Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/134

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public would mutter is not much to the point, but it would hardly be the word "evolution." Prof. Pearson, however, in an article already alluded to, furnishes plausible reason, as other writers before him have done, for holding that "evolution" might be a very pertinent word not to mutter, but to utter, in connection with the very question his lordship had in view, and certainly a better word than "design." Lord Salisbury says that, although it is not easy to give a precise logical reason for the feeling, still the feeling is irresistible, that there can not really be sixtyfive primordial bodies, but that the facts as cognized by us to-day conceal some much simpler condition of things. Why? If, when we are confronted with the difficulties which beset the origin of species, our duty is to fall back upon the doctrine of design, why should we not equally fall back on that doctrine when confronted with a seemingly ridiculous number of elements? It is very difficult to see why dogma should interfere to cut off one line of investigation and not another. Is it because Lord Salisbury is chiefly interested in physical studies that he repudiates for them the fetters he is only too willing to impose on biology? It would almost 8eem so; but if he is not impious in wishing to free physics from all dogmatic entanglements, neither is the biologist who desires and claims as much for the study of his choice.

It is too late to try to turn men aside from the unfettered, unbiased pursuit of natural knowledge. The method that Lord Salisbury prescribes for the students of organic Nature has been abundantly tried in the past and been found abundantly unfruitful. The more excellent way which Darwin has shown has, according to Lord Salisbury's own confession, already fertilized wide fields of knowledge; and its impulse and efficacy are far as yet from being exhausted. Darwin never supposed that he had furnished a key to all the mysteries of organic Nature, nor do the wiser of his followers entertain any such notion to-day. If some are foolish enough to think so, they will become wiser in time; but better far is it to place undue faith in a definite physical principle than, abandoning the search for causes, to adopt an arbitrary and stereotyped explanation which raises a barrier to all further intellectual advance.


A Missouri paper of the "Populist" faith predicts that when the state assumes control of the railways—which it says is but a question of time and a very short time at that—"the employees will be well paid, and we will hear no more of strikes and boycotts, while the great mass of the people who patronize the roads will for the first time know how little it actually costs to transport persons, products, and intelligence." As an instance of how cheaply the Government can do things, it cites the fact that a newspaper publisher can send one hundred pounds weight of his papers all over the country by post, and have them delivered, say, to twelve hundred different persons, for one dollar—a charge, it goes on to say, which is found "ample to meet all expenses." It is a great pity that journals which profess to deal with facts, and especially those which, from a basis of supposed facts, venture to draw most important and sweeping conclusions, do not take a little more trouble to state things correctly. What evidence is there, we would ask, that one cent per pound postage on newspapers is a paying rate? It is not to be found in the Postmaster General's report, which shows for the year 1893 a deficit of $5,177,171 This deficit arises on the whole business of the Post Office, which includes the carrying of letters at the rate of about fifty cents a pound; so that, could this part of the business, which undoubtedly yields a profit, be separated from the carrying of inferior