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by the most scrupulous care. Although capable of being domesticated they cease to multiply under his dominion-the race retains its own specific characters, which exhibit no tendency to modification. There are docility and submission to man, but there is no plasticity in the formation of the tissues and organs. An alteration of conditions will cause a more rapid extinction of the race, not a modification in its specific characters.

How many existing animals have no ancient representatives, and how

many extinct creatures are without a modern parallel! Although some beings now on our planet are more highly organized than those which held sway in remote ages, thousands of species indicate a fall. ing off, while in thousands the degree of organization is as nearly as possible the same. Nor must it be supposed that extinct animals exhibited less complexity or perfection of structure than creatures now living. The muscular fibre of extinct insects and crustaceans was as beautiful and elaborate a tissue as that of modern flies and shrimps ; its action was as rapid, its response to the mandates of the will of the animal as immediate and as marvellous. There is no reason for supposing that the cells of fossil fungi could have displayed a type of structure more simple than can be seen under our microscopes in these days; or that they grew on a different principle, decomposed the constituents of their pabulum, and rearranged them to form their own tissues differently to fungi now living.

The beings of ancient epochs exhibited no coarseness of structure or roughness of build any more than those of modern times. They were in every respect as perfect, though we are inclined to place certain examples in a lower grade or scale. Nor can those early periods of the world's history claim exclusively as their own the most gigantic of created beings, for our whales are far larger than any preexisting creatures of which any remains have been found, although it is certainly true that in our days the number of small species greatly preponderates. It has, however, recently been well observed by Professor Owen, that in a time of famine the smaller species would be very advantageously placed in comparison with the more gigantic members of the race, which would require many times the quantity of food for their daily sustenance. The last might be altogether destroyed, while many members of the first would outlive the time of scarcity. So that it is reasonable, in endeavouring to explain the fact of the preponderance of small species, to conclude that the continuance of small and the extinction of the larger species, are due to some such causes as the above; and it is quite unnecessary to resort to the gratuitous hypothesis that the former are the descendants of the latter.

The primæval monad is supposed to have had the same characters as the existing monad, but it must have possessed greater plastic

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power, since there is no indication of the supposed capability of change in its descendants now in existence. It is a mere gratuitous hypothesis to assume that such ancient monads were capable of being altered by a change in conditions, while the possibility of change is denied to their descendants.

It has been already shown that many anatomical facts are opposed to Mr. Darwin's theory, and indicate that certain essential characters are fixed and unalterable; while there are no good reasons for believing that those characters which are susceptible of modification are capable of being infinitely modified, as he maintains.

Chemical facts against Mr. Darwin's hypothesis.-There is another class of facts of a chemical nature which points strongly in favour of the doctrine of the permanence of species. Although certain definite compounds are described as being present in the corresponding tissues and fluids of species closely allied to each other, recent and more elaborate methods of analysis have brought to light well-marked and striking differences, so that we might arrange certain compounds together in

groups, and each group would contain a number of bodies very much resembling each other, but nevertheless exhibiting certain well-marked differences. For example, we have many different kinds of albumen. The albumen of blood is different from that of the egg, and both differ from certain forms of albumen present in the fluids of the lower animals. In diseased growths, also, we find albumen differing from that which exists in the blood. The milk of different species of animals differs in composition, and the same is true of the bile, saliva, gastric juice, and other secretions. But perhaps the most remarkable fact of this kind is one which has been recently made out with reference to the crystalline form assumed by the material of which the red blood corpuscles are composed. This substance may be obtained in the form of beautiful crystals, and the crystals are not always of the same form even in closely-allied species. For example, in three members of the class Rodentia, the rat, the guinea-pig, and the hamster, the crystalline substance assumes the very different forms of six-sided crystals in the first, tetrahedra in the second, and in the third, oblique rhomboidal crystals. These and a vast number of other facts that might be brought forward, appear to show that in each animal there are certain essential characters peculiar to it. The reader will perceive at once in how important a degree these matters bear on the question of species; and when such remarkable differences are observed in animals closely allied, he will pause before he concludes that they have a common parentage.

The zoologist may perceive but very slight differences between the rat and the guinea-pig, and may see no difficulty in concluding that both came originally from one stock. The microscopist, the chemist, and the physiologist may demonstrate individual peculiarities which had not been suspected by one who had confined himself to the study of general, and especially, external, characters alone.

Not possible to arrange the tissues of animals in a graduated scale of perfection.—Before we can discuss the question of the origin of species, we ought to be well acquainted not only with the external characters, the form of the bones and insertion of the muscles, the general anatomy of the viscera, etc., but we should have some information upon the changes occurring in the development of every tissue, the chemical characters of all the compounds in the body, and a general knowledge of the physiological actions taking place at every period of its life's history.

