter is less (and therefore its distance greater), and its motion is swifter when its diameter is greater.
The revolutions of the satellites of Jupiter about the planet are more regular; for they describe circles concentric with Jupiter by equable motions, as exactly as our senses can distinguish.
And so the satellites of Saturn are revolved about this planet with motions nearly circular and equable, scarcely disturbed by any eccentricity hitherto observed.
That Venus and Mercury are revolved about the sun is demonstrable from their moon-like appearances. And Venus, with a motion almost uniform, describes an orb nearly circular and concentric with the sun. But Mercury, with a more eccentric motion, makes remarkable approaches to the sun and goes off again by turns; but it is always swifter as it is near to the sun, and therefore by a radius drawn to the sun still describes areas proportional to the times.
Lastly, that the earth describes about the sun, or the sun about the earth, by a radius from one to the other, areas exactly proportional to the times is demonstrable from the apparent diameter of the sun compared with its apparent motion.
These are astronomical experiments; from which it follows that there are centripetal forces actually directed to the centres of the earth, of Jupiter, of Saturn, and of the sun.
That these forces decrease in the duplicate proportion of the distances from the centre of every planet appears by Cor. vi., Prop. iv., Book I. for the periodic times of the satellites of Jupiter are one to another in the sesquiplicate proportion of their distances from the centre of this planet. Cassini assures us that the same proportion is observed in the circum-Saturnal planets. In the circum-solar planets Mercury and Venus, the same proportional holds with great accuracy.
That Mars is revolved about the sun is demonstrated from the phases which it shows and the proportion of its apparent diameters; for from its appearing full near conjunction with the sun and gibbous in its quadratures, it is certain that it travels round the sun. And since its diameter appears about five times greater when in opposition to the sun than when in conjunction therewith, and its distance from the earth is reciprocally as its apparent diameter, that distance will be about five times less when in opposition to than when in conjunction with the sun; but in both cases its distance from the sun will be nearly about the same with the distance which is inferred from its gibbous appearance in the quadratures. And as it encompasses the sun at almost equal distances, but in respect of the earth is very unequally distant, so by radii drawn to the sun it describes areas nearly uniform; but by radii drawn to the earth it is sometimes swift, sometimes stationary, and sometimes retrograde.
That Jupiter in a higher orbit than Mars is likewise revolved about the sun with a motion nearly equable as well in distance as in the areas described, I infer from Mr. Flamsted's observations of the eclipses of the innermost satellite; and the same thing may be concluded of Saturn from his satellite by the observations of Mr. Huyghens and Mr. Halley.
If Jupiter was viewed from the sun it would never appear retrograde or stationary, as it is seen sometimes from the earth, but always to go forward with a motion nearly uniform. And from the very great inequality of its apparent geocentric motion we infer—as it has been previously shown that we may infer—that the force by which Jupiter is turned out of a rectilinear course and made to revolve in an orbit is not directed to the centre of the earth. And the same argument holds good in Mars and in Saturn. Another centre of these forces is, therefore, to be looked for, about which the areas described by radii intervening may be equable; and that this is the sun, we have proved already in Mars and Saturn nearly, but accurately enough in Jupiter.
The distances of the planets from the sun come out the same whether, with Tycho, we place the earth in the centre of the system, or the sun with Copernicus; and we have already proved that, these distances are true in Jupiter. Kepler and Bullialdus have with great care determined the distances of the planets from the sun, and hence it is that their tables agree best with the heavens. And in all the planets, in Jupiter and Mars, in Saturn and the earth, as well as in Venus and Mercury, the cubes of their distances are as the squares of their periodic times; and, therefore, the centripetal circum-solar force throughout all the planetary regions decreases in the duplicate proportion of the distances from the sun. Neglecting those little fractions which may have arisen from insensible errors of observation, we shall always find the said proportion to hold exactly; for the distances of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Earth, Venus, and Mercury from the sun, drawn from the observations of astronomers, are (Kepler) as the numbers 951,000, 519,650, 152,350, 100,000, 70,000, 38,806; or (Bullialdus) as the numbers 954,198, 522,520, 152,350, 100,000, 72,398, 38,585; and from the periodic times they come out 953,806, 520,116, 152,399, 100,000, 72,333, 38,710. Their distances, according to Kepler and Bullialdus, scarcely differ by any sensible quantity, and where they differ most the differences drawn from the periodic times fall in between them.
Earth as a Centre
That the circum-terrestrial force likewise decreases in the duplicate proportion of the distances, I infer thus:
The mean distance of the moon from the centre of the earth is, we may assume, sixty semi-diameters of the earth; and its periodic time in respect of the fixed stars 27 days 7 hr. 43 min. Now, it has been shown in a previous book that a body revolved in our air, near the surface of the earth supposed at rest, by means of a centripetal force which should be to the same force at the distance of the moon in the reciprocal duplicate proportion of the distances from the centre of the earth, that is, as 3,600 to 1, would (secluding the resistance of the air) complete a revolution in 1 hr. 24 min. 27 sec.
