The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 54, April, 1862 online

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views, while they have ascribed to Species, as contrasted with the other
divisions, a more positive existence in Nature. No further argument
is needed to show that it is not only the Species that lives in the
individual, but that every individual, though belonging to a distinct
Species, is built upon a precise and definite plan which characterizes
its Branch, - that that plan is executed in each individual in a
particular way which characterizes its Class, - that every individual
with its kindred occupies a definite position in a series of structural
complications which characterizes its Order, - that in every individual
all these structural features are combined under a definite pattern of
form which characterizes its Family, - that every individual exhibits
structural details in the finish of its parts which characterize its
Genus, - and finally that every individual presents certain peculiarities
in the proportion of its parts, in its color, in its size, in its
relations to its fellow-beings and surrounding things, which constitute
its specific characters; and all this is repeated in the same kind of
combination, generation after generation, while the individuals die.
If we accept these propositions, which seem to me self-evident, it is
impossible to avoid the conclusion that Species do not exist in Nature
in any other sense than the more comprehensive groups of the zoological

There is one question respecting Species that gives rise to very earnest
discussions in our day, not only among naturalists, but among all
thinking people. How far are they permanent, and how far mutable? With
reference to the permanence of Species, there is much to be learned from
the geological phenomena that belong to our own period, and that bear
witness to the invariability of types during hundreds of thousands of
years at least. I hope to present a part of this evidence in a future
article upon Coral Reefs, but in the mean time I cannot leave this
subject without touching upon a point of which great use has been made
in recent discussions. I refer to the variability of Species as shown in

The domesticated animals with their numerous breeds are constantly
adduced as evidence of the changes which animals may undergo, and as
furnishing hints respecting the way in which the diversity now observed
among animals has already been produced. It is my conviction that such
inferences are in no way sustained by the facts of the case, and that,
however striking the differences may be between the breeds of our
domesticated animals, as compared with the wild Species of the same
Genus, they are of a peculiar character entirely distinct from those
that prevail among the latter, and are altogether incident to the
circumstances under which they occur. By this I do not mean the natural
action of physical conditions, but the more or less intelligent
direction of the circumstances under which they live. The inference
drawn from the varieties introduced among animals in a state of
domestication, with reference to the origin of Species, is usually this:
that what the farmer does on a small scale Nature may do on a large one.
It is true that man has been able to produce certain changes in the
animals under his care, and that these changes have resulted in a
variety of breeds. But in doing this, he has, in my estimation, in no
way altered the character of the Species, but has only developed its
pliability to the will of man, that is, to a power similar in its
nature and mode of action to that power to which animals owe their very
existence. The influence of man upon Animals is, in other words, the
action of mind upon them; and yet the ordinary mode of arguing upon
this subject is, that, because the intelligence of man has been able to
produce certain varieties in domesticated animals, therefore physical
causes have produced all the diversities among wild ones. Surely, the
sounder logic would be to infer, that, because our finite intelligence
can cause the original pattern to vary by some slight shades of
difference, therefore an infinite intelligence must have established
all the boundless diversity of which our boasted varieties are but the
faintest echo. It is the most intelligent farmer that has the greatest
success in improving his breeds; and if the animals he has so fostered
are left to themselves without that intelligent care, they return
to their normal condition. So with plants: the shrewd, observing,
thoughtful gardener will obtain many varieties from his flowers; but
those varieties will fade out, if left to themselves. There is, as it
were, a certain degree of pliability and docility in the organization
both of animals and plants, which may be developed by the fostering care
of man, and within which he can exercise a certain influence; but the
variations which he thus produces are of a peculiar kind, and do not
correspond to the differences of the wild Species. Let us take some
examples to illustrate this assertion.

