RECORD: Matthew, P. 1831. On naval timber and arboriculture; with critical notes on authors who have recently treated the subject of planting. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green; and Edinburgh: Adam Black. [Appendix only]
REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by AEL Data 10.2008. RN1
WITH CRITICAL NOTES ON AUTHORS WHO HAVE
RECENTLY TREATED THE SUBJECT OF
BY PATRICK MATTHEW.
LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN; AND
ADAM BLACK, EDINDURGH.
IT is only on the Ocean that Universal Empire is practicable—only by means of Navigation that all the world can be subdued or retained under one dominion. On land, the greatest numbers, and quantity of materiel, are unavailable, excepting around the spot where they are produced. The most powerful army is crippled by advancing a few degrees in an enemy's territory, unless when aided by some catching enthusiasm; its resources get distant—communication is obstructed—subjection does not extend beyond the range of its guns, and it quickly melts away. The impossibility of dominion extending over a great space, when communication is only by land, has often been proved. The rule of Cyrus, or Alexander, the Cæsars, the Tartar conquerors *, or Bonaparte, did not extend over a tithe of the earth; and we may believe, that, by some of these chiefs, dominion was
* The very extended sway, the state of civilization considered, of the Tartar, was evidently the consequence of the great facility of communication from the plain open surface of the country, and the equestrian habits of the people.
extended as widely as under land communication could be effected—further than under it could be supported.
On the contrary, when a powerful nation has her war-like strength afloat, and possesses naval superiority, independent of being unassailable herself, every spot of the world, wherever a wave can roll, is accessible to her power and under her control. In a very short time she can throw an irresistible force, unexhausted by marches, and with every resource, upon any hostile point, the point of attack being in her own choice, and unknown to the enemy. In case of her dependent dominions being scattered over the two hemispheres, her means of communication, and consequent power of defending these and supporting authority, are more facile than what exists between the seat of government of any ordinary sized continental kingdom and its provinces. Were a popular system of colonial government adopted, many islands and inferior states would find it their interest to become incorporated as part of the Empire.
THERE is a law universal in nature, tending to render every reproductive being the best possibly suited to its condition that its kind, or that organized matter, is susceptible of, which appears intended to model the physical and mental or instinctive powers, to their highest perfection, and to continue them so. This law sustains the lion in his strength, the hare in her swiftness, and the
fox in his wiles. As Nature, in all her modifications of life, has a power of increase far beyond what is needed to supply the place of what falls by Time's decay, those individuals who possess not the requisite strength, swiftness, hardihood, or cunning, fall prematurely without reproducing—either a prey to their natural devourers, or sinking under disease, generally induced by want of nourishment, their place being occupied by the more perfect of their own kind, who are pressing on the means of subsistence. The law of entail, necessary to hereditary nobility, is an outrage on this law of nature which she will not pass unavenged—a law which has the most debasing influence upon the energies of a people, and will sooner or later lead to general subversion, more especially when the executive of a country remains for a considerable time efficient, and no effort is needed on the part of the nobility to protect their own, or no war to draw forth or preserve their powers by exertion. It is all very well, when, in stormy times, the baron had every faculty trained to its utmost ability in keeping his proud crest aloft. How far hereditary nobility, under effective government, has operated to retard "the march in intellect," and deteriorate the species in modern Europe, is an interesting and important question. We have seen it play its part in France; we see exhibition of its influence throughout the Iberian peninsula, to the utmost degradation of its victims. It has rendered the Italian peninsula, with its islands, a blank in the political map of Europe. Let the panegyrists of hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and entail, say what these countries might not have been
but for the baneful influence of this unnatural custom. It is an eastern proverb, that no king is many removes from a shepherd. Most conquerors and founders of dynasties have followed the plough or the flock. Nobility, to be in the highest perfection, like the finer varieties of fruits, independent of having its vigour excited by regular married alliance with wilder stocks, would require stated complete renovation, by selection anew, from among the purest crab. In some place, this renovation would not be so soon requisite as in others, and, judging from facts, we would instance Britain as perhaps the soil where nobility will continue the longest untainted. As we advance nearer to the equator, renovation becomes sooner necessary, excepting at high elevation—in many places, every third generation, at least with the Caucasian breed, although the finest stocks be regularly imported. This renovation is required as well physically as morally.
