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and sometimes (strange to tell) only to be found in the similarity of sounds, by which, from the natural imperfection of language, things entirely different are confounded under common terms. He hardly seems to know that in the veriest child the perception of resemblances far outstrips the realities of knowledge. It is the part of science to anatomize external things, and to follow out their differences; and then, and not till then, to arrange them in their proper places and speculate on their mutual bearings.
He is so enamoured of resemblances, that he will cheat his senses by mere similitudes of sound. Every one has heard of the quickness of thought-of glancing from heaven to earth, " from earth to heaven,' —and who has not heard of the velocity of the galvanic fluid? Therefore, the speed of thought may be reduced to numbers, and a man may think at the rate of 192,000 miles a second ! We know well that the author may shelter himself under the juggle of his own words, and tell us that he speaks only of the transmission of our will through the organs of the body. Let him, then, write in more becoming language. But he closes with his own hands his only door of escape. Elec
• tricity is almost as metaphysical as ever mind was supposed to
be'. . . .and yet electricity is a real thing, an actual existence, or, in other words, a material existence, (p. 317.*) "So mental • action may be imponderable and intangible, and yet a real exis
tence'--that is, a material existence. In the same passage he tells us, that the brain is absolutely identical with a galvanic • battery!' As well might he say that the human will and the point of a needle are identical, because each of them can produce the contraction of a muscle. Allowing that some of the functions of the brain resemble galvanism, are we to conclude that all its functions are galvanic ? We repudiate the rash conclusion. It may be true that galvanic influence transmitted through a nervous chord, soon after death, will produce muscular contraction ; and it may be true that, after sudden death, electric action may be transmitted from the hollow of the cranium, down the nerves which supply the stomach, so as to continue for a short time the operations of digestion. But what is all this for the author's purpose, unless he can re-animate a dead body, and continue the higher functions of life, sensation, and volition ? When he has done this, we will listen to his materialism; but not till then. There is an immeasurable difference between the
* We here repeat that we always refer to the page of the third edition, except where the contrary is expressed.
material organic combinations of a body, and its associated phenomena of life, sensation, and volition; and there is not the shadow of a reason why things so different in kind should cease together at the very moment of death. The doctrine of a 'vital
principle'may have been pushed too far, and brought to the explanation of phenomena which are resolvable on the more vulgar principles of ordinary chemical combination ; but this is not our present question. It is said that hair will continue to grow for several days after death. It is said also, in cases of sudden death, when life is arrested while every organ is in a healthy state, that organic action may for a while go on; and that the dead stomach may, in such a case, be dissolved by the very digestive juice which it has just elaborated. We therefore receive with doubt the digestive experiment of our author. If it be true, we willingly receive its evidence, while we reject the beggarly conclusion he dares to draw from it.
Again, all things living, whether vegetable or animal, may be traced back to some elementary germ, which admits not even of microscopic analysis. Therefore, the author tells us, all things living have one common fundamental and material germ. In tracing backwards the organic structure of different species, we can mark a difference at every step, so long as the things before us are within the ken of sense, and we can aid our senses by instruments of great power; but we lose ourselves at last among the ultimate germs of organic life. Are we then to say that these ultimate and unknown germs are all one and the same; while the phenomena springing from them, by stern unbending physical laws, are all different? One who, like this author, can snatch at the conclusion, has a mind incapable of Inductive reasoning, and cheats himself, at every turn of thought, by nothing better than empty sounds.
With the like spirit he writes as follows :-* The fundamental • form of organic being is a globule, having a new globule form. *ing within itself, by which it is in time discharged, and which
is again followed by another and another, in endless succession,' (p. 175.) If this be true in certain germs of organic life, we may doubt whether it be true of all germs, vegetable and animal. But let us, for the sake of argument, accept this principle in all its fulness, and then follow the author in the supernatural consequences be draws from it. • Globules,' he tells us, 'can be . produced in albumen by electricity,' (p. 176.) If, therefore,
, ' these globules be identical with the cells, which are now held ' to be reproductive, it might be said that the production of • albumen by artificial means is the only step in the process * wanting. The if and might of this precious sentence are
words of marvellous import. We believe the author cheats himself by empty sounds; and, because the poverty of language expresses not the difference of things inappreciable by vulgar sense, confounds his fundamental organic globule with the inorganic globule of a chemist. The passage of the electric fluid through water will produce a set of aëria) globules in rapid and expansive movement; and just as well might he call them also organic bodies, as any other globules evolved in a chemical experiment. He calls this monstrous perversion of sound reason, . a humble attempt to bring illustration from a department of science, on which, at present, much doubt and obscurity rest.' But if his principle be insecure, why build upon it a most complicated dogmatic system ? He was not called upon to do so, nor was he bound by any duty to desert the sober method of Induction. We must tell him, and tell bis readers, plainly, tbat he cannot desert bis fundamental organic globule; and if he cannot create it by purely physical means, his whole system is gone, and he has not so much as a mathematical point to rest his foot upon. His fundamental organic globule, and the petit corps gélatineux of his great archetype, Lamarck, are one and the same thing, without which the authors have not the semblance of a starting point. The theory of Lamarck, though baseless as
the fabric of a crazy dream, is better framed than the one before
It gives us, at least, a comprehensible cause of organic changes from one species to another; while our author talks only of development.-a word without sense or significance, if he fail to give us any material facts to gloss its meaning.
