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IN the lecture which I delivered last Monday evening, I endeavoured to sketch in a very brief manner, but as well as the time at my disposal would permit, the present condition of organic nature, meaning by that large title simply an indication of the great, broad, and general principles which are to be discovered by those who look attentively at the phenomena of organic nature as at present displayed.... more...

by: Anonymous
CHAPTER I. Dew, Water, Rain, Snow, Hail, Atmosphere, Wind, Lightning, Thunder, Electricity, Twilight, and the Aurora Borealis. What is Dew? Moisture collected from the atmosphere by the action of cold. During the day, the powerful heat of the sun causes to arise from the earth and water a moist vapor, which, after the sun sinks below the horizon, is condensed by the cold, and falls in the form of dew.... more...

The inquiry which we undertook, at our last meeting, into the state of our knowledge of the causes of the phenomena of organic nature,—of the past and of the present,—resolved itself into two subsidiary inquiries: the first was, whether we know anything, either historically or experimentally, of the mode of origin of living beings; the second subsidiary inquiry was, whether, granting the origin, we... more...

INTRODUCTORY To the following Treatise. O give the Reader an account, Why the following Treatise is suffer’d to pass abroad so maim’d and imperfect, I must inform him that ’tis now long since, that to gratify an ingenious Gentleman, I set down some of the Reasons that kept me from fully acquiescing either in the Peripatetical, or in the Chymical Doctrine, of the Material Principles of mixt Bodies.... more...

INTRODUCTION We know, both by tradition and published records, that from the earliest times the faint grey and light spots which diversify the face of our satellite excited the wonder and stimulated the curiosity of mankind, giving rise to suppositions more or less crude and erroneous as to their actual nature and significance. It is true that Anaxagoras, five centuries before our era, and probably... more...

CHAPTER I. EARLY OBSERVERS OF MARS. Few persons except astronomers fully realise that of all the planets of the Solar system the only one whose solid surface has been seen with certainty is Mars; and, very fortunately, that is also the only one which is sufficiently near to us for the physical features of the surface to be determined with any accuracy, even if we could see it in the other planets. Of... more...

In the two preceding lectures I have endeavoured to indicate to you the extent of the subject-matter of the inquiry upon which we are engaged; and now, having thus acquired some conception of the Past and Present phenomena of Organic Nature, I must now turn to that which constitutes the great problem which we have set before ourselves;—I mean, the question of what knowledge we have of the causes of... more...

CHAPTER I A DAY IN THE OBERLAND I am writing in early September from Interlaken, one of the loveliest spots in Europe when blessed with a full blaze of sunlight and only a few high-floating clouds, but absolutely detestable in dull, rainy weather, losing its beauty as the fairy scenes of a theatre do when viewed by dreary daylight. It is the case of the little girl of whom it is recorded that "When... more...

INTRODUCTORY. The problem of the genesis of species stated.—Nature of its probable solution.—Importance of the question.—Position here defended.—Statement of the Darwinian Theory.—Its applicability to details of geographical distribution; to rudimentary structures; to homology; to mimicry, &c.—Consequent utility of the theory.—Its wide acceptance.—Reasons for this, other than, and... more...

PREFACE. My warmest thanks are due to Mr. Francis Darwin, to Mr. E. B. Poulton (whose interest in the subject here discussed is shown by his share in the translation of Weismann's Essays on Heredity), and to Professor Romanes, for the help afforded by their kindly suggestions and criticisms, and for the advice and recommendation under which this essay is now published. Encouragement from Mr.... more...