Suppose the circumference of the earth to be 123,249,600 Paris feet, then the same body deprived of its circular motion and falling by the impulse of the same centripetal force as before would in one second of time describe 15-1/12 Paris feet. This we infer by a calculus formed upon Prop. xxxvi. ("To determine the times of the descent of a body falling from a given place"), and it agrees with the results of Mr. Huyghens's experiments of pendulums, by which he demonstrated that bodies falling by all the centripetal force with which (of whatever nature it is) they are impelled near the surface of the earth do in one second of time describe 15-1/12 Paris feet.
But if the earth is supposed to move, the earth and moon together will be revolved about their common centre of gravity. And the moon (by Prop, lx.) will in the same periodic time, 27 days 7 hr. 43 min., with the same circum-terrestrial force diminished in the duplicate proportion of the distance, describe an orbit whose semi-diameter is to the semi-diameter of the former orbit, that is, to the sixty semi-diameters of the earth, as the sum of both the bodies of the earth and moon to the first of two mean proportionals between this sum and the body of the earth; that is, if we suppose the moon (on account of its mean apparent diameter 31-1/2 min.) to be about 1/42 of the earth, as 43 to (42 + 42^2)^1/3 or as about 128 to 127. And, therefore, the semi-diameter of the orbit—that is, the distance of the centres of the moon and earth—will in this case be 60-1/2 semi-diameters of the earth, almost the same with that assigned by Copernicus; and, therefore, the duplicate proportion of the decrement of the force holds good in this distance. (The action of the sun is here disregarded as inconsiderable.)
This proportion of the decrement of the forces is confirmed from the eccentricity of the planets, and the very slow motion of their apsides; for in no other proportion, it has been established, could the circum-solar planets once in every revolution descend to their least, and once ascend to their greatest distance from the sun, and the places of those distances remain immovable. A small error from the duplicate proportion would produce a motion of the apsides considerable in every revolution, but in many enormous.
While the planets are thus revolved in orbits about remote centres, in the meantime they make their several rotations about their proper axes: the sun in 26 days, Jupiter in 9 hr. 56 min., Mars in 24-2/3 hr., Venus in 23 hr., and in like manner is the moon revolved about its axis in 27 days 7 hr. 43 min.; so that this diurnal motion is equal to the mean motion of the moon in its orbit; upon which account the same face of the moon always respects the centre about which this mean motion is performed—that is, the exterior focus of the moon's orbit nearly.
By reason of the diurnal revolutions of the planets the matter which they contain endeavours to recede from the axis of this motion; and hence the fluid parts, rising higher towards the equator than about the poles, would lay the solid parts about the equator under water if those parts did not rise also; upon which account the planets are something thicker about the equator than about the poles.
And from the diurnal motion and the attractions of the sun and moon our sea ought twice to rise and twice to fall every day, as well lunar as solar. But the two motions which the two luminaries raise will not appear distinguished but will make a certain mixed motion. In the conjunction or opposition of the luminaries their forces will be conjoined and bring on the greatest flood and ebb. In the quadratures the sun will raise the waters which the moon depresseth and depress the waters which the moon raiseth; and from the difference of their forces the smallest of all tides will follow.
But the effects of the lumniaries depend upon their distances from the earth, for when they are less distant their effects are greater and when more distant their effects are less, and that in the triplicate proportion of their apparent diameters. Therefore it is that the sun in winter time, being then in its perigee, has a greater effect, whether added to or subtracted from that of the moon, than in the summer season, and every month the moon, while in the perigee raiseth higher tides than at the distance of fifteen days before or after when it is in its apogee.
The fixed stars being at such vast distances from one another, can neither attract each other sensibly nor be attracted by our sun.
There are three hypotheses about comets. For some will have it that they are generated and perish as often as they appear and vanish; others that they come from the regions of the fixed stars, and are near by us in their passage through the sytem of our planets; and, lastly, others that they are bodies perpetually revolving about the sun in very eccentric orbits.
In the first case, the comets, according to their different velocities, will move in conic sections of all sorts; in the second they will describe hyperbolas; and in either of the two will frequent indifferently all quarters of the heavens, as well those about the poles as those towards the ecliptic; in the third their motions will be performed in eclipses very eccentric and very nearly approaching to parabolas. But (if the law of the planets is observed) their orbits will not much decline from the plane of the ecliptic; and, so far as I could hitherto observe, the third case obtains; for the comets do indeed chiefly frequent the zodiac, and scarcely ever attain to a heliocentric latitude of 40 degrees. And that they move in orbits very nearly parabolical, I infer from their velocity; for the velocity with which a parabola is described is everywhere to the velocity with which a comet or planet may be revolved about the sun in a circle at the same distance in the subduplicate ratio of 2 to 1; and, by my computation, the velocity of comets is found to be much about the same. I examined the thing by inferring nearly the velocities from the distances, and the distances both from the parallaxes and the phenomena of the tails, and never found the errors of excess or defect in the velocities greater than what might have arisen from the errors in the distances collected after that manner.
