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boundary-line between fact and dream, between terra firma and "airy
nothing." That which is first in Time has no necessary priority of rank
in the scale of truth and reality; and the later-found may well be the
greater existence and the more assured. If it is a development of
Faculty, and not of incapacity, which the theory provides, the process
must advance us into new light, and not withdraw us from clearer light
behind: and we have reason to confide in the freshest gleams and inmost
visions of to-day, and to discard whatever quenches and confuses them in
the vague and turbid beginnings of the Past. With what plea will you
exhort me, "If you would rid yourself of intellectual mysteries, come
with us, and see the stuff your thought is made of: if you would stand
free of ideal illusions, count with us the medullary waves that have run
together into the flood-tide of what you call your conscience: if you
would shake off superstition, look at the way in which the image of dead
men will hang about the fancy of a savage, or the personification of an
abstract quality imposes on the ignorance of simple times"? Is our
wisdom to be gathered by going back to the age before our errors? And
instead of consulting the maturity of thought, are we to peer into its
cradle and seek oracles in its infant cries? If the last appeal be to
the animal elements of experience, we can learn only by unlearning; and
by shutting one after another of the hundred ideal eyes of the finished
intellect, we shall have a chance of seeing and feeling things as they
are. If nothing is to be deemed true but what the pre-human apes saw,
then all the sciences must be illusory; with the suicidal result that,
with them, this doctrine of Evolution must vanish too. Or if, stopping
short of this extreme distrust of the acquired intuitions, you make a
reservation in favor of the new visions of the intellect, what right can
you show for discharging those of the conscience? The tacit assumption
therefore that you upset a super-sensual belief, by tracing the history
of its emergence among sensible conditions, is a groundless prejudice.

(2) Further, the question to be determined may be presented as a problem
in physiology, to be resolved by corresponding rules: What is the
_function_ of certain parts of our human constitution, viz., the Reason
and the Moral Faculty? Now it is a recognized principle that, in
estimating function, you must study the organ, not in its rudimentary
condition, before it has disengaged itself from adjacent admixtures and
flung off the foreign elements, but in its perfect or differentiated
state, so as to do its own work and nothing else. In order to give the
idea of a timepiece to one who had it not, you would not send him to one
of the curious mediæval clocks which could play a tune, and fire a gun,
and announce the sunrise, and mark the tides, and report twenty
miscellaneous things besides; but to the modern chronometer, simple and
complete, that, telling only the moment, tells it perfectly. And in
natural organizations, to learn the capabilities and project of any
structure, you would not resort to the embryo where it is forming but
not working: you would wait till it was born into the full presence of
the elements with which it had to deal; not till then could you see how
they played upon it, and what was its response to them. In conformity
with this rule, whither would you betake yourself, if you want to
measure the intrinsic competency of our intellectual faculty, and
determine what its very nature gives it to know? Would you take counsel
of the nurse who held you "when you first opened your eyes to the
light,"[10] or otherwise study "the first consciousness in any infant,"
"before the time when memory commences,"[11] and disregard every thing
"subsequent to the first beginnings of intellectual life"?[12] On the
contrary, you would avoid that soft inchoate promise of nature, only
nominally born, where the very structures of its finer work have not yet
set into their distinctive consistency and form; and will hold your
peace till the faculty is awake and on its feet, and can clearly tell
you what it sees for itself, and what it makes out at second-hand: just
as, to gauge the lunar light, you must have patience while the thin
crescent grows, and wait till the full orb is there. Still less can you
take the report of the Moral Faculty from the confessions of the cradle,
or from the quarrels and affections of the apes; the conditions being
not yet present for the bare conception of a moral problem. The most
that can be asked of an intuition is, that it shall keep pace with the
cases as they arise, and be on the spot when it is wanted; and if you
would know what provision our nature holds for dealing with its Duty and
interpreting its guilt, you must go into the thick of its moral life,
and bid it tell you what it sees from the swaying tides of temptation
and of victory. The "purity" of intuitions is not "pristine," but
ultimate; cleared at length from accidental and irrelevant dilutions,
and with essence definitely crystallized, they realize and exhibit the
idea that lay at the heart of all their tentatives, and constitutes
their truth. Am I told that it is hopeless at so late an hour to
separate what is an indigenous gift from what is implanted by education?
I reply, it no doubt requires, but it will not baffle, the hand of
skilled analysis; it is a difficulty which, in other cases, we find it
not impossible to overcome; for there are assuredly instincts and
affections, strictly original and natural, that make no sign and play no
part till our maturer years, yet which are readily distinguished from
the products of artificial culture.