Every Species of wild Bull differs from the others in its size; but
all the individuals correspond to the average standard of size
characteristic of their respective Species, and show none of those
extreme differences of size so remarkable among our domesticated
Cattle. Every Species of wild Bull has its peculiar color, and all the
individuals of one Species share in it: not so with our domesticated
Cattle, among which every individual may differ in color from every
other. All the individuals of the same Species of wild Bull agree in the
proportion of their parts, in the mode of growth of the hair, in its
quality, whether fine or soft: not so with our domesticated Cattle,
among which we find in the same Species overgrown and dwarfish
individuals, those with long and short legs, with slender and stout
build of the body, with horns or without, as well as the greatest
variety in the mode of twisting the horns, - in short, the widest
extremes of development which the degree of pliability in that Species
will allow.

A curious instance of the power of man, not only in developing the
pliability of an animal's organization, but in adapting it to suit his
own caprices, is that of the Golden Carp, so frequently seen in bowls
and tanks as the ornament of drawing-rooms and gardens. Not only an
infinite variety of spotted, striped, variegated colors has been
produced in these Fishes, but, especially among the Chinese, so famous
for their morbid love of whatever is distorted and warped from its
natural shape and appearance, all sorts of changes have been brought
about in this single Species. A book of Chinese paintings showing the
Golden Carp in its varieties represents some as short and stout,
others long and slender, - some with the ventral side swollen, others
hunch-backed, - some with the mouth greatly enlarged, while in others
the caudal fin, which in the normal condition of the Species is placed
vertically at the end of the tail and is forked like those of other
Fishes, has become crested and arched, or is double, or crooked, or has
swerved in some other way from its original pattern. But in all these
variations there is nothing which recalls the characteristic specific
differences among the representatives of the Carp Family, which in their
wild state are very monotonous in their appearance all the world over.

Were it appropriate to accumulate evidence here upon this subject, I
could bring forward many more examples quite as striking as those above
mentioned. The various breeds of our domesticated Horses present the
same kind of irregularities, and do not differ from each other in the
same way as the wild Species differ from one another. Or take the Genus
Dog: the differences between its wild Species do not correspond in the
least with the differences observed among the domesticated ones. Compare
the differences between the various kinds of Jackals and Wolves with
those that exist between the Bull-Dog and Greyhound, for instance, or
between the St. Charles and the Terrier, or between the Esquimaux and
the Newfoundland Dog. I need hardly add that what is true of the Horses,
the Cattle, the Dogs, is true also of the Donkey, the Goat, the Sheep,
the Pig, the Cat, the Rabbit, the different kinds of barn-yard fowl, - in
short, of all those animals that are in domesticity the chosen
companions of man.

In fact, all the variability among domesticated Species is due to the
fostering care, or, in its more extravagant freaks, to the fancies of
man, and it has never been observed in the wild Species, where, on
the contrary, everything shows the closest adherence to the distinct,
well-defined, and invariable limits of the Species. It surely does
not follow, that, because the Chinese can, under abnormal conditions,
produce a variety of fantastic shapes in the Golden Carp, therefore
water, or the physical conditions established in the water, can create a
Fish, any more than it follows, that, because they can dwarf a tree, or
alter its aspect by stunting its growth in one direction and forcing it
in another, therefore the earth, or the physical conditions connected
with their growth, can create a Pine, an Oak, a Birch, or a Maple.
I confess that in all the arguments derived from the phenomena of
domestication, to prove that all animals owe their origin and diversity
to the natural action of the conditions under which they live, the
conclusion does not seem to me to follow logically from the premises.
And the fact that the domesticated animals of all races of men, equally
with the white race, vary among themselves in the same way and differ
in the same way from the wild Species, makes it still more evident that
domesticated varieties do not explain the origin of Species, except, as
I have said, by showing that the intelligent will of man can produce
effects which physical causes have never been known to produce, and that
we must therefore look to some cause outside of Nature, corresponding in
kind, though so different in degree, to the intelligence of man, for
all the phenomena connected with the existence of animals in their wild
state. So far from attributing these original differences among animals
to natural influences, it would seem, that, while a certain freedom of
development is left, within the limits of which man can exercise his
intelligence and his ingenuity, not even this superficial influence is
allowed to physical conditions unaided by some guiding power, since in
their normal state the wild Species remain, so far as we have been able
to discover, entirely unchanged, - maintained, it is true, in their
integrity by the circumstances that were established for their support
by the power that created both, but never altered by them. Nature holds
inviolable the stamp that God has set upon his creatures; and if man
is able to influence their organization in some slight degree, it is
because the Creator has given to his relations with the animals he has
intended for his companions the same plasticity which he has allowed to
every other side of his life, in virtue of which he may in some sort
mould and shape it to his own ends, and be held responsible also for its