SIR RICHARD OWEN
Anatomy of Vertebrates
Sir Richard Owen, the great naturalist, was born July 20, 1804, at Lancaster, England, and received his early education at the grammar school of that town. Thence he went to Edinburgh University. In 1826 he was admitted a member of the English College of Surgeons, and in 1829 was lecturing at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, where he had completed his studies. His "Memoir on the Pearly Nautillus," published in 1832, placed him, says Huxley, "at a bound in the front rank of anatomical monographers," and for sixty-two years the flow of his contributions to scientific literature never ceased. In 1856 he was appointed to take charge of the natural history departments of the British Museum, and before long set forth views as to the inadequacy of the existing accommodation, which led ultimately to the foundation of the buildings now devoted to this purpose in South Kensington. Owen died on December 18, 1892. His great book, "Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of the Vertebrates," was completed in 1868, and since Cuvier's "Comparative Anatomy," is the most monumental treatise on the subject by any one man. Although much of the classification adopted by Owen has not been accepted by other zoologists, yet the work contains an immense amount of information, most of which was gained from Owen's own personal observations and dissections.
I.—Biological Questions of 1830
At the close of my studies at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, in 1831, I returned strongly moved to lines of research bearing upon the then prevailing phases of thought on some biological questions.
The great master in whose dissecting rooms I was privileged to work held that species were not permanent as a fact established inductively on a wide basis of observation, by which comparative osteology had been created. Camper and Hunter suspected the species might be transitory; but Cuvier, in defining the characters of his anaplotherium and palaeotherium, etc., proved the fact. Of the relation of past to present species, Cuvier had not an adequate basis for a decided opinion. Observation of changes in the relative position of land and sea suggested to him one condition of the advent of new species on an island or continent where old species had died out. This view he illustrates by a hypothetical case of such succession, but expressly states: "I do not assert that a new creation was necessary to produce the species now existing, but only that they did not exist in the same regions, and must have come from elsewhere." Geoffrey Saint Hilaire opposed to Cuvier's inductive treatment of the question the following expression of belief: "I have no doubt that existing animals are directly descended from the animals of the antediluvian world," but added, "it is my belief that the season has not yet arrived for a really satisfying knowledge of geology."
The main collateral questions argued in their debates appeared to me to be the following:
Unity of plan or final purpose, as a governing condition of organic development?
Series of species, uninterrupted or broken by intervals?
Extinction, cataclysmal or regulated?
Development, by epigenesis or evolution?
Primary life, by miracle or secondary law?
Cuvier held the work of organisation to be guided and governed by final purpose or adaptation. Geoffrey denied the evidence of design and contended for the principle which he called "unity of composition," as the law of organisation. Most of his illustrations were open to the demonstration of inaccuracy; and the language by which disciples of the kindred school of Schelling illustrated in the animal structure the transcendental idea of the whole in every part seemed little better than mystical jargon. With Cuvier, answerable parts occurred in the zoological scale because they had to perform similar functions.
As, however, my observations and comparisons accumulated, they enforced a reconsideration of Cuvier's conclusions. To demonstrate the evidence of the community of organisation I found the artifice of an archetype vertebrate animal essential; and from the demonstration of its principle, which I then satisfied myself was associated with and dominated by that of "adaptation to purpose," the step was inevitable to the conception of the operation of a secondary cause of the entire series of species, such cause being the servant of predetermining intelligent will.
But besides "derivation" or "filiation" another principle influencing organisation became recognisable, to which I gave the name of "irrelative repetition," or "vegetative repetition." The demonstrated constitution of the vertebrate endoskeleton as a series of essentially similar segments appeared to me to illustrate the law of irrelative repetition.
These results of inductive research swayed me in rejecting direct or miraculous creation, and in recognising a "natural law or secondary cause" as operative in the production of species "in orderly succession and progression."
II.—Succession of Species, Broken or Linked?
To the hypothesis that existing are modifications of extinct species, Cuvier replied that traces of modification were due from the fossil world. "You ought," he said, "to be able to show the intermediate forms between the palaeotherium and existing hoofed quadrupeds."
The progress of palaeontology since 1830 has brought to light many missing links unknown to the founder of the science. The discovery of the remains of the hipparion supplied one of the links required by Cuvier, and it is significant that the remains of such three-toed horses are found only in deposits of that tertiary period which intervene between the older palaeotherian one and the newer strata in which the modern horse first appears to have lost its lateral hooflets.
The molar series of the horse includes six large complex grinders individually recognisable by developmental characters. The representative of the first premolar is minute and soon shod. Its homologue in palaeotherium is functionally developed and retained, that type-dentition being adhered to. In hipparion this tooth is smaller than in palaeotherium, but functional and permanent. The transitory and singularly small and simple denticle in the horse exemplifies the rudiment of an ancestral structure in the same degree as do the hoofless splint-bones; just as the spurious hoofs dangling therefrom in hipparion are retained rudiments of the functionally developed lateral hoofs in the broader foot of palaeotherium.