[Footnote 10: Mill's Examination of Hamilton, 3d ed. p. 172.]

[Footnote 11: Ibid.]

[Footnote 12: Ibid., p. 160.]

If, to find the functions of our higher faculties, we must look to their
last stage, and not to their first, we at once recover and justify the
ideal conceptions which the expositors of Evolution are accustomed to
disparage as romance. For among these functions are present certain
Intuitive beliefs - for the Reason, in Divine Causality; for the
Conscience, in Divine Authority; together blending into the knowledge of
a Supreme and Holy Mind. These august apprehensions we are entitled to
declare are not the illusions, but the discoveries, of Man; who, by
rising into them, is born into more of the Universe of things than any
other being upon earth, and is made conscious of its transcendent and
ultimate realities. If these trusts are indeed the growth of ages, from
seeds invisibly dropped upon the field of time, be it so; it was not
without hand: there was _a Sower_ that went forth to sow.

II. We turn now to the Second Form of doubt raised by the doctrine of
Evolution: under which it weakens our objective trust in an originating
Mind.

A naturalist who to his own satisfaction has traced the pedigree of the
human intellect, conscience, and religion, to Ascidian skin-bags
sticking to the sea-side rocks, is not likely to arrest the genealogy
there, at a stage so little fitted to serve as a starting-point of
derivative being. Or, if his own retreat should go no further, others
will take up the regressive race, and, soon passing the near and easy
line into the vegetable kingdom, will work through its provinces to its
lichen-spotted edge: and, after perhaps one shrinking look, will dare
the leap into the dead realm beyond, and bring home the parentage of all
to the primitive elements of "matter and force." To give effect to this
extension over the universe at large of the theory of Evolution, the
scientific imagination of our day has long been meditating its projected
book of Genesis, and has already thrown out its special chapters here
and there; and though the scenes of the drama as a whole are not yet
arranged, the general plan is clear: that the Lucretian method is the
true one; that nothing arises for a purpose, but only from a power; that
no Divine Actor therefore is required, but only atoms extended,
resisting, shaped, with spheres of mutual attraction and repulsion;
that, with these _minima_ to begin with, a growth will follow of itself
by which the _maxima_ will be reached; and that thus far the chief and
latest thing it has done is the apparition of Mind in the human race and
civilization in human society, conferring upon man the melancholy
privilege of being, so far as he knows, at the summit of the universe.

The main support of this doctrine is found in two arguments, supplied
respectively by physical science and by natural history; each of which
we will pass under review.