It is chiefly in regard to the interval of time between the period of necessary feudal authority, and that when the body of the population having acquired the power of self-government from the spread of knowledge, claim a community of rights, that we have adverted to the use of war. The manufacturer, the merchant, the sailor, the capitalist, whose mind is not corrupted by the indolence induced under the law of entail, are too much occupied to require any stimulant beyond what the game in the wide field of commercial adventure affords. A great change in the circumstances of man is obviously at hand.
In the first step beyond the condition of the wandering savage, while the lower classes from ignorance remained as helpless children, mankind naturally fell into clans under paternal or feudal government; but as children, when grown up to maturity, with the necessity for protection, lose the subordination to parental authority, so the great mass of the present population requiring no guidance from a particular class of feudal lords, will not continue to tolerate any hereditary claims of authority of one portion of the population over their fellow-men; nor any laws to keep up rank and wealth corresponding to this exclusive power.—It would be wisdom in the noblesse of Europe to abolish every claim or law which serves to point them out a separate class, and, as quickly as possible, to merge themselves into the mass of the population. It is a law manifest in nature, that when the use of any thing is past, its existence is no longer kept up.
Although the necessity for the existence of feudal lords is past, yet the same does not hold in respect to a hereditary head or King; and the stability of this head of the government will, in no way, be lessened by such a change. In the present state of European society, perhaps no other rule can be so mild and efficient as that of a liberal benevolent monarch, assisted by a popular representative Parliament. The poorest man looks up to his king as his own, with affection and pride, and considers him a protector; while he only regards the antiquated feudal lord with contempt. The influence of a respected hereditary family, as head of a country, is also of great utility in
forming a principle of union to the different members, and in giving unity and stability to the government.
In respect to our own great landholders themselves, we would ask, where is there that unnatural parent—that miserable victim of hereditary pride—who does not desire to see his domains equally divided among his own children? The high paid sinecures in church and state will not much longer be a great motive for keeping up a powerful family head, whose influence may burthen their fellow-citizens with the younger branches. Besides, when a portion of land is so large, that the owner cannot have an individual acquaintance and associations with every stream, and bush, and rock, and knoll, the deep enjoyment which the smaller native proprietor would have in the peculiar features, is not called forth, and is lost to man. The abolition of the law of entail and primogeniture, will, in the present state of civilization, not only add to the happiness of the proprietor, heighten morality, and give much greater stability to the social order, but will also give a general stimulus to industry and improvement, increasing the comforts and elevating the condition of the operative class.
In the new state of things which is near at hand, the proprietor and the mercantile class will amalgamise,—employment in useful occupations will not continue to be held in scorn,—the merchant and manufacturer will no longer be barely tolerated to exist, harassed at every turn by imposts and the interference of petty tyrants;—Government, instead of forming an engine of oppression, being simplified and based on morality and justice, will
become a cheap and efficient protection to person and property; and the necessary taxation being levied from property alone, every individual will purchase in the cheapest market, and sell the produce of his industry in the dearest. This period might, perhaps, be accelerated throughout Europe, did the merchants and capitalists only know their own strength. Let them, as citizens of the world, hold annual congress in some central place, and deliberate on the interests of man, which is their own, and throw the whole of their influence to support liberal and just governments, and to repress slavery, crime, bigotry—tyranny in all shapes. A Rothschild might earn an unstained fame, as great as yet has been attained by man, by organizing such a power, and presiding at its councils.
THE influence of long continued impression, constituting instinct or habit of breed, is a curious phenomenon in the animal economy. Our population in the eastern maritime districts of Britain, descended principally from the Scandinavian rover, though devoted for a time to agricultural or mechanical occupation, betaken themselves, when opportunity offers, to their old element, the ocean*,
* The habit of breed is apparent in many places of the world. Where a fine river washes the walls of some of the internal towns of France, scarce a boat is to be seen, except the long tract-boats employed in the conveyance of the fire-wood—nobody thinks of sailing for pleasure. The Esquimaux, and the Red Indian of North America, inhabiting the same country, shew an entirely distinct habit of breed. The Black and the Copper-coloured native of the Australian Islands, are equally opposed in instinctive habit.
and launch out upon the "wintry wave" with much of the same home-felt composure as does the white polar bear. They roam over every sea and every shore, from Behring's Straits to Magellan's, with as little solicitude as the Kelt over his own misty hill, overcoming, in endurance, the native of the torrid zone under his vertical sun, and the native of the frigid among his polar snows.