Other missing links of this series of species have also been supplied.
How then is the origin of these intermediate gradations to be interpreted? If the alternative—species by miracle or by law—be applied to palaeotherium, paloplotherium, anchitherium, hipparion, equus, I accept the latter without misgiving, and recognise such law as continuously operative throughout tertiary time.
In respect to its law of operation we may suppose Lamarck to say, "as the surface of the earth consolidated, the larger and more produced mid-hoof of the old three-toed pachyderius took a greater share in sustaining the animal's weight; and more blood being required to meet the greater demand of the more active mid-toe, it grew; whilst, the side-toes, losing their share of nourishment and becoming more and more withdrawn from use, shrank"—and so on. Mr. Darwin, I conceive, would modify this by saying that some individuals of palaeotherium happening to be born with a larger and longer middle toe, and with shorter and smaller side-toes, such variety was better adapted to prevailing altered conditions of the earth's surface than the parental form; and so on, until finally the extreme equine modifications of foot came to be "naturally selected." But the hypothesis of appetency and volition, as of natural selection, are less applicable, less intelligible, in connection with the changes in the teeth.
I must further observe that to say the palaeotherium has graduated into equus by "natural selection" is an explanation of the process of the same kind and value as that by which the secretion of bile was attributed to the "appetency" of the liver for the elements of bile. One's surprise is that such explanatory devices should not have died out with the "archeus faber," the "nisus formations," and other self-deceiving, world-beguiling simulacra of science, with the last century; and that a resuscitation should have had any success in the present.
What, then, are the facts on which any reasonable or intelligible conception can be formed of the mode of operation of the derivative law exemplified in the series linking on palaeotherium to equus? A very significant one is the following. A modern horse occasionally comes into the world with the supplementary ancestral hoofs. From Valerius Maximus, who attributes the variety to Bucephalus downwards, such "polydactyle" horses have been noted as monsters and marvels. In one of the latest examples, the inner splint-bone, answering to the second metacarpal of the pentadactyle foot, supported phalanges and a terminal hoof resembling the corresponding one in hipparion. And the pairing of horses with the meterpodials bearing, according to type, phalanges and hoofs might restore the race of hipparions.
Now, the fact suggesting such possibility teaches that the change would be sudden and considerable; it opposes the idea that species are transmuted by minute and slow degrees. It also shows that a species might originate independently of the operation of any external influence; that change of structure would precede that of use and habit; that appetency, impulse, ambient medium, fortuitous fitness of surrounding circumstances, or a personified "selecting nature" would have had no share in the transmutative act.
Thus I have been led to recognise species as exemplifying the continuous operation of natural law, or secondary cause; and that not only successively but progressively; "from the first embodiment of the vertebrate idea under its old ichthyic vestment until it became arrayed in the glorious garb of the human form."
III.—Extinction—Cataclysmal or Regulated
If the species of palaeothere, paloplothere, anchithere, hipparion, and horse be severally deemed due to remotely and successively repeated acts of creation; the successive going out of such species must have been as miraculous as their coming in. Accordingly, in Cuvier's "Discourse on Revolutions of the Earth's Surface" we have a section of "Proofs that these revolutions have been numerous," and another of "Proofs that these revolutions have been sudden." But as the discoveries of palaeontologists have supplied the links between the species held to have perished by the cataclysms, so each successive parcel of geological truth has tended to dissipate the belief in the unusually sudden and violent nature of the changes recognisable in the earth's surface. In specially directing my attention to this moot point, whilst engaged in investigations of fossil remains, I was led to recognise one cause of extinction as being due to defeat in the contest which the individual of each species had to maintain against the surrounding agencies which might militate against its existence. This principle has received a large and most instructive accession of illustrations from the labours of Charles Darwin; but he aims to apply it not only to the extinction but to the origin of species.
Although I fail to recognise proof of the latter bearing of the battle of life, the concurrence of so much evidence in favour of extinction by law is, in like measure, corroborative of the truth of the ascription of the origin of species to a secondary cause.
What spectacle can be more beautiful than that of the inhabitants of the calm expanse of water of an atoll encircled by its ring of coral rock! Leaving locomotive frequenters of the calcarious basin out of the question, we may ask, Was direct creation after the dying out of its result as a "rugose coral" repeated to constitute the succeeding and superseding "tabulate coral"? Must we also invoke the miraculous power to initiate every distinct species of both rugosa and tabulata? These grand old groups have had their day and are utterly gone. When we endeavour to conceive or realise such mode of origin, not of them only but of their manifold successors, the miracle, by the very multiplication of its manifestations, becomes incredible—inconsistent with any worthy conception of an all-seeing, all-provident Omnipotence.
Being unable to accept the volitional hypothesis (of Lamarck) or the selective force exerted by outward circumstances (Darwin), I deem an innate tendency to deviate from parental type, operating through periods of adequate duration, to be the most probable way of operation of the secondary law whereby species have been derived one from another.