The common sense of a civilized community has already pointed out the
true distinction in applying another word to the discrimination of the
different kinds of domesticated animals. They are called Breeds, and
Breeds among animals are the work of man; - Species were created by God.

* * * * *


Many and many a year ago, -
To say how many I scarcely dare, -
Three of us stood in Strasburg streets,
In the wide and open square,
Where, quaint and old and touched with the gold
Of a summer morn, at stroke of noon
The tongue of the great Cathedral tolled,
And into the church with the crowd we strolled
To see their wonder, the famous Clock.
Well, my love, there are clocks a many,
As big as a house, as small as a penny;
And clocks there be with voices as queer
As any that torture human ear, -
Clocks that grunt, and clocks that growl,
That wheeze like a pump, and hoot like an owl,
From the coffin shape with its brooding face
That stands on the stair, (you know the place,)
Saying, "Click, cluck," like an ancient hen,
A-gathering the minutes home again,
To the kitchen knave with its wooden stutter,
Doing equal work with double splutter,
Yelping, "Click, clack," with a vulgar jerk,
As much as to say, "Just see me work!"

But of all the clocks that tell Time's bead-roll,
There are none like this in the old Cathedral;
Never a one so bids you stand
While it deals the minutes with even hand:
For clocks, like men, are better and worse,
And some you dote on, and some you curse;
And clock and man may have such a way
Of telling the truth that you can't say nay.

So in we went and stood in the crowd
To hear the old clock as it crooned aloud,
With sound and symbol, the only tongue
The maker taught it while yet 't was young.
And we saw Saint Peter clasp his hands,
And the cock crow hoarsely to all the lands,
And the Twelve Apostles come and go,
And the solemn Christ pass sadly and slow;
And strange that iron-legged procession,
And odd to us the whole impression,
As the crowd beneath, in silence pressing,
Bent to that cold mechanic blessing.

But I alone thought far in my soul
What a touch of genius was in the whole,
And felt how graceful had been the thought
Which for the signs of the months had sought,
Sweetest of symbols, Christ's chosen train;
And much I pondered, if he whose brain
Had builded this clock with labor and pain
Did only think, twelve months there are,
And the Bible twelve will fit to a hair;
Or did he say, with a heart in tune,
Well-loved John is the sign of June,
And changeful Peter hath April hours,
And Paul the stately, October bowers,
And sweet, or faithful, or bold, or strong,
Unto each one shall a month belong.

But beside the thought that under it lurks,
Pray, do you think clocks are saved by their works?


To win such love as Arthur Hugh Clough won in life, to leave so dear a
memory as he has left, is a happiness that falls to few men. In America,
as in England, his death is mourned by friends whose affection is better
than fame, and who in losing him have met with an irreparable loss.
Outside the circle of his friends his reputation had no large extent;
but though his writings are but little known by the great public of
readers, they are prized by all those of thoughtful and poetic temper
to whose hands they have come, as among the most precious and original
productions of the time. To those who knew him personally his poems had
a special worth and charm, as the sincere expression of a character of
the purest stamp, of rare truthfulness and simplicity, not less tender
than strong, and of a genius thoroughly individual in its form, and full
of the promise of a large career. He was by Nature endowed with subtile
and profound powers of thought, with feeling at once delicate and
intense, with lively and generous sympathies, and with conscientiousness
so acute as to pervade and control his whole intellectual disposition.
Loving, seeking, and holding fast to the truth, he despised all
falseness and affectation. With his serious and earnest thinking was
joined the play of a genial humor and the brightness of poetic fancy.
Liberal in sentiment, absolutely free from dogmatism and pride of
intellect, of a questioning temper, but of reverent spirit, faithful in
the performance not only of the larger duties, but also of the lesser
charities and the familiar courtesies of life, he has left a memory of
singular consistency, purity, and dignity. He lived to conscience, not
for show, and few men carry through life so white a soul.