To what may we ascribe the superiority of this portion of the Caucasian breed,—may it arise in part from its repeated change of place under favourable circumstances? Other races have migrated, but not like this, always as conqueror. The Jew has been a stroller in his time; but he has improved more in mental acumen and cunning—not so much in heroism and personal qualities: his proscribed condition will account for this. The Caucasian in its progress, will also have mingled slightly, and, judging from analogy, perhaps advantageously, with the finer portion of those whom it has overwhelmed. This breed, by its wide move across the Atlantic, does not seem at all to have lost vigour, and retains the nautical and roving instinct unimpaired, although the American climate is certainly inferior to the European. It is there rapidly moving west, and may soon have described one of the earth's circles. A change of seed, that is, a change of place, within certain limits of latitude, is well known
to be indispensable to the more sturdy growth and health of many cultivated vegetables; it is probable that this also holds true of the human race. There are few countries where the old breed has not again and again sunk before the vigour of new immigration; we even see the worn out breed, chased from their homes to new location, return, after a time, superior to their former vanquishers, or gradually work their way back in peace, by superior subsisting power: this is visible in France, where the aboriginal sallow Kelt, distinguished by high satyr-like feature, deep-placed sparkling brown or grey eye, narrowed lower part of the face, short erect vertebral column, great mental acuteness, and restless vivacity, has emerged from the holes of the earth, the recesses of the forests and wastes, into which it had been swept before the more powerful blue-eyed Caucasian; and being a smaller, more easily subsisting animal, has, by starving and eating out, been gradually undermining the breed of its former conquerors. The changes which have been taking place in France, and which, in many places, leave now scarcely a trace of the fine race which existed twenty centuries ago, may, however, in part, be accounted for by the admixture of the Caucasian and Keltic tending more to the character of the latter, from the latter being a purer and more fixed variety, and nearer the original type or medium standard of man; and from the warm dry plains of France (much drier from cultivation and the reduction of the forests), having considerable influence to increase this bias: In some of the south-eastern departments,
A a 2
more immediately in the tide of the ingress of the Caucasian, where the purest current has latest flowed, and the climate is more suitable, and also in some of the maritime districts, where the air is moister, and to which they have been seaborn at a later period, the Caucasian character is still prominent. Something of this, yet not so general, is occurring in Britain, where the fair bright-blooded race is again giving place to the darker and more sallow. This may, however, be partly occasioned by more of artificial heat and shelter and other consequences of higher civilization. There seems to be something connected with confinement and sedentary life, with morbid action of the liver, or respiratory or transpiratory organs, which tend to this change under dry and hot, and especially confined atmosphere. Perhaps imagination is also a worker here; and the colour most regarded, as snow in cold countries, black among colliers, white among bleachers, or even the dark colour of dress, may produce its peculiar impression, and our much looked-up-to Calvinistic priesthood, from the pulpit, disseminate darkness as well as light.
Our own Kelt has indubitably improved much since, par necessité, he took to the mountain; but, though steadily enduring, when there is mental excitement, he has acquired a distaste to dull hopeless unceasing labour, and would fare scantily and lie hard, rather than submit to the monotonous industry of the city operative, or the toil of the agricultural drudge. Though once a fugitive, the Kelt is now, in moral courage and hardihood, equal
perhaps to any other, yet he still trembles to put foot on ocean.
Notwithstanding that change of place, simply, may have impression to improve the species, yet is it more to circumstances connected with this change, to which the chief part of the improvement must be referred. In the agitation which accompanies emigration, the ablest in mind and body—the most powerful varieties of the race will be thrown into their natural position as leaders, impressing the stamp of their character on the people at large, and constituting the more reproductive part; while the feebler or more improvident varieties will generally sink under the incidental hardships. When a swarm emigrates from a prosperous hive, it also will generally consist of the more adventurous stirring spirits, who, with the right of conquerors, will appropriate the finest of the indigenæ which they overrun; their choice of these being regulated by personal qualities, not by the adventitious circumstances of wealth or high birth—a regard to which certainly tends to deteriorate the species, and is one of the causes which renders the noblesse of Europe comparatively inferior to the Asiatic, or rather the Christian noblesse to the Mahometan.