According to my derivative hypothesis a change takes place first in the structure of the animal, and this, when sufficiently advanced, may lead to modifications of habits. But species owe as little to the accidental concurrence of environing circumstances as kosmos depends upon a fortuitous concourse of atoms. A purposive route of development and change of correlation and inter-dependence, manifesting intelligent will, is as determinable in the succession of races as in the development and organisation of the individual.
Derivation holds that every species changes in time, by virtue of inherent tendencies thereto. Natural selection holds that no such change can take place without the influence of altered external circumstances educing or eliciting such change.
Derivation sees among the effects of the innate tendency to change, irrespective of altered surrounding circumstances, a manifestation of creative power in the variety and beauty of the results; and, in the ultimate forthcoming of a being susceptible of appreciating such beauty, evidence of the preordaining of such relation of power to the appreciation. Natural selection acknowledges that if power or beauty, in itself, should be a purpose in creation, it would be absolutely fatal to it as a hypothesis.
Natural selection sees grandeur in the "view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one." Derivation sees, therein, a narrow invocation of a special miracle and an unworthy limitation of creative power, the grandeur of which is manifested daily, hourly, in calling into life many forms, by conversion of physical and chemical into vital modes of force, under as many diversified conditions of the requisite elements to be so combined.
Natural selection leaves the subsequent origin and succession of species to the fortuitous concurrence of outward conditions; derivation recognises a purpose in the defined and preordained course, due to innate capacity or power of change, by which homogeneously-created protozoa have risen to the higher forms of plants and animals.
The hypothesis of derivation rests upon conclusions from four great series of inductively established facts, together with a probable result of facts of a fifth class; the hypothesis of natural selection totters on the extension of a conjectural condition explanatory of extinction to the origination of species, inapplicable in that extension to the majority of organisms, and not known or observed to apply to the origin of any species.
IV.—Epigenesis or Evolution?
The derivative origin of species, then, being at present the most admissible one, and the retrospective survey of such species showing convergence, as time recedes, to more simplified or generalised organisations, the result to which the suggested train of thought inevitably leads is very analogous in each instance. If to kosmos or the mundane system have been allotted powers equivalent to the development of the several grades of life, may not the demonstrated series of conversions of force have also included that into the vital form?
In the last century, physiologists were divided as to the principle guiding the work of organic development.
The "evolutionists" contended that the new being preexisted in a complete state of formation, needing only to be vivified by impregnation in order to commence the series of expansions or disencasings, culminating in the independent individual.
The "epigenesists" held that both the germ and its subsequent organs were built up of juxtaposed molecules according to the operation of a developmental force, or "nisus formations."
At the present day the question may seem hardly worth the paper on which it is referred to. Nevertheless, "pre-existence of germs" and evolution are logically inseparable from the idea of species by primary miraculously-created individuals. Cuvier, therefore, maintained both as firmly as did Haller. In the debates of 1830 I remained the thrall of that dogma in regard to the origin of single-celled organisms whether in or out of body. Every result of formfaction, I believed, with most physiologists, to be the genetic outcome of a pre-existing "cell." The first was due to miraculous interposition and suspension of ordinary laws; it contained potentially all future possible cells. Cell-development exemplified evolution of pre-existing germs, the progeny of the primary cell. They progagated themselves by self-division, or by "proliferation" of minutes granules or atoms, which, when properly nourished, again multiplied by self-division, and grew to the likeness of the parent cells.
It seems to me more consistent with the present phase of dynamical science and the observed graduations of living things to suppose the sarcode or the "protogenal" jelly-speck should be formable through the concurrence of conditions favouring such combination of their elements, and involving a change of force productive of their contractions and extensions, molecular attractions, and repulsions—and the sarcode has so become, from the period when its irrelative repetitions resulted in the vast indefinite masses of the "eozoon," exemplifying the earliest process of "formification" or organic crystallisation—than that all existing sarcodes or "protogenes" are the result of genetic descent from a germ or cell due to a primary act of miraculous interposition.
I prefer, while indulging in such speculations, to consider the various daily nomogeneously developed forms of protozoal or protistal jellies, sarcodes, and single-celled organisms, to have been as many roots from which the higher grades have ramified than that the origin of the whole organic creation is to be referred, as the Egyptian priests did that of the universe, to a single egg.
Amber or steel, when magnetised, seem to exercise "selection"; they do not attract all substances alike. A speck of protogenal jelly or sarcode, if alive, shows analogous relations to certain substances; but the soft yielding tissue allows the part next the attractive matter to move thereto, and then, by retraction, to draw such matter into the sarcodal mass, which overspreads, dissolves, and assimilates it. The term "living" in the one case is correlative with the term "magnetic" in the other. A man perceives ripe fruit; he stretches out his hand, plucks, masticates, swallows, and digests it.
The question then arises whether the difference between such series of actions in the man and the attractive and assimilative movement of the amaeba be greater or less than the difference between these acts of the amaeba and the attracting and retaining acts of the magnet.