A notice of Mr. Clough understood to be written by one who knew him well
gives the outline of his life.

"Arthur Hugh Clough was educated at Rugby, to which school he went
very young, soon after Dr. Arnold had been elected head-master. He
distinguished himself at once by gaining the only scholarship which
existed at that time, and which was open to the whole school under the
age of fourteen. Before he was sixteen he was at the head of the fifth
form, and, as that was the earliest age at which boys were then admitted
into the sixth, had to wait for a year before coming under the personal
tuition of the headmaster. He came in the next (school) generation to
Stanley and Vaughan, and gained a reputation, if possible, even greater
than theirs. At the yearly speeches, in the last year of his residence,
when the prizes are given away in the presence of the school and the
friends who gather on such occasions, Arnold took the almost unexampled
course of addressing him, (when he and two fags went up to carry off his
load of splendidly bound books,) and congratulating him on having
gained every honor which Rugby could bestow, and having also already
distinguished himself and done the highest credit to his school at the
University. He had just gained a scholarship at Balliol, then, as now,
the blue ribbon of undergraduates.

"At school, although before all things a student, he had thoroughly
entered into the life of the place, and before he left had gained
supreme influence with the boys. He was the leading contributor to the
'Rugby Magazine'; and though a weakness in his ankles prevented him from
taking a prominent part in the games of the place, was known as the
best goal-keeper on record, a reputation which no boy could have gained
without promptness and courage. He was also one of the best swimmers in
the school, his weakness of ankle being no drawback here, and in his
last half passed the crucial test of that day, by swimming from Swift's
(the bathing-place of the sixth) to the mill on the Leicester road, and
back again, between callings over.

"He went to reside at Oxford when the whole University was in a ferment.
The struggle of Alma Mater to humble or cast out the most remarkable
of her sons was at its height. Ward had not yet been arraigned for his
opinions, and was a fellow and tutor of Balliol, and Newman was in
residence at Oriel, and incumbent of St. Mary's.

"Clough's was a mind which, under any circumstances, would have thrown
itself into the deepest speculative thought of its time. He seems soon
to have passed through the mere ecclesiastical debatings to the deep
questions which lay below them. There was one lesson - probably one
only - which he had never been able to learn from his great master,
namely, to acknowledge that there are problems which intellectually are
not to be solved by man, and before these to sit down quietly. Whether
it were from the harass of thought on such matters which interfered with
his regular work, or from one of those strange miscarriages in the most
perfect of examining machines, which every now and then deprive the best
men of the highest honors, to the surprise of every one Clough missed
his first class. But he completely retrieved this academical mishap
shortly afterwards by gaining an Oriel fellowship. In his new college,
the college of Pusey, Newman, Keble, Marriott, Wilberforce, presided
over by Dr. Hawkins, and in which the influence of Whately, Davidson,
and Arnold had scarcely yet died out, he found himself in the very
centre and eye of the battle. His own convictions were by this time
leading him far away from both sides in the Oxford contest; he, however,
accepted a tutorship at the college, and all who had the privilege of
attending them will long remember his lectures on logic and ethics.
His fault (besides a shy and reserved manner) was that he was much too
long-suffering to youthful philosophic coxcombry, and would rather
encourage it by his gentle 'Ah! you think so?' or, 'Yes, but might not
such and such be the case?'"