i. The former relies on the new scientific conception of the _Unity of
Force_. When Newton established the composition of Light in his treatise
on Optics, and the law of Gravitation in his Principia, he conceived
himself to be treating of two separate powers of nature, between which,
quick as he was to seize unexpected relations, he dreamt of no
interchange. Yet now it is understood that when collisions occur of
bodies gravitating on opposite lines, the momenta that seem to be killed
simply burst into light and heat. When Priestley's experiments detected
the most important chemical element on the one hand, and the fundamental
electrical laws on the other, he seemed to move on paths of research
that had no contact. Yet, in the next generation, chemical compounds
were resolved by electricity; which again turns up in exchange for
magnetism, and can pass into motion, heat, and light. To see the
transmigration of natural agency, trace only through a few of its links
the effect of the sunshine on the tropic seas. So far as it warms the
mass of waters, either directly or through the scorched shores that they
wash, it stirs them into shifting layers and currents, and creates
_mechanical_ power. But it also removes the superficial film; and thus
far spends itself, not in raising the temperature, but in changing the
form from liquid to vapor, and so altering the specific gravity as to
transfer what was on the deep to the level of the mountain-tops. It is
the Pacific that climbs and crowns the Andes, resuming on the way the
liquid state in the shape of clouds, and as it settles crystallizing
into solid snow and ice. The original set of solar rays have now played
their part, and made their escape elsewhere. But there is sunshine among
the glaciers too, which soon begins to resolve the knot that has been
tied, and restore what has been stolen. It sets free the waters that
have been locked up, and lets their gravitation have its play upon their
flow. As they dash through ravines, or linger in the plains, they steal
into the roots of grass and tree, and by the tribute which they leave
pass into the new shape of _vital_ force. And if they pass the
homesteads of industry, and raise the food of a civilized people, who
can deny that they contribute not only to the organic, but to the
_mental_ life, and so have run the whole circuit from the lowest to the
highest phase of power? That the return back may be traced from the
highest to the lowest, is shown by every effort of thought and will;
which through the medium of nervous energy in one direction sets in
action the levers of the limbs, and in another works the laboratory of
the organic life, and forms new chemical compounds, of which some are
reserved for use, while others pass into the air as waste. Still
further: all doubt of identity in the force which masks itself in these
various shapes is said to be removed by the test of direct measurement
before and after the change. The heating of a pound of water by one
degree has its exact mechanical equivalent;[13] and a given store of
elevated temperature will overcome the same weights, whether applied
directly to lift them, or turned first into a thermo-electric current,
so as to perform its task by deputy.[14] The inference drawn from the
phenomena of which these are samples is no less than this: that each
kind of force is convertible into any other, and undergoes neither gain
nor loss upon the way; so that the sum-total remains for ever the same,
and is only differently represented as the proportions change amongst
the different forms of life, and between the organic and the inorganic
realms. Hence arises the argument that, in having _any_ force, you have
virtually _all_; and that, assuming only material atoms as depositories
of mechanical resistance and momentum, you can supply a universe with an
exhaustive cosmogony, and dispense with the presence of Mind, except as
one of its phenomena.

[Footnote 13: Viz., the fall of 772 lbs. through a foot. See Mr. Joule's
Experiments in Grove's Correlation of Physical Forces, p. 34, 5th ed.]

[Footnote 14: See Grove's Correlation, p. 255, 5th ed.]

