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which is also a crustacean. So that you have all the Fauna reduced, at this period, to four forms: one a kind of animal or plant that we know nothing about, and three undoubted animals—two crustaceans and one mollusc. I think, considering the organisation of these mollusca and crustacea, and looking at their very complex nature, that it does indeed require a very strong imagination to conceive that these were the first created of all living things. And you must take into consideration the fact that we have not the slightest proof that these which we call the oldest beds are really so; I repeat, we have not the slightest proof of it. When you find in some places that in an enormous thickness of rocks there are but very scanty traces of life, or absolutely none at all; and that in other parts of the world rocks of the very same formation are crowded with the records of living forms, I think it is impossible to place any reliance on the supposition, or to feel one's self justified in supposing that these are the forms in which life first commenced. I have not time here to enter upon the technical grounds upon which I am led to this conclusion,-that could hardly be done properly in half a dozen lectures on that part alone: I must content myself with saying that I do not at all believe that these are the oldest forms of life. I turn to the experimental side to see what evidence we have there. To enable us to say that we know anything about the experimental origination of organisation and life, the investigator ought to be able to take inorganic matters, such as carbonic acid, ammonia, water, and salines, in any sort of inorganic combination, and be able to build them up into protein matter, and then that protein matter ought to begin to live in an organic form. That, nobody has done as yet, and I suspect it will be a long while before anybody does do it. But the thing is by no means so impossible as it looks; for the researches of modern chemistry have shown us—I won't say the road towards it, but, if I may so say, they have shown the finger-post pointing to the road that may lead to it, It is not many years ago—and you must recollect that Organic Chemistry is a young science, not above a couple of generations old, you must not expect too much of it, it is not many years ago since it was said to be perfectly impossible to fabricate any organic compound; that is to say, any non-mineral compound which is to be found in an organised being. It remained so for a very long period; but it is now a considerable number of years since a distinguished foreign chemist contrived to fabricate urea, a substance of a very complex character, which forms one of the waste products of animal structures. And of late years a number of other compounds, such as butyric acid, and others, have been added to the list. I need not tell you that chemistry is an enormous distance from the goal I indicate; all I wish to point out to you is that it is by no means safe to say that that goal may not be reached one day. It may be that it is impossible for us to produce the conditions requisite to the origination of life; but we must speak modestly about the matter, and recollect that Science has put her foot upon the bottom round of the ladder. Truly he would be a bold man who would venture to predict where she will be fifty years hence. There is another inquiry which bears indirectly upon this question, and upon which I must Say a few words. You are all of you aware of the phenomena of what is called Spontaneous generation. Our forefathers, down to the Seventeenth century, or thereabouts, all imagined, in perfectly good faith, that certain vegetable and animal forms gave birth, in the process of their decomposition, to insect life. Thus, if you put a piece of meat in the sun, and allowed it to putrefy, they conceived that the grubs which soon began to : appear were the result of the action of a power of Spontaneous generation which the meat contained. And they could give you receipts for making various animal and vegetable preparations which would produce particular kinds of animals. A very distinguished Italian naturalist, named Redi, took up the question, at a time when everybody

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believed in it; among others our own great Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood. You will constantly find his name quoted, however, as an opponent of the doctrine of spontaneous generation; but the fact is, and you will see it if you will take the trouble to look into his works, Harvey believed it as profoundly as any man of his time; but he happened to enunciate a very curious proposition—that every living thing came from an egg; he did not mean to use the word in the sense in which we now employ it, he only meant to say that every living thing originated in a little rounded particle of organised substance; and it is from this circumstance, probably, that the notion of Harvey having opposed the doctrine originated. Then came Redi, and he proceeded to upset the doctrine in a very simple manner. He merely covered the piece of meat with some very fine gauze, and then he exposed it to the same conditions. The result of this was that no grubs or insects were produced; he proved that the grubs originated from the insects who came and deposited their eggs in the meat, and that they were hatched by the heat of the sun. By this kind of inquiry he thoroughly upset the doctrine of spontaneous generation, for his time at least. Then came the discovery and application of the microscope to scientific inquiries, which showed to naturalists that besides the organisms which they

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already knew as living beings and plants, there were an immense number of minute things which could be obtained apparently almost at will from decaying vegetable and animal forms. Thus, if you took some ordinary black pepper or some hay, and steeped it in water, you would find in the course of a few days that the water had become impregnated with an immense number of animalcules swimming about in all directions. From facts of this kind naturalists were led to revive the theory of spontaneous generation. They were headed here by an English naturalist,-Needham,_and afterwards in France by the learned Buffon. They said that these things were absolutely begotten in the water of the decaying substances out of which the infusion was made. It did not matter whether you took animal or vegetable matter, you had only to steep it in water and expose it, and you would soon have plenty of animalcules. They made an hypothesis about this which was a very fair one. They said, this matter of the animal world, or of the higher plants, appears to be dead, but in reality it has a sort of dim life about it, which, if it is placed under fair conditions, will cause it to break up into the forms of these little animalcules, and they will go through their lives in the same way as the animal or plant of which they once formed a part. The question now became very hotly debated. Spallanzani, an Italian naturalist, took up opposite

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