Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/785

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

and occupying a sphere of vital activity immeasurably superior to the dull existence passed by its four-gilled ancestors on the ocean-bed. The shell degenerates more and more as the cuttle-fish race rises on its own branch of the animal tree. Development in numbers succeeds individual advance. The cephalopod tribes of to-day dawn fuller and fuller as the Tertiary period progresses. Thus the fullness of cuttle-fish life to-day, exhibited in all its strange weirdness, is interwoven, like the lines of human history itself, with the warp and woof of the past. And not the least important clew to the history of that past is found in the apparently insignificant "shell" we have discussed; since in its mere degeneracy it leads us backward in an instructive glance to those early times when the chief branches on life's tree had not reached their full fruition, and to the days when the world itself was young.


IN the "Reminiscences, chiefly of Oriel College," by the Rev. Thomas Mozley, there occurs on page 1-16, vol. i, the following passage:

I had indulged from my boyhood in a Darwinian dream of moral philosophy, derived in the first instance from one of my early instructors. This was Mr. George Spencer, [honorary] Secretary of the Derby Philosophical Association, founded by Dr. Darwin,[1] and father of Mr. Herbert Spencer. My dream had a certain family resemblance to the "System of Philosophy" bearing that writer's name. There was an important and saving difference between the two systems, between that which never saw the light, and perished before it was born, without even coming to wither like grass on the house-tops, and that other imposing system which occupies several yards of shelf in most public libraries. The latter makes the world of life, as we see, and take part in it, the present outcome of a continual outcoming from atoms, lichens, and vegetables, bound by the necessities of existence to mutual relations, up to or down to brutes, savages, ladies and gentlemen, inheriting various opinions, maxims, and superstitions. The brother and elder philosophy, for such it was, that is mine, saved itself from birth by its palpable inconsistency, for it retained a divine original and some other incongruous elements. In particular, instead of rating the patriarchal stage hardly above the brute, it assigned to that state of society a heavenly source, and described it as rather a model for English country gentlemen—that is, upon the whole, and with certain reservations.

As I find, by inquiring of those who have read it, this passage leaves the impression that the doctrines set forth in the "System of

  1. It was more than a dozen years after Dr. Darwin's death in 1802 when my father became honorary secretary. I believe my father (who was twelve years old when Dr. Darwin died) never saw him, and, so far as I know, knew nothing of his ideas.