The whole question of the precise position a particular creature should оссиру in the scale of created beings is a most difficult one;

for when the different tissues of which the body of an animal is composed are examined, it is found that the most perfect textures are not necessarily associated with the highest organism. Nor is there any progressive advance to be noticed so far as tissues are concerned in the species of a class. The muscular system of a mouse, for example, is more perfect as an instrument than that of man. The individual fibres act more quickly, their movements are more perfect, they are more abundantly supplied with vessels and nerves, and in a given bulk a much greater number of distinct actions takes place. In some of the lowest organisms we have instruments more elaborate and far more minute than any in man. In comparing organs in different species of the lower with those of the higher animals, it would be quite impossible to place one above the other in the scale, although, taking the organisms as a whole, there would be no difficulty. In elaborateness and minuteness of detail, and in complexity of arrangement and perfection of action, no gradual advance is to be made out, but each organ is perfect for the work that is required of it; and the structure of the tissues of some of the lower animals is, from their extreme delicacy and minuteness, far more difficult of investigation than those of man and the higher animals.

There are certainly no progressive advances towards perfection to be made out in the tissues as we pass from the lower to the highest species of a class. If the progressive modifications supposed really existed, we ought to find gradually increasing complexity; but the structure of the organs of an insect, or of a mollusc for example, is as elaborate and perfect as that of the organs of man. The organs of each species exhibit well-defined peculiarities of structure. They pass through various phases in their development, and in a definite period of time; but the character of the stages and the time occupied, though constant in the same species, are different in different species, and the difference cannot be attributed to the size of the animal, nor does it depend upon

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THOMAS A BECKET.

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the position in the animal scale it is at length to occupy. These constant phenomena seem to point to the existence of essential characters persistent in the particular species, which are part of the attributes with which it was endowed at its first creation.

Thus we see that the facts brought forward in favour of the view of the transmutation of species are more than counterbalanced by another series of facts, which point most clearly to the existence of fixed and unalterable characters.

Varieties, but not species, result from the operation of the law of natural selection.—The truth seems to be that by external agencies, temperature, food, and the like, certain changes are effected, and by the operation of the process of natural selection these modifications may be transmitted through many generations, but there is no evidence that, having commenced, these changes may go on without limit. On the contrary, the changes which do occur are very limited, both as to their nature and as to their persistence, and there still remain certain essential characters and endowments which seem to belong to the very nature of the creature.

It has been shown that many very different classes of familiar facts are utterly opposed to the assertion that all existing living beings have descended from one or many simple primitive forms. Nor is there evidence that by natural selection any species have been produced, although many varieties may have resulted from the operation of this law.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THOMAS A BECKET.

PART 1.-FROM HIS BIRTH TO THE COUNCIL OF CLARENDON.

MATTHEW PARIS, when alluding to Pope Adrian IV. (Nicholas Breakspeare), tells us that “an English beggar bestowed Ireland by his sole authority on an English king.” This saying of a well-known chronicler has encouraged the popular idea that Norman England was generally subservient to the Papal power; but if we examine history, we shall find that in reality the policy of the early Norman sovereigns of England was that of resistance to the encroachments of Rome. William the Conqueror made it his boast, “that he would keep all religious staves in his own hands;" and he wrote to Pope Gregory VII.,

that he would not do fealty” to him on two grounds; 1. Because he had never promised it;” and 2. “Because he did not find that his predecessors had performed it:" and though William Rufus, his successor, complicated ecclesiastical matters somewhat more, and Stephen

conceded largely to the spiritualty in order to conciliate their aid against his rival, the Empress Matilda, Henry II., in the early part of his reign, “disclaimed all the authority of the Pope, refused to pay Peter

pence, and interdicted all appeals to Rome.” The time was at hand now, however, when the proud spirit of this first Royal Plantagenet was to be humbled, and the crown was to succumb for a time to the tiara !

The great instrument in bringing about this humiliation to the throne, and this cloud upon the faith of England, was Thomas à Becket!

The history of this remarkable man, who has been in turn condemned as a contumacious rebel, and canonized as a holy saint, deserves to be traced through his parentage, which, if the legends of intermediate times are to be trusted, was as strange as his subsequent career.

His father, Gilbert Beck, of London-some speak of him as sheriff of the city-lived in the time of Henry I., and being a youth of fair person and a bold spirit, succeeded so far in overcoming the prejudice against his Saxon descent, as to gain the regard of the Norman lords of England. To one of these he attached himself as esquire, or military retainer, and followed him abroad in the early crusades. His career met with a serious check, however, for he was taken prisoner, and fell into the hands of a Saracen chief, who enslaved and imprisoned him; but Love opened the prison that Hate had closed; and the beautiful daughter of his heathen lord, enamoured of the Christian captive, found a means for his escape.

He returned to England : and now the most remarkable part of the tale commences. The dark beauty had learned two words, and two words only, of her Christian lover's language; she knew that his name was Gilbert, and that his abode was London ; by repetition of the latter word she found her way to England and its metropolis; when there, by repetition of the former word, she at length found him of whom she had been in search! Her persevering affection was rewarded by an union with Gilbert, after being baptized into the Christian faith by the name of Matilda (probably in compliment to the wife or daughter of the king), and the fruit of this marriage was a son, who, after the fashion of double names, then recently introduced by the Normans, was called Thomas Becket.

The incident was versified at the timc, and chronicled in the ballads of the period. Two versions at least of the poem have come down to our own days, and are quoted in the pièces justificatives appended to Thierry's "History of the Norman Conquest.”

And now that we have come to the birth of the hero of our history, let us pause awhile to examine the position of public affairs before he enters upon

the scene.

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