Clough was at Oxford in 1847, - the year of the terrible Irish famine,
and with others of the most earnest men at the University he took part
in an association which had for its object "Retrenchment for the sake
of the Irish." Such a society was little likely to be popular with the
comfortable dignitaries or the luxurious youth of the University. Many
objections, frivolous or serious as the case might be, were raised
against so subversive a notion as that of the self-sacrifice of the rich
for the sake of the poor. Disregarding all personal considerations,
Clough printed a pamphlet entitled, "A Consideration of Objections
against the Retrenchment Association," in which he met the careless or
selfish arguments of those who set themselves against the efforts of
the society. It was a characteristic performance. His heart was deeply
stirred by the harsh contrast between the miseries of the Irish poor and
the wasteful extravagance of living prevalent at Oxford. He wrote with
vehement indignation against the selfish pleas of the indifferent and
the thoughtless possessors of wealth, wasters of the goods given them as
a trust for others. His words were chiefly addressed to the young men
at the University, - and they were not without effect. Such views of the
rights and duties of property as he put forward, of the claims of labor,
and of the responsibilities of the aristocracy, had not been often heard
at Oxford. He was called a Socialist and a Radical, but it mattered
little to him by what name he was known to those whose consciences were
not touched by his appeal. "Will you say," he writes toward the end of
this pamphlet, "this is all rhetoric and declamation? There is, I dare
say, something too much in that kind. What with criticizing style and
correcting exercises, we college tutors perhaps may be likely, in the
heat of composition, to lose sight of realities, and pass into the limbo
of the factitious, - especially when the thing must be done at odd times,
in any case, and, if at all, quickly. But if I have been obliged to
write hurriedly, believe me, I have obliged myself to think not hastily.
And believe me, too, though I have desired to succeed in putting vividly
and forcibly that which vividly and forcibly I felt and saw, still the
graces and splendors of composition were thoughts far less present to my
mind than Irish poor men's miseries, English poor men's hardships, and
your unthinking indifference. Shocking enough the first and the second,
almost more shocking the third."

It was about this time that the most widely known of his works, "The
Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich, a Long-Vacation Pastoral," was written. It
was published in 1848, and though it at once secured a circle of warm
admirers, and the edition was very soon exhausted, it "is assuredly
deserving of a far higher popularity than it has ever attained." The
poem was reprinted in America, at Cambridge, in 1849, and it may be
safely asserted that its merit was more deeply felt and more generously
acknowledged by American than by English readers. The fact that its
essential form and local coloring were purely and genuinely English, and
thus gratified the curiosity felt in this country concerning the social
habits and ways of life in the mother-land, while on the other hand its
spirit was in sympathy with the most liberal and progressive thought
of the age, may sufficiently account for its popularity here. But
the lovers of poetry found delight in it, apart from these
characteristics, - in its fresh descriptions of Nature, its healthy
manliness of tone, its scholarly construction, its lively humor, its
large thought quickened and deepened by the penetrating imagination of
the poet.

"Any one who has read it will acknowledge that a tutorship at Oriel was
not the place for the author. The intense love of freedom, the deep and
hearty sympathy with the foremost thought of the time, the humorous
dealing with old formulas and conventionalisms grown meaningless, which
breathe in every line of the 'Bothie,' show this clearly enough. He
would tell in after-life, with much enjoyment, how the dons of the
University, who, hearing that he had something in the press, and knowing
that his theological views were not wholly sound, were looking for a
publication on the Articles, were astounded by the appearance of that
fresh and frolicsome poem. Oxford (at least the Oriel common room)
and he were becoming more estranged daily. How keenly he felt the
estrangement, not from Oxford, but from old friends, about this time,
can be read only in his own words." It is in such poems as the "Qua
Cursum Ventus," or the sonnet beginning, "Well, well, - Heaven bless you

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Online LibraryVariousThe Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 54, April, 1862 → online text (page 10 of 21)