To test this argument, let us grant the data which are demanded, and
imagine the primordial space charged with matter, in molecules or in
masses, in motion or rest, as you may prefer. Put it under the law of
gravitation, and invest it with what varieties you please of density and
form. Thus constituted, it perfectly fulfils all the conditions you have
asked; it presses, it moves, it propagates and distributes impulse, is
liable to acceleration and retardation, and exhibits all the phenomena
with which any treatise on Mechanics can properly deal. In order,
however, to keep the problem clear within its limits, let us have it in
the simplest form, and conceive the atoms to be all of _gold_; then, I
would fain learn by what step the hypothesis proposes to effect its
passage to the _chemical_ forces and their innumerable results. _Heat_
it may manage to reach by the friction and compression of the materials
at its disposal; and its metal universe may thus have its solid, liquid,
and gaseous provinces; but, beyond these varieties, its homogeneous
particles cannot advance the history one hair's breadth through an
eternity. It is not true, then, that the conditions which give the first
type of force suffice to promote it to the second; and in order to start
the world on its chemical career, you must enlarge its capital and
present it with an outfit of _heterogeneous_ constituents. Try,
therefore, the effect of such a gift; fling into the pre-existing
caldron the whole list of recognized elementary substances, and give
leave to their affinities to work: we immediately gain an immense
accession to our materials for the architecture and resources for the
changes of the world, - the water and the air, the salts of the ocean,
and the earthy or rocky compounds that compose the crust of the globe,
and the variable states of magnetism and heat, which throw the
combinations into slow though constant change. But with all your
enlargement of data, turn them as you will, at the end of every passage
which they explore, the _door of life_ is closed against them still; and
though more than once it has been proclaimed that a way has been found
through, it has proved that the living thing was on the wrong side to
begin with. It is not true, therefore, that, from the two earlier stages
of force, the ascent can be made to the vital level; the ethereal fire
yet remains in Heaven; and philosophy has not stretched forth the
Promethean arm that can bring it down. And if, once more, we make you a
present of this third phase of power, and place at your disposal all
that is contained beneath and within the flora of the world, still your
problem is no easier than before; you cannot take a single step towards
the deduction of sensation and thought: neither at the upper limit do
the highest plants (the exogens) transcend themselves and overbalance
into animal existence; nor at the lower, grope as you may among the
sea-weeds and sponges, can you persuade the sporules of the one to
develop into the other. It is again not true, therefore, that, in virtue
of the convertibility of force, the possession of any is the possession
of the whole: we give you all the forms but one; and that one looks
calmly down on your busy evolutions, and remains inaccessible. Is, then,
the transmigration of forces altogether an illusion? By no means; but
before one can exchange with another, _both must be there_; and to turn
their equivalence into a universal formula, _all_ must be there. With
only one kind of elementary matter, there can be no chemistry; with
only the chemical elements and their laws, no life; with only vital
resources, as in the vegetable world, no beginning of mind. But let
Thought and Will with their conditions once be there, and they will
appropriate vital power; as life, once in possession, will ply the
alembics and the test-tubes of its organic laboratory; and chemical
affinity is no sooner on the field than it plays its game among the
cohesions of simple gravitation. Hence it is impossible to work the
theory of Evolution upwards from the bottom. If all force is to be
conceived as One, its type must be looked for in the highest and
all-comprehending term; and Mind must be conceived as there, and as
divesting itself of some specialty at each step of its descent to a
lower stratum of law, till represented at the base under the guise of
simple Dynamics. Or, if you retain the forces in their plurality, then
you must _assume_ them _all_ among your data, and confess, with one of
the greatest living expositors of the phenomena of Development, that
unless among your primordial elements you scatter already the germs of
mind as well as the inferior elements, the Evolution can never be
wrought out.[15] But surely a theory, which is content simply to assume
in the germ whatever it has to turn out full-grown, throws no very
brilliant light on the genesis of the Universe.

[Footnote 15: Lotze's Mikrokosmus, B. iv. Kap. 2, Band ii. 33, seqq.]

ii. The second and principal support of the doctrine under review is
found in the realm of natural history, and in that province of it which
is occupied by _living beings_. Here, it is said, in the field of
observation nearest to us, we have evidence of a power in each nature to
push itself and gain ground, as against all natures less favorably
constituted. There is left open to it a certain range of possible
variations from the type of its present individuals, of which it may
avail itself in any direction that may fortify its position; and even if
its own instincts did not seize at once the line of greatest strength,
still, out of its several tentatives, all the feeble results would fail
to win a footing, and only the residuary successes would make good their
ground. The ill-equipped troops of rival possibilities being always
routed, however often they return, the well-armed alone are seen upon
the field, and the world is in possession of "the fittest to live." We
thus obtain a principle of self-adjusting adaptation of each being to
its condition, without resorting to a designing care disposing of it
from without; and its development is an experimental escape from past
weakness, not a pre-conceived aim at a future perfection.

I have neither ability nor wish to criticise the particular indications
of this law, drawn with an admirable patience and breadth of research,
from every department of animated nature. Though the logical structure
of the proof does not seem to me particularly solid, and the
disproportion between the evidence and the conclusion is of necessity so
enormous as to carry us no further than the discussion of an hypothesis,
yet, for our present purpose, the thesis may pass as if established; and
our scrutiny may be directed only to its bearings, should it be true.