One example more, and we have done with our exhibition of the idiosyncrasies of his most imaginative mind, which seem to cheat his reason, to lead him by the ears, and to make him the dupe of idle sounds. He tells us, (p. 189,) with some detail, and great simplicity, tbat. Mr Weeks, by the action of a gal• vanic battery continued for eleven months, created a multitude
of insects, (Acurus Crossii,) minute and semi-transparent, and • furnished with long bristles.' The creatures thus created were sometimes observed to go back into the parent Auid, and occasionally they devoured each other; and, soon after they had been called to life, they were disposed to extend their species in the vulgar way! So much for the experiment; and let us next read the comment of our author. Toward the negative wire of the • battery, dipped in the puid, there gathered a quantity of gela
tinous matter--a part of the process which is very striking, • when we mention that gelatine is one of the proximate princi• ples, or first compounds, out of which animal bodies are • formed,' &c.
He cannot give up this experiment without burying his whole household ; for, in truth, it is the only prop on which he builds his habitation; and the stone jelly to feed his little larve is quite affecting. But in the third edition, (and in violation of his own positive principles,) he follows the lead of some hesitating critic, and adds, with graceful simplicity, that we should require • further proof to satisfy us that the matter here concerned was
actually gelatine.' We tell him not to doubt at all—that a few drops of acid, properly applied, will gelatinize some of our hardest minerals-and that rock jelly, floating in the liquor silicum, is an admirable compound for a young and tender stomach-that-rock 6 milk’ is one of the most vulgar substances wrung from nature's duys; and, in the shape of chalk infusion, has been drunk for ages by the whole race of crowing gallinaceous philosophers who were progressively developed in the central parts of our great southern capital ; nay, that the same fecundating compound has found its way to the west of Temple-Bar, and created by its animating power a celestial sky-blue philosophy, which is soon to fill the world with wonders. But we must leave these delightful visions of future good, and come back to the analysis of our author's mind.
If he be sometimes led astray by the ears, as we have shown, he is sometimes also cheated by his eyes—a vulgar error, it is true, but requiring from us a passing notice. We affirm, then, that he is sometimes led astray by the most puerile resemblances, (p. 160.) In the frozen vapour on the inside of a window he sees a vegetable form, (and what child has not done the same thing a hundred times before him ?) In the Arbor Diane of the chemist he sees a crystallization precisely resembling a shrub. In the brush produced by an electrical detonation, (we have ourselves seen one almost as big as a hearth-brush produced by Mr Crosse,) he sees the stem and branches of a forest-tree; and then he presumes to tell us, that we can here see the traces of secondary
means, by which the Almighty deviser might establish all the • vegetable forms with which the earth is overspread!' No one denies that the combination of chemical elements, and the crystalline forms mechanically resulting from it, are connected with electricity; and every one knows, that if the first attraction of the atoms be interrupted by a second set of disturbing forces, there will result a new set of crystalline forms, often arborescent, and always of extreme complication. The first set of forms can be anticipated, and their modifications submitted to geometrical rule. The second set are utterly beyond the reach of all analysis; and it is among them that creative fancy may take delight in conjuring up fantastical resemblances. An old woman may
see a shroud in a candle, or a coffin in a flake of soot; and every child will see steeples and houses, and the faces of its friends, in the flame of the fire or the vapour of the sky; and these unsubstantial fancies are every whit as real as the vegetable coatings and the forest-trees of our imaginative author. Comparisons of this kind are childish or superstitious-poetical, witty, or absurd -according to the manner in which we use them ; but we are certain that they belong not to the stern realities of science. We believe that organic structure could not be matured without the presence of imponderable agents, such as heat, light, and electricity ; but we give no creative power to these agents, any more than we give creative power to the carbon and oxygen, and
, other vulgar constituents of our bodies. The frozen vapour on our window may imitate the outer forms of vegetable life, but it has neither organic structure nor any inner principle of reproduction; it grows by aggregation from without, by the simple apposition of new crystalline matter like that which was laid down before; but a true living vegetable rises from a germ, and is elaborated by an internal complicated organic and reproductive structure, fitted to the materials surrounding it, and acting on them by organic laws of endless complication.
To perceive resemblances is the habit of a child; and an excellent habit it is while kept in its proper place. To perceive the differences of things is another faculty, essential to advancing knowledge. These truths our author seems neither to have studied nor thought of; and the passages we have now referred to, if they prove nothing else, at least prove this—that
, he has a mind unfitted for the comprehension of the severer lessons of science; and that by no effort will he be ever able to write a system of philosophy which will be fit to advance the cause of material truth, or give a rational interpretation of what has been done by the labours of other men.
While on the philosophy of resemblances, we may say a few words of the systems of arrangement in Natural History, and es. pecially of the vertebrate classes. These classes are formed on one harmonious plan, so that they may be readily brought under a general comparison, and all their nobler organs described under common names. Each animal is perfect of its kind ; and its parts are so related and fitted to one another, that the existence of one part (when thoroughly understood) implies the existence of all the rest, under the rigid government of a positive organic law. A naturalist may, therefore, start almost from any point he pleases, and reason consistently through the whole structure of an animal to all its higher vital functions; and he may go on from animal to animal, till he has arranged them all in one con