It has been remarked, that our finest, most acute population, exist in the neutral ground, where the Caucasian and Keltic have mixed, but this may arise from other causes than admixture. Our healthiest and poorest country borders the Highlands, and the population enjoy more of the open air. Our eastern population, north of the
natural division of Flamboroughead, are also harder and sharper featured, and keener witted, than those southward, who may be styled our fen-bred. There is no doubt more of Keltic blood mingled with the north division; but the sea-born breeds have also been different, those more northerly being Scandinavian, and the more southerly consisting of the native of Lower Germany and the heavy Fleming. The placid-looking Englishman, more under the control of animal enjoyment, though perhaps not so readily acute, excels in the no less valuable qualities of constancy and bodily powers of exertion; and when properly taught under high division of labour, becomes a better operative in his particular employment, and even will sometimes extend scientific discovery further, than his more mercurial northern neighbour, who, from his quick wits being generally in advance of his manual practice, seldom attains to the dexterity which results from the combination of continued bodily action and restricted mental application. There exists, however, very considerable intellectual capacity in this English breed, but it too frequently is crushed under the preponderance of the animal part, affording that purest specimen of vulgarity, the English clown. But, independently of climate and breed, a great part of the low Englander's obtuseness is referable to his being entailed lord of the soil, under poor-rate law, contravening a natural law (see note B), so that, when unsuccessful or out of employment, he, without effort to obtain some new means of independent subsistence, sinks into the parish
or work-house labourer. On the contrary, the Scotsman, with no resource but in himself, with famine always in the vista, as much in his view as a principle of action in material affairs as his strong perception of the right in moral, and also under the stimulus of a high pride, leaves no means untried at home; and, when fairly starved out of his native country, among various resources, often invades the territory of his more easy-mined southern neighbour, where his acuteness seldom fails to find out a convenient occupation, in which manual dexterity is second to economy and forethought—his success exciting the wonder and envy of the dull-witted native.
It would appear, that the finest portion, at least apparently so, of the north temperate zone, between the parallels of 30° and 48° latitude, when nearly of the level of the ocean, is not so favourable for human existence as the more northern part between 50° and 60°, or even the torrid zone. The native of the north of Europe has a superior development of person, and a much longer reproductory life than the native of the south, which more than counterbalances the earlier maturity of the latter in power of increase. Independent of the great current of population setting south in the northern part of the temperate zone, there seems even to be some tendency to a flux northward, from the confines of the torrid; but this arises rather from the unsteadiness of the seasons, and consequent deficit of food, at particular times, than from a steady increase of population.
NOTE D, p. 4.
OUR milder moods, benevolence, gentleness, contemplation—our refinement in sentiment—our "lovely dreams of peace and joy," have negative weight in the balance of national strength. The rougher excitement of hatred, ambition, pride, patriotism, and the more selfish passions, is necessary to the full and strong development of our active powers. That Britain is leaving the impress of her energy and morality on a considerable portion of the world, is owing to her having first borne fire and sword over these countries: the husbandman tears up the glebe, with all its covering of weeds an flowers, before he commit his good seed to the earth. Life and death—good and evil—pleasure and pain, are the principles of impulse to the scheme or machine of nature, as heat and cold are to the steam-engine, thus moving in necessary alternate dependence. Our moral sense, our perception and love of good, could not exist without the knowledge of evil; yet, we shudder at the truth of evil being part and portion of nature.
