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THE problem of hereditary transmission, | pronounce the answers hitherto proposed physical and moral, although one of the deficient in the primary requisite of commost interesting of physiological problems, prehending all the phenomena. Neveris also one of the most baffling. În spite of theless, answers abound. Every cattleits obscurity, it fascinates the inquirer; per breeder, who rises to the height of a haps with all the greater force because of theory, has his theory on this complex its obscurity, for, as Spinoza truly says, matter, and acts upon it in the breeding men cease to admire that which they fancy of cattle and poultry. Every village gosthey understand : tum enim vulgus rem ali- sip, every Mrs. Gamp, has her facts and quam se satis intelligere existimat quum her opinions, which, in expansive moments, ipsam non admiratur. The question of she delivers with great confidence. Every hereditary influence has descended from physician has his theory, especially with antiquity incumbered with prejudices and reference to the transmission of disease. deceptive facts, which seem coercive and Even the man of letters is not without his conclusive, but were in truth only one-generalization on the transmission of sided; and incumbered still more with genius : “all men of genius,” he tells you, hypothesis. formed in ignorance of Na- have had remarkable mothers;' in supture's processes. It has reached us a port of which generalization he counts off problem still ; every scientific mind not upon his fingers the illustrations which ocprepossessed by an hypothesis, nor con- cur to him, perfectly heedless of the mass tent to disregard a mass of facts, must of cases in which the mothers have not
been remarkable. • Traité de l' Hérédité Naturelle dans les Etats de
The various theories imply variety of Santé et de Maladie du Système Nerveux. Par le Dr. interest in the question, and a practical Prosper Lucas. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1847-1850. need for the solution. A subject at once
On the Physiology of Breeding. Two Lectures de- so interesting and important may well kivered to the Newcastle Farmers' Club. Bv Reginald J..
-- - muv Jawu, vau resemble each other, are conveniently neither be transmuted nor maintained in
fixity. Only individuals exist; they ro
in a form intelligible to the general reader, the whole discussion of heritage must rest. and to clear up many misconceptions, The truth is this : Constancy in the transpopular and scientific, which at present ob- mission of structure and character from struct the question. The three works parent to offspring, is a law of Nature. placed at the head of this paper, with That this truth is not a truism we shall many others less directly bearing on the show by at once contradicting, or at least subject, will supply us with abundant facts, qualifying it. The very same experience and may be recommended to readers de- which guarantees the constancy, also sirous of pursuing the inquiry. Dr. Lucas teaches, and with almost equal emphasis, has in two bulky octavos gathered from that this constancy is not absolute. Variafar and wide a mass of material, good, tions occur. Children sometimes do not bad, and indifferent, with laudable dili- resemble their parents; which accounts gence, but with a want of discrimination for the exclamation of surprise when they not so laudable. He is erudite, but he has do resemble them. Nay, the children les défauts de sa qualité. His erudition is are sometimes not only unlike their pautterly uncritical; and yet it is obvious rents, they are, in important characteristhat the sole value of the cases collected tics, unlike their Species. We then call depends on their authenticity. It is the them Deformities or Monsters, because, common error of erudite men to imagine while their Species is distinguished by that quantity supplies the place of quality. having four legs, they themselves have six They fancy themselves rich when their or none; while their Species possesses a purses are filled with forged notes; and so complex brain, they are brainless, or have long as these notes are kept from presen- imperfect brains ; while their Species is tation at the Bank, their delusion is un- known by its cloven hoofs, they have solid troubled. Dr. Lucas has far too many of hoofs, and so on.* Dissemblances as great these notes in his purse : the reader must are observable in moral characteristics. take up his volumes with great caution. Mr. We see animals of ordinary aptitudes enOrton makes no such erudite display: bat gender offspring sometimes remarkable for he has collected some curious facts, both their fine qualities, and sometimes for their from his own experience and from the ex- imbecility. The savage wolf brings forth perience of other breeders. M. Girou is one occasionally a docile, amiable cub; the man of the authorities most frequently referred of genius owns a blockhead for his son. to by writers on this topic. To vast prac- In the same family we observe striking tical experience in cattle breeding he adds differences in stature, aspect, and disposivery considerable physiological knowledge tion. Brothers brought up together in the and force of intellect.