(1) The genius of a country which has been the birthplace and chief home
of Political Economy is naturally pleased by a theory of this kind;
which invests its favorite lord and master, _Competition_, with an
imperial crown and universal sway. But let us not deceive ourselves with
mere abstract words and abbreviations, as if they could reform a world
or even farm a sheep-walk. _Competition_ is not, like a primitive
function of nature, an independent and original power, which can of
itself do any thing: the term only describes a certain intensifying of
power already there; making the difference, under particular conditions,
between function latent and function exercised. It may therefore turn
the less into the more; and it is reasonable to attribute to it an
_increment_ to known and secured effects; but not new and unknown
effects, for which else there is no provision. It gives but a partial
and superficial account of the phenomena with which it has concern; of
their degree; of their incidence here or there; of their occurrence now
or then: of themselves in their characteristics it pre-supposes, and
does not supply, the cause. To that cause, then, let us turn. Let us
consider what must be upon the field, before competition can arise.

(2) It cannot act except in the presence of some _possibility of a
better or worse_. A struggle out of relative disadvantage implies that a
relative advantage is within grasp, - that there is a prize of promotion
offered for the contest. The rivalry of beings eager for it is but an
instrument for _making the best of things_; and only when flung into the
midst of an indeterminate variety of alternative conditions can it find
any scope. When it gets there and falls to work, what does it help us to
account for? It accounts certainly for the triumph and _survivorship of
the better_, but not for there _being a better to survive_. _Given_, the
slow and the swift upon the same course, it makes it clear that the race
will be to the swift; but it does not provide the fleeter feet by which
the standard of speed is raised. Nay more; even for the prevalence of
the better ("or fitter to live") it would not account, except on the
assumption that whatever is _better_ is _stronger_ too; and a universe
in which this rule holds already indicates its divine constitution, and
is pervaded by an ideal power unapproached by the forces of necessity.
Thus the law of "natural selection," instead of dispensing with anterior
causation and enabling the animal races to be their own Providence and
do all their own work, distinctly testifies to a constitution of the
world pre-arranged for progress, externally spread with large choice of
conditions, and with internal provisions for seizing and realizing the
best. On such a world, rich in open possibilities, of beauty, strength,
affection, intellect, and character, they are planted and set free;
charged with instincts eagerly urging them to secure the preferable line
of each alternative; and disposing themselves, by the very conditions of
equilibrium, into a natural hierarchy, in which the worthiest to live
are in the ascendant, and the standard of life is for ever rising. What
can look more like the field of a directing Will intent upon the good?
Indeed, the doctrine of "natural selection" owes a large part of its
verisimilitude to its skilful imitation of the conditions and method of
Free-will; - the indeterminate varieties of possible movement; the
presentation of these before a selective power; the determination of the
problem by fitness for preference, - all these are features that would
belong no less to the administration of a presiding Mind; and that,
instead of resorting for the last solution to this high arbitrament, men
of science should suppose it to be blindly fought out by the competing
creatures, as if they were supreme, is one of the marvels which the
professional intellect, whatever its department, more often exhibits
than explains.

(3) But, before competition can arise, there must be, besides the field
of favorable possibility, _desire or instinct_ to lay hold of its
opportunities. Here it is that we touch the real dynamics of evolution,
which rivalry can only bring to a somewhat higher pitch. Here, it must
be admitted, there is at work a genuine principle of progression, the
limits of which it is difficult to fix. Every being which is so far
individuated as to be a separate centre of sensation, and of the
balancing active spontaneity, is endowed with a self-asserting power,
capable, on the field already supposed, of becoming a self-advancing
power. Under its operation, there is no doubt, increasing
differentiation of structure and refinement of function may be expected
to emerge; nor is there any reason, except such as the facts of natural
history may impose, why this process should be arrested at the
boundaries of the species recognized in our present classifications.
Possibly, if the slow increments of complexity in the organs of sentient
beings on the globe were all mapped out before us, the whole teeming


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