THERE cannot be a more striking proof of the necessity of a better representation of the marine interest, than the fact, that our trading vessels are constructed of an unsuit-
able figure, owing to the improper manner of measuring the register tonnage. In order to save a little trouble of calculation to the surveying officer in gauging the contents of the vessel, the law directs him merely to take the length and breadth at the widest place, and from these lines, by a regular formula, to compute the tonnage; the vessel paying the charges for lights and harbours, and other dues, in proportion to this measurement. The result is, that, in order to lessen these dues individually, our vessels are constructed deep in proportion to breadth, consequently are sluggish sailers, and not nearly so safe and pleasant sea-boats as they otherwise would be—many a ship, especially with light cargo, getting on her beam-ends and foundering, or not standing up under canvass to weather a lee shore. The influence of this absurd measurement law is the more unlucky, as the ship-owner, from a deep vessel being, in proportion to the capacity of the hold, cheaper than one of shallower or longer dimensions, is already more disposed to construct his vessel deeper than is consistent with the safety of the seamen and security of the ship and cargo, the particular insurance of a deep vessel not being greater than that of one of safer proportions. The injurious effect from vessels being constructed on the principles of avoiding tolls or dues, rather than for sailing, will occur to every one. We need not say that all this flows from the ignorance or carelessness of the constructors of our Parliamentary acts, consequent to defective representation.
IN the case of the upper carse on the Tay Firth, there is evidence, both from its vestiges and from records, that it had occupied, at least, the entire firth, or sea-basin, above Broughty Ferry, and that about 50 square miles of this carse has been carried out into the German Ocean by the strong sea-tide current, a consequence of the lowering of the German Ocean, and of the deepening of the outlet of this sea-basin at Broughty Ferry, apparently by this very rapid sea-tide current. This carse appears to have been a general deposition at the bottom of a lake having only a narrow outlet communicating with the sea, and probably did not rise much higher then the height of the bottom of the outlet at that time.
An increase of deposition of alluvium, or prevention of decrease, may, in many cases, be accomplished by artificial means. The diminution of the carse of the Tay was in rapid progress about sixty years ago, the sea-bank being undermined by the waves of the basin, the clay tumbling down, becoming diffused in the water, and being carried out to sea, by every ebbing tide, purer water returning from the ocean the next tide-flow. This decrease was stopped by the adoption of stone embanking and dikes. A small extension of the carses of present high-water level, in the upper part of the firths of Tay and Forth, has lately been effected, by forming brush-wood, stone and mud dikes, to promote the accumulation.
In doing this, the whole art consists in placing obstructions to the current and waves, so that whatever deposition takes place at high-water, or at the beginning of the flood-tide, when the water is nearly still, may not again be raised and carried off.
Notwithstanding this accumulation, and also the prevention of further waste of the superior carse, the deepening of the Tay Firth, formerly carse, and of the gorge at Broughty Ferry, seems still in progress, and could not, without very considerable labour, be prevented. In the case, however, of the sea-basin of Montrose, a little labour, from the narrowness of the gorges, would put it in a condition to become gradually filled with mud. Not a great deal more expenditure than what has sufficed to erect the suspension-bridge over its largest outlet, would have entirely filled up this outlet, and the smaller outlet might have been also filled to within several feet of high-water, and made of sufficient breadth only, to emit the water of the river, which flows into the basin. The floated sand and mud of this river, thus prevented from being carried out to sea, would, in the course of years, completely fill up the basin.
From some vestiges of the upper carse, as well as of the lower or submarine carse, in situations where their formation cannot easily be traced to any local cause, it seems not improbable that the basin of the German sea itself, nearly as far north as the extent of Scotland, had at one time been occupied with a carse or delta, a continuation of Holland, formed by the accumulation of the
diluvium of the rivers which flow into this basin, together with the molluscous exuviæ of the North Sea, and the abrasion of the Norwegian coast and scottish islands, borne downward by the heavy North Sea swell.
In the case of the delta of Holland having extended so far northward, a subsidence of the land or rising of the sea, so as to form a passage for the waters round Britain, must have occurred. The derangement, at several places, of the fine wavy stratification of these carses, and the confusedly heaped-up beds of broken sea-shells, shew that some great rush of water had taken place, probably when Belgium was dissevered from England. Since the opening of the bottom of the gulf, the accumulation may have been undergoing a gradual reduction, by more diffused mud * being carried off from the German Sea into the Atlantic and North Sea, than what the former is receiving—the same process taking place here as has been occurring in the basin of the Tay. The large sand-banks on the Dutch and English coast,—in some places, such as the Goodwin Sands, certainly the heavier, less diffusible part of the former alluvial country, and portions of these alluvial districts being retained by artificial means,—bear a striking resemblance to the sand-
* The sea water from Flamborough-head, southward to the Straits of Dover, is generally discoloured with mud; and during every breeze takes up an addition from the bottom, which is an alluvium so unstable and loose, that no sea vegetation can hold in it. From not producing herbage, the general basis of animal life, few fishes or shells can find support in it.
banks of the sea basin of the Tay—the less diffusible remains of the removed portion of the alluvium which had once occupied all that basin, and to the remaining portion of the alluvium also retained by artificial means.