The question, I think, may be put with some confidence as to the quality of the ultimate reply whether the amaebal phenomena are so much more different, or so essentially different, from the magnetic phenomena than they are from the mammalian phenomena, as to necessitate the invocation of a special miracle for their manifestation. It is analogically conceivable that the same cause which has endowed His world with power convertible into magnetic, electric, thermotic and other forms or modes of force, has also added the conditions of conversion into the vital force.
From protozoa or protista to plants and animals the graduation is closer than from magnetised iron to vitalised sarcode. From reflex acts of the nervous system animals rise to sentient and volitional ones. And with the ascent are associated brain-cells progressively increasing in size and complexity. Thought relates to the "brain" of man as does electricity to the nervous "battery" of the torpedo; both are forms of force and the results of action of their respective organs.
Each sensation affects a cerebral fibre, and, in so affecting it, gives it the faculty of repeating the action, wherein memory consists and sensation in a dream.
If the hypothesis of an abstract entity produces psychological phenomena by playing upon the brain as a musician upon his instrument be rejected, and these phenomena be held to be the result of cerebral actions, an objection is made that the latter view is "materialistic" and adverse to the notion of an independent, indivisible, "immaterial," mental principle or soul.
But in the endeavour to comprehend clearly and explain the functions of the combination of forces called "brain," the physiologist is hindered and troubled by the views of the nature of those cerebral forces which the needs of dogmatic theology have imposed on mankind. How long physiologists would have entertained the notion of a "life," or "vital principle," as a distinct entity if freed from this baneful influence may be questioned; but it can be truly affirmed that physiology has now established and does accept the truth of that statement of Locke—"the life, whether of a material or immaterial substance, is not the substance itself, but an affection of it."
Rudolf Virchow, the son of a small farmer and shopkeeper, was born at Schivelbein, in Pomerania, on October 13, 1821. He graduated in medicine at Berlin, and was appointed lecturer at the University, but his political enthusiasm brought him into disfavour. In 1849 he was removed to Wurzburg, where he was made professor of pathology, but in 1856 he returned to Berlin as Professor and Director of the Pathological Institute, and there acquired world-wide fame. His celebrated work, "Cellular Pathology as based on Histology," published in 1856, marks a distinct epoch in the science. Virchow established what Lord Lister describes as "the true and fertile doctrine that every morbid structure consists of cells which have been derived from pre-existing cells as a progeny." Virchow was not only distinguished as a pathologist, he also gained considerable fame as an archaeologist and anthropologist. During the wars of 1866 and 1870-71, he equipped and drilled hospital corps and ambulance squads, and superintended hospital trains and the Berlin military hospital. War over, he directed his attention to sanitation and the sewage problems of Berlin. Virchow was a voluminous author on a variety of subjects, perhaps his most well-known works being "Famine Fever" and "Freedom of Science." He died on September 5, 1902.
The Cell and the Tissues
The chief point in the application of Histology to Pathology is to obtain recognition of the fact that the cell is really the ultimate morphological element in which there is any manifestation of life.
In certain respects animal cells differ from vegetable cells; but in essentials they are the same; both consist of matter of a nitrogenous nature.
When we examine a simple cell, we find we can distinguish morphological parts. In the first place, we find in the cell a round or oval body known as the nucleus. Occasionally the nucleus is stallate or angular; but as a rule, so long as cells have vital power, the nucleus maintains a nearly constant round or oval shape. The nucleus in its turn, in completely developed cells, very constantly encloses another structure within itself—the so-called nucleolus. With regard to the question of vital form, it cannot be said of the nucleolus that it appears to be an absolute essential, and in a considerable number of young cells it has as yet escaped detection. On the other hand, we regularly meet with it in fully-developed, older forms, and it therefore seems to mark a higher degree of development in the cell.
According to the view which was put forward in the first instance by Schleiden, and accepted by Schwann, the connection between the three co-existent cell-constituents was long thought to be of this nature: that the nucleolus was the first to show itself in the development of tissues, by separating out of a formative fluid (blastema, cyto-blastema), that it quickly attained a certain size, that then fine granules were precipitated out of the blastema and settled around it, and that about these there condensed a membrane. In this way a nucleus was formed about which new matter gradually gathered, and in due time produced a little membrane. This theory of the formation of the cell is designated the theory of free cell formation—a theory which has been now almost entirely abandoned.
It is highly probable that the nucleus plays an extremely important part within the cell—a part less connected with the function and specific office of the cell, than with its maintenance and multiplication as a living part. The specific (animal) function is most distinctly manifested in muscles, nerves, and gland cells, the peculiar actions of which—contraction, sensation, and secretion—appear to be connected in no direct manner with the nuclei. But the permanency of the cell as an element seems to depend on nucleus, for all cells which lose their nuclei quickly die, and break up, and disappear.