same nursery, and under the same tutor, Heritage (l'hérédité), or the transmis will differ as much from each other as sion of physical and mental qualities from they differ from the first person they meet. parents to offspring, is one of those gene- From Cain and Abel down to the brothers ral facts of Nature which lie patent to uni- Bonaparte, the striking opposition of chaversal observation. Children resemble racters in families has been a theme for their parents. Were this law not constant, rhetoric. Nor is this all. In cases where there could be no constancy of Species; the consanguinity may be said to be so the horse might engender an elephant, the much nearer than that of ordinary brothersquirrel might be the progeny of a lioness, hood, namely, in twins, we see the same the tadpole of a tapir. The law, however, diversity; and this diversity is exhibited is constant. During thousands of years in those rare cases where the twins have the offspring has continued to exhibit the only one body between them. The celestructure, the instincts, and all the charac-brated twins Rita and Christinat were so teristics of the parents. Every day some fused together, that they had only two one exclaims-as if the fact surprised him -"That boy is the very image of his
* "Flachsland rapporte que deux époux bien con father !" yet no one exclaims, “ How like
stitutés mirent au monde trois enfans sans avantthat pug dog is to its parent !” Boys or bras ni jambes ; d'autres dont parle Schmucker pug dogs, all children resemble their n'eurent que des enfans munis de douze orteils et parents. We do not allude to the fact douze doights." —Burdach, Traité de Physiologie, ü. Portugal, King of_Tait's Magazine,, ** 217,355 T We Fly by Night-Chambers' Journal,. . 367
legs between them: two legs and four classed under one general term, named arms and two heads; yet they were quite species; but this general term has no obdifferent in disposition. The same differ-jective existence; the abstract or typical ence was manifested in the celebrated sheep, apart from all concrete individuals, Presburg twins, and in the African twins has no existence out of our systems. Whenrecently exhibited in London,
ever an individual sheep is born, it is the It is clear, then, that offspring do not offspring of two individual sheep, whose always closely resemble parents; and structures and dispositions it reproduces ; it is further clear from the diversities in it is not the offspring of an abstract idea; families, that they do not resemble them it does not come into being at the bidding in equal degrees. Two brothers may be of a Type, which as a Species sits apart, very unlike each other, and yet both like regulating ovine phenomena. The facts their parents; but the resemblance to the of dissemblance between offspring and parents must, in this case, be variable. I parents we shall explain by-and by; they So that when we lay down the rule of do not plead in favor of Species, because constancy in transmission, we must put a Species is a figment of philosophy, not a rider on it, to the effect that this Con- fact. The sooner we disengage our 200stancy is not absolute, but is accompanied logy from all such lingering remains of old by a law of Variation. It is the interven- Metaphysics the better. Nothing but tion of this law which makes hereditary dreary confusion and word-splitting can influence a problem; without it, heritage come of our admitting them. Think of would be as absolute as the union of acids of the hot and unwise controversies rewith bases.
specting “transmutation of species,” which Some philosophers have tried to explain would have been spared if a clear concepthe law of constancy in transmission, and tion of the meaning of Species had been its independence of the law of variations, steadily held before the disputants, or if by maintaining that it is the Species only, the laws which regulate heritage had been not the Individual, which is reproduced. duly considered. In one sense, transmuThus a sheep is always and everywhere a tation of Species is a contradiction in sheep, a man a man, reproducing the terms. To ask if one species can produce specific type but not necessarily repro- another ; i. e., a cat produce a monkeyducing any individual peculiarities. *All is to ask if the offspring do not inherit the sheep resemble each other, and all men organization of their parents. We know resemble each other, because they all be they do. We cannot conceive it otherlong to specific types. What does the wise. But the laws of heritage place the reader say to this hypothesis ? Burdach, dispute in something of a clearer light, for who adopts it,* adduces his facts : for ex- they teach us that “Species” is constant, ample, a dog from whom the spleen was because individuals reproduce individuals extirpated reproduced dogs with perfect closely resembling them, which is the spleens; an otter, deprived of its fore paws, meaning of “Species ;” and they also produced six young with their legs quite teach us, that individuals reproduce indiperfect; in a word, “l'idée de l'espèce se viduals varying in structure from themreproduit dans le fruit et lui donne des or- selves, which Varieties, becoming transganes qui manquaient au père ou à la mère." mitted as part and parcel of the parental The hypothesis has seemed convincing to influence, will, in time, become so great the majority of thinkers, but it labors under as to constitute a difference in Species. one fatal objection-namely, Species can- It is in vain that the upholders of a "fixity not reproduce itself, for Species does not of Species” assert that all the varieties obexist. It is an entity, an abstract idea, served are differences of degree only. Difnot a concrete fact. It is a fiction of the ferences of degree become differences of understanding, not an object existing in kind, when the gap is widened: ice and Nature. The thing Species no more exists steam are only differences of degree, but than the thing Goodness or the thing they are equivalent to differences of kind. Whiteness. Nature only knows indivi- If, therefore, “transmutation of Species” duals. A collection of individuals so is absurd, “fixity of Species” is not a whit closely resembling each other as all sheep less so. That which does not exist, can resemble each other, are conveniently neither be transmuted nor maintained in
fixity. Only individuals exist; they re
their parents. Out of these resemblances any spots you please. Girou noticed that we create Species, out of these differences his Swiss cow, white, spotted with red, we create Varieties; we do so as conve- gave five calves, four of which repeated niences of classification, and then believe exactly the spots of their mother, the fifth, in the reality of our own figments.