Throughout this volume, we have felt considerable inconvenience, from the adopted dogmatical classification of plants, and have all along been floundering between species and variety, which certainly under culture soften into each other. A particular conformity, each after its own kind, when in a state of nature, termed species, no doubt exists to a considerable degree. This conformity has existed during the last forty centuries. Geologists discover a like particular conformity—fossilspecies—through the deep deposition of each great epoch, but they also discover an almost complete difference to exist between the species or stamp of life, of one epoch from that of every other. We are therefore led to admit, either of a repeated miraculous creation; or of a power of change, under a change of circumstances, to belong to living organized matter, or rather to the congeries of inferior life, which appears to form superior. The derangements and changes in organized existence, induced by a change of circumstance from the interference of man, affording us
proof of the plastic quality of superior life, and the likelihood that circumstances have been very different in the different epochs, though steady in each, tend strongly to heighten the probability of the latter theory.
When we view the immense calcareous and bituminous formations, principally from the waters and atmosphere, and consider the oxidations and depositions which have taken place, either gradually, or during some of the great convulsions, it appears at least probable, that the liquid elements containing life have varied considerably at different times in composition and in weight; that our atmosphere has contained a much greater proportion of carbonic acid or oxygen; and our waters, aided by excess of carbonic acid, and greater heat resulting from greater density of atmosphere, have contained a greater quantity of lime and other mineral solutions. Is the inference then unphilosophic, that living things which are proved to have a circumstance-suiting power—a very slight change of circumstance by culture inducing a corresponding change of character—may have gradually accommodated themselves to the variations of the elements containing them, and, without new creation, have presented the diverging changeable phenomena of past and present organized existence.
The destructive liquid currents, before which the hardest mountains have been swept and comminuted into gravel, sand, and mud, which intervened between and divided these epochs, probably extending over the whole surface of the globe, and destroying nearly all living
things, must have reduced existence so much, that an unoccupied field would be formed for new diverging ramifications of life, which, from the connected sexual system of vegetables, and the natural instincts of animals to herd and combine with their own kind, would fall into specific groups, these remnants, in the course of time, moulding and accommodating their being anew to the change of circumstances, and to every possible means of subsistence, and the millions of ages of regularity which appear to have followed between the epochs, probably after this accommodation was completed, affording fossil deposit of regular specific character.
There are only two probable ways of change—the above, and the still wider deviation from present occurence,—of indestructible or molecular life (which seems to resolve itself into powers of attraction and repulsion under mathematical figure and regulation, bearing a slight systematic similitude to the great aggregations of matter), gradually uniting and developing itself into new circumstance-suited living aggregates, without the presence of any mould or germ of former aggregates, but this scarcely differs from new creation, only it forms a portion of a continued scheme or system.
In endeavouring to trace, in the former way, the principle of these changes of fashion which have taken place in the domiciles of life, the following questions occur: Do they arise from admixture of species nearly allied producing intermediate species? Are they the diverging ramifications of the living principle under modification of
circumstance? Or have they resulted from the combined agency of both? Is there only one living principle? Does organized existence, and perhaps all material existence, consist of one Proteus principle of life capable of gradual circumstance-suited modifications and aggregations, without bound under the solvent or motion-giving principle, heat or light? There is more beauty and unity of design in this continual balancing of life to circumstance, and greater conformity to those dispositions of nature which are manifest to us, than in total destruction and new creation. It is improbable that much of this diversification is owing to commixture of species nearly allied, all change by this appears very limited, and confined within the bounds of what is called Species; the progeny of the same parents, under great difference of circumstance, might, in several generations, even become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.