Every organism, whether vegetable or animal, must be regarded as a progressive total, made up of a larger or smaller number of similar or dissimilar cells. Just as a tree constitutes a mass arranged in a definite manner in which, in every single part, in the leaves as in the root, in the trunk as in the blossom, cells are discovered to be the ultimate elements, so it is with the forms of animal life. Every animal presents itself as a sum of vital unities, every one of which manifests all the characteristics of life. The characteristics and unity of life cannot be limited to any one particular spot in an organism (for instance, to the brain of a man) but are to be found only in the definite, constantly recurring structure, which every individual element displays. A so-called individual always represents an arrangement of a social kind, in which a number of individual existences are mutually dependent, but in such a way that every element has its own special action, and even though it derive its stimulus to activity from other parts, yet alone affects the actual performance of its duties.
Between cells there is a greater or less amount of a homogeneous substance—the intercellular substance. According to Schwann, the intercellular substance was cyto-blastema destined for the development of new cells; I believe this is not so, I believe that the intercellular substance is dependent in a certain definite manner upon the cells, and that certain parts of it belong to one cell and parts to another.
At various times, fibres, globules, and elementary granules, have been regarded as histological starting-points. Now, however, we have established the general principle that no development of any kind begins de novo and that as spontaneous generation is impossible in the case of entire organisms, so also it is impossible in the case of individual parts. No cell can build itself up out of non-cellular material. Where a cell arises, there a cell must have previously existed (omnis cellula e cellula), just as an animal can spring only from an animal, and a plant only from a plant. No developed tissues can be traced back to anything but a cell.
If we wish to classify tissues, a very simple division offers itself. We have (a) tissues which consist exclusively of cells, where cell lies close to cell. (b) Tissues in which the cells are separated by a certain amount of intercellular substance. (c) Tissues of a high or peculiar type, such as the nervous and muscular systems and vessels. An example of the first class is seen in the epithelial tissues. In these, cell lies close to cell, with nothing between.
The second class is exemplified in the connective tissues—tissues composed of intercellular substance in which at certain intervals cells lie embedded.
Muscles, nerves, and vessels form a somewhat heterogeneous group. The idea suggests itself that we have in all three structures to deal with real tubes filled with more or less movable contents. This view is, however, inadequate, since we cannot regard the blood as analogous to the medullary substance of the nerve, or contractile substance of a muscular fasciculus.
The elements of muscle have generally been regarded as the most simple. If we examine an ordinary red muscle, we find it to be composed of a number of cylindrical fibres, marked with transverse and longitudinal striae. If, now, we add acetic acid, we discover also tolerably large nuclei with nucleoli. Thus we obtain an appearance like an elongated cell, and there is a tendency to regard the primitive fasciculus as having sprung from a single cell. To this view I am much inclined.
Pathological tissues arise from normal tissues; and there is no form of morbid growth which cannot in its elements be traced back to some model which had previously maintained an independent existence in the economy. A classification, also, of pathological growths may be made on exactly the same plan as that which we have suggested in the case of the normal tissues.
Nutrition, Blood, and Lymph. Pus
Nutritive material is carried to the tissues by the blood; but the material is accepted by the tissues only in accordance with their requirements for the moment, and is conveyed to the individual districts in suitable quantities. The muscular elements of the arteries have the most important influence upon the quantity of the blood distributed, and their elastic elements ensure an equable stream; but it is chiefly the simple homogeneous membrane of the capillaries that influences the permeation of the fluids. Not all the peculiarities, however, in the interchange of nutritive material are to be attributed to the capillary wall, for no doubt there are chemical affinities which enable certain parts specially to attract certain substances from the blood. We know, for example, that a number of substances are introduced into the body which have special affinities for the nerve tissues, and that certain materials are excreted by certain organs. We are therefore compelled to consider the individual elements as active agents of the attraction. If the living element be altered by disease, then it loses its power of specific attraction.
I do not regard the blood as the cause of chronic dyscrasiae; for I do not regard the blood as a permanent tissue independently regenerating and propagating itself, but as a fluid in a state of constant dependence upon other parts. I consider that every dyscrasia is dependent upon a permanent supply of noxious ingredients from certain sources. As a continual ingestion of injurious food is capable of vitiating the blood, in like manner persistent disease in a definite organ is able to furnish the blood with a continual supply of morbid materials.
The essential point, therefore, is to search for the local sources of the different dyscrasiae which cause disorders of the blood, for every permanent change which takes place in the condition of the circulating juices must be derived from definite organs or tissues.
The blood contains certain morphological elements. It contains a substance, fibrine, which appears as fibrillac when the blood clots, and red and colourless blood corpuscles.
The red blood corpuscles contain no nuclei except at certain periods of the development of the embyro. They are lighter or darker red according to the oxygen they contain. When treated with concentrated fluids they shrivel; when treated with diluted fluids they swell. They are rather coin-shaped, and when a drop of blood is quiet they are usually found aggregated in rows, like rouleaux of money.
The colourless corpuscles are much less numerous than the red corpuscles—only one to 300—but they are larger, and contain nuclei. When blood coagulates the white corpuscles sink more slowly and appear as a lighter coloured layer on the top of the clot.