a cow-calf, resembling the bull. And do “Les espèces,” said Buffon, boldly, “sont we not all know how successful our cattle les seuls êtres de la nature, and thousands breeders have been in directing the fat to have firmly believed this absurdity. The those parts of the organism where gour. very latest work published on this subject,* mandise desires it? Have not sheep bereproduces the dictum, and elaborately come moving cylinders of fat and wool, endeavors to demonstrate it. “Les espè- merely because fat and wool were needed ? ces sont les formes primitives de la nature. Still more striking are the facts of acciLes individus n'en sont que des représenta- dents becoming hereditary. A superb staltions, des copies.” This was very well for lion, son of Le Glorieux, who came from Plato; but for a biologist of the nineteenth the Pompadour stables, became blind from century to hold such language shows a disease ; all his children became blind bewant of philosophic culture. A cursory fore they were three years old. Burdach survey of the facts should have shown the cites the case of a woman who nearly died error of the conception, if nothing else from hemorrhage after blood-letting; her would. Facts plainly tell us that the indi-daughter was so sensitive that a violent vidual and the individual's peculiarities, hemorrhage would follow even a trifling not those of the abstract Type, are trans- scratch ; she, in turn, transmitted this pemitted. Plutarch speaks of a family in culiarity to her son. Horses marked durThebes, every member of which was born ing successive generations with red-hot with the mark of a spear-head on his body; iron in the same place, transmit the visible and although Plutarch is not a good auth- traces of such marks to their colts. A dog ority for such a fact, we may accept this / had her hinder parts paralyzed for several because it belongs to a class of well authen- days by a blow; six of her seven pups were ticated cases. An Italian family had the deformed orexcessively weak in their hindsame sort of mark, and hence bore the er parts, and were drowned as useless.* name of Lansada. Haller cites the case Treviranust cites Blumenbach's case of a of the Bentivoglie family, in whom a slight man whose little finger was crushed and external tumor was transmitted from fath-twisted, by an accident to his right hand : er to son, which always swelled when the his sons inherited right hands with the litatmosphere was moist. Again, the Romantle finger distorted. These cases are the
families Nasones, and Buccones, indicate more surprising, because our daily experi• analogous peculiarities; to which may be ence also tells us that accidental defects added the well-known “Austrian lip," and are not transmitted; for many years it has “Bourbon nose.” All the Barons de Ves- been the custom to cut the ears and tails of sins were said to have a peculiar mark be- terriers, and yet terrier pups do not inherit tween their shoulders; and by means of the pointed ears and short tails of their such a mark, La Tour Landry discovered parents; for centuries men have lost arms the posthumous legitimate son of the Bar. and legs, without affecting the limbs of our on de Vessins in a London shoemaker's ap- species. Although, therefore, the deformiprentice. Such cases might be received ties and defects of the parent may be inwith an incredulous smile if they did not herited, in general they are not. For our belong to a series of indisputable facts no- present argument it is enough that they ticed in the breeding of animals. Every are so sometimes. breeder knows that the colors of the par- Idiosyncrasies assuredly belong to the ents are inherited, that the spots are re- individual, not to the species; otherwise peated, such as the patch over the bull they would not be idiosyncrasies. Parents terrier's eye, and the white legs of a horse with an unconquerable aversion to animal or cow; and Chambonf lays it down, as food, have transmitted that aversion; and a principle derived from experience, that parents, with the horrible propensity for by choosing the parents you can produce human flesh, have transmitted the pro
| pensity to children brought up away from ** Cours de Physiologie Comparée." par M. Flour them under all social restraints. Zimmerons, 1856. A feeble and inaccurate book.