The self-regulating adaptive disposition of organized life may, in part, be traced to the extreme fecundity of Nature, who, as before stated, has, in all the varieties of her offspring, a prolific power much beyond (in many cases a thousandfold) what is necessary to fill up the vacancies caused by senile decay. As the field of existence is limited and pre-occupied, it is only the hardier, more robust, better suited to circumstance individuals, who are able to struggle forward to maturity, these inhabiting only the situations to which they have superior adaptation and greater power of occupancy than any other kind; the weaker, less circumstance-suited, being perma-
turely destroyed. This principle is in constant action, it regulates the colour, the figure, the capacities, and instincts; those individuals of each species, whose colour and covering are best suited to concealment or protection from enemies, or defence from vicissitude and inclemencies of climate, whose figure is best accommodated to health, strength, defence, and support; whose capacities and instincts can best regulate the physical energies to self-advantage according to circumstances—in such immense waste of primary and youthful life, those only come forward to maturity from the strict ordeal by which Nature tests their adaptation to her standard of perfection and fitness to continue their kind by reproduction.
From the unremitting operation of this law acting in concert with the tendency which the progeny have to take the more particular qualities of the parents, together with the connected sexual system in vegetables, and instinctive limitations to its own kind in animals, a considerable uniformity of figure, colour, and character, is induced, constituting species; the breed gradually acquiring the very best possible adaptation of these to its condition which it is susceptible of, and when alteration of circumstance occurs, thus changing in character to suit these as far as its nature is susceptible of change.
This circumstance-adaptive law, operating upon the slight but continued natural disposition to sport in the progeny (seedling variety), does not preclude the supposed influence which volition or sensation may have over the configuration of the body. To examine into the disposi-
tion to sport in the progeny, even when there is only one parent, as in many vegetables, and to investigate how much variation is modified by the mind or nervous sensation of the parents, or of the living thing itself during its progress to maturity; how far it depends upon external circumstance, and how far on the will, irritability and muscular exertion, is open to examination and experiment. In the first place, we ought to investigate its dependency upon the preceding links of the particular chain of life, variety being often merely types or approximations of former parentage; thence the variation of the family, as well as of the individual, must be embraced by our experiments.
This continuation of family type, not broken by casual particular aberration, is mental as well as corporeal, and is exemplified in many of the dispositions or instincts of particular races of men. These innate or continuous ideas or habits, seem proportionally greater in the insect tribes, those especially of shorter revolution; and forming an abiding memory, may resolve much of the enigma of instinct, and the foreknowledge which these tribes have of what is necessary to completing their round of life, reducing this to knowledge, or impressions, and habits, acquired by a long experience. This greater continuity of existence, or rather continuity of perceptions and mpressions, in insects, is highly probable; it is even difficult in some to ascertain the particular stops when each individuality commences, under the different phases of egg, larva, pupa, or if much con-
sciousness of individuality exists. The continuation of reproduction for several generations by the females alone in some of these tribes, tends to the probability of the greater continuity of existence, and the subdivisions of life by cuttings, at any rate must stagger the advocate of individuality.
Among the millions of specific varieties of living things which occupy the humid portion of the surface of our planet, as far back as can be traced, there does not appear, with the exception of man, to have been any particular engrossing race, but a pretty fair balance of powers of occupancy,—or rather, most wonderful variation of circumstance parallel to the nature of every species, as if circumstance and species had grown up together. There are indeed several races which have threatened ascendency in some particular regions, but it is man alone from whom any general imminent danger to the existence of his brethren is to be dreaded.
As far back as history reaches, man had already had considerable influence, and had made encroachments upon his fellow denizens, probably occasioning the destruction of many species, and the production and continuation of a number of varieties or even species, which he found more suited to supply his wants, but which, from the infirmity of their condition—not having undergone selection by the law of nature, of which we have spoken, cannot maintain their ground without his culture and protection.
It is, however, only in the present age that man has
begun to reap the fruits of his tedious education, and has proven how much "knowledge is power." He has now acquired a dominion over the material world, and a consequent power of increase, so as to render it probable that the whole surface of the earth may soon be overrun by this engrossing anomaly, to the annihilation of every wonderful and beautiful variety of animated existence, which does not administer to his wants principally as laboratories of preparation to befit cruder elemental matter for assimilation by his organs.
In taking a retrospective glance at our pages from the press, we notice some inaccuracy and roughness, which a little more timely attention to training and pruning might have obviated; the facts and induction may, however, outbalance these.