Pus cells are very like colourless corpuscles, and the relation between the two has been much debated. A pus cell can be distinguished from a colourless blood cell only by its mode of origin. If it have an origin external to the blood, it must be pus; if it originate in the blood, it must be considered to be a blood cell.
In the early stages of its development, a white blood corpuscle is seen to modify by division; but in fully-developed blood such division is never seen. It is probable that colourless white corpuscles are given to the adult blood by the lymphatic glands. Every irritation of a part which is freely connected with lymphatic glands increases the number of colourless cells in the blood. Any excessive increase from this source I have designated leucocytosis.
In the first months of the embryo the red cell multiplies by division. In adult life the mode of its multiplication is unknown. They, also, are probably formed in the lymphatic glands and spleen.
In a disease I have named leukaemia, the colourless blood cells increase in number enormously. In such cases there is always disease of the spleen, and very often of the lymphatic glands.
These facts can hardly, I think, be interpreted in any other manner than by supposing that the spleen and lymphatic glands are intimately concerned in the production of the formed elements of the blood.
By pyaemia is meant pus corpuscles in the blood. But most cases of so-called pyaemia are really cases in which there is an increase of white blood corpuscles, and it is doubtful whether such a condition as pus in the blood does ever occur. In the extremely rare cases, in which pus breaks through into the veins, purulent ingredients may, without doubt, be conveyed into the blood, but in such cases the introduction of pus occurs for the most part but once, and there is no persistent pyaemia. Even when clots in veins break down and form matter like pus, it will be found that the matter is not really pus, and contains no pus cells.
Chlorosis is a condition in which there is a diminution of the cellular elements of the blood, due probably to their deficient formation in the spleen and lymphatic glands.
The Vital Processes and Their Relation to Disease. Inflammation
The study of the histology of the nervous system shows that in all parts of the body a splitting up into a number of small centres takes place, and that nowhere does a single central point susceptible of anatomical demonstration exist from which the operations of the body are directed. We find in the nervous systems definite little cells which serve as centres of motion, but we do not find any single ganglion cell in which alone all movement in the end originates. The most various individual motor apparatuses are connected with the most various individual motor ganglion cells. Sensations are certainly collected in definite ganglion cells. Still, among them, too, we do not find any single ganglion cell which can be in any way designated the centre of all sensation, but we again meet with a great number of very minute centres. All the operations which have their source in the nervous system, and there certainly are a very great number of them, do not allow us to recognise a unity anywhere else than in our own consciousness. An anatomical or physiological unity has at least as yet been nowhere demonstrated.
When we talk of life we mean vital activity. Now, every vital action supposes an excitation or irritation. The irritability of the part is the criterion by which we judge whether it be alive or not. Our notion of the death of a part is based upon nothing more or less than this—that we can no longer detect any irritability in it. If we now proceed with our analysis of what is to be included in the notion of excitability, we at once discover, that the different actions which can be provoked by the influence of any external agency are essentially of three kinds. The result of an excitation or irritation may, according to circumstances, be either a merely functional process, or a more or less increased nutrition of the part, or a formative process giving rise to a greater or less number of new elements. These differences manifest themselves more or less distinctly according as the particular tissues are more or less capable of responding to the one or other kinds of excitation. It certainly cannot be denied that the processes may not be distinctly defined, and that between the nutritive and formative processes, and also between the functional and nutritive ones there are transitional stages; still, when they are typically performed, there is a very marked difference between them, and considerable differences in the internal changes undergone by the excited parts.
In inflammation all three irritative processes occur side by side. Indeed, we may frequently see that when the organ itself is made up of different parts, one part of the tissue undergoes functional or nutritive, another formative, changes. If we consider what happens in a muscle we see that a chemical or traumatic stimulus produces a functional irritation of the primitive fasciculi, with contraction of the muscle followed by nutritive changes. On the other hand, in the interstitial connective tissue which binds the individual fasciculi of the muscle together, real new formations are readily produced, commonly pus. In this manner the three forms of irritation may be distinguished in one part.
The formative process is always preceded by nutritive enlargement due to irritation of the part, and has no connection with irritation of the nerves. Of course there may be also an irritation of the nerves, but this, if we do not take function into account, has no causal connection with the processes going on in the tissue proper, but is merely a collateral effect of the original disturbance.
Besides these active processes of function, nutrition, and new formation, there occur passive processes. Passive processes are called those changes in cells whereby they either lose a portion of their substance, or are so completely destroyed, that a loss of substance, a diminution of the sum total of the constituents of the body is produced. To this class belong fatty degeneration of cells, affection of arteries, calcification, and ossification of arteries, amyloid degeneration, and so forth.
It will now be necessary to consider inflammation at more length. The theory of inflammation has passed through various stages. At first heat was considered as its essential and dominant feature, then redness, then exudative swelling; while the speculative neuropathologists consider pain the fons et origo of the condition.
Personally, I believe that irritation must be taken as the starting-point in the consideration of inflammation. We cannot conceive of inflammation without an irritating stimulus, and the first question is, what conception we are to form of such a stimulus.