We observe that Fig.d, p.27, from the want of proper shading, and error in not marking the dotted lines, does not serve well to illustrate our purpose. This figure is intended to represent a tree of a short thick stem, dividing into four branches, springing out regularly in the manner of a cross, nearly at right angles with the stem. These branches cut over about three of four feet out from the division, form each one wing of a knee, and the stem, quartered longitudinally through the heart, forms the other wing. It is of great advantage to have four branches rather than two or three, as the stem, divided into four, by being twice cut down the middle, forms the wings nearly square; whereas, when divided
into two, the halves are broad and flat, and a considerable loss of timer taker place; besides, the two branches afford a thicker wing than the flat half of the stem does when squared. When the tree separates into three branches, the stem does not saw out conveniently; and when divided, the cleft part is angular, and much loss of timber also takes place in the squaring. When the stem divides into four branches, each of these branches coincides in thickness with the quartered stem, and the knees are obtained equally thick throughout, without any loss of timber. The four branches, at six or eight feet above the division, may with a little attention be thrown into a rectangular bend, and thus give eight knees from each tree. Knees are generally required of about eight inches in diameter, and three and a half feet in length of wing; but when they are to be had thicker and longer, a foot or more in thickness, and from four to ten feet in length of wing, they are equally in request, suiting for high rising floors or heel-knees.
The directions for forming larch roots into knees after the tree is grubbed, are also not very explicit. The stem of the tree is cut over nearly the same distance from the bulb as the length of the root spurs; this quartered through the heart (in the same manner as above), forms one wing of the knee, and the four spurs form the other wings. The same advantage results from having four regular root-spurs in larch, as in having four regular branches in oak: the two processes are quite similar, only the roots in the one case, and the branches in the other, form one wing of the knees.
We have given no directions for the bending of plank timber. In larch, the wind generally gives the slight necessary bend to a sufficient proportion; and in oak, the trees frequently grow a little bent of their own accord.
A foot-note has been omitted, stating, that the plan of bending young trees, by tying them to an adjacent tree, intended to be soon removed, belongs, as we are informed, to Mr Loudon.
We regret that our allusion to the lamented Mr Huskisson was printed off before we knew of his death.
Since this volume went to press, there has been some changes of scenery on the political European stage, even rivalling what has ever been accomplished of sylvan metamorphosis on the face of nature by Sir Henry Steuart. The intense interest excited by these efforts towards the regeneration of man, has completely thrown into shade our humbler subject—the regeneration of trees. We have even forgot it ourselves in the hands of the printer, while yet unborn. These sudden transformations altering the political and moral relations of man, also render a number of our observations not quite apposite, and our speculations, some of them, rather "prophetic of the past." They, by obliterating national distinctions, and diminishing the occasions for going to war, will, it is hoped, bring the European family closer into amity. At any rate, they have completely thrown out the calcula-
tions of our politicians regarding the balance of power and international connection as natural allies and foes, and bind the French and the British together by ties on the surest principle of friendly sympathy, "idem velle atque nolle," which no Machiavellian policy of cabinets, nor waywardness of political head, will be able to sunder.
We had intended to bring out Naval Timber and Arboriculture as a portion of a work embracing Rural Economy in general, but this is not a time to think of rural affairs.
Page 10, top line, for they read the branches
18, line 13. from bottom, for under read within
18, line 8. from bottom, for long read in length of wing
22, insert f at fig. on right-hand side of wood cut.
26, line 8. from bottom, for 5 read 3
57, line 4. from top, for any read many
78, line 11. from top, for latitude read altitude
87, line 9. from top, dele may also in some degree
—, line 10. from top, for diminish read diminishing
—, line 11. from top, for increase read increasing
205, line 12. from top, dele generally esteemed
206, bottom line, for lineal read large
218, line 5. from bottom, for ground read portion
220, line 7. from bottom, after soil insert a semicolon
222, line 14. from top, for latterly read laterally
223, line 13. from top, for falling read felling
242, line 12. from top, for into read in, to
280, line 14. from top, for the read this
285, top line, after n insert O
300, line 2. from bottom, dele of
327, line 6. from bottom, for that dew, read dew, that
331, line 10. from bottom, for root read row
372, line 14. from top, for tend read tends
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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