RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 'Macculloch. Attributes of Deity Vol I.' [1838] CUL-DAR205.5.28-29 Transcribed by John van Wyhe. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2009. RN1

NOTE: These notes are part of Darwin abstract of volume one of John Macculloch's Proofs and illustrations of the attributes of God from the facts and laws of the physical universe, being the foundation of natural and revealed religion. London: J. Duncan. 3 vols. (1837).

Darwin's abstracts of this work are now found in three locations in the Darwin Archive at Cambridge University Library, the largest are in DAR71.53-59, those transcribed below, and DAR205.5.167. Another fragment is in Old & Useless Notes. It was published in Barrett, P. H., Gautrey, P. J., Herbert, S., Kohn, D., Smith, S. eds. 1987. Charles Darwin's notebooks, 1836-1844 : Geology, transmutation of species, metaphysical enquiries. British Museum (Natural History); Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (F1817), pp. 637-8.

This part contains the interesting phrase "the Malthusian rush for life".

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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


Macculloch. Attributes of Deity Vol I.

p. 251—1 stomach hump, kinds of foot, power of closing nostril, foot, sack, power of endurance &c &c Camels? all good cases of corelations.— [There must have been deserts in the old world!]

p. 252 analogy of hand in mole, & mole cricket & rodents (?)2

p. 251. all animals run by hind legs — Kangaroo, only a caricature; Penguin.—

Pincers in Scorpion & Crust in Squilla. & Mantis. CD wood cuts stones swallowed by birds & by Aphysia. C.D

p. 258. grinding teeth in stomach of sun-fish, in mouth of swine & in stomach of lobsters— analogy in Flamingo & Duck, Ornithorhyncus externally. Petrel & Whale in some respects Chamaelion like power in Octopus & Chamaslion.— C.D.

Sucking feet— in Frog. Walrus. Fly. Gecko &c.

Prehensile tail. in Monkeys & Marsupials. Harvest mouse & (Chamaslion?) C.D.

Spines in Hedge Hog & Echidna. & Aphrodites C.D. Endless cases.—

1 Macculloch 1837, 1: 250-51: "The foot of the camel reversely, is a broad, elastic, and soft cushion, perfectly adapted to those sands which every other peculiarity in its construction shows to have been its intended dwelling place: while the union of all those circumstances circumstances forms so perfect a design in itself, under the intended destination of this animal, that I must notice the whole, before proceeding with the organs now under examination. The stomach I described in the last chapter; but with this provision, there is a singular endurance of thirst, and also of hunger: while, for this also, there is an analogous provision in the hump, which is an internal store of food, and is gradually absorbed to supply the wants of the system. While it is willing, moreover, or inclined to feed on the thorny plants of the desert which scarcely any other animal will touch, it is provided against injury from them, by a tough cartilaginous mouth: as a power of closing the nostrils against sand, with an analogous provision in the eyes for evading its annoyance, complete a design, so perfect in all its parts, that no perversion of understanding can overlook it, or doubt the intention."

2 Macculloch 1837, 1: 252, "It is an unexpected extension of the mechanism of the mole's hand, to find it adopted in so very different a department of creation as it is in its application to the mole cricket; yet under a variation which renders it a much more complex machine, well deserving examination."


Macculloch p. 2601 intimates canines no special use to Man. applicable to Bell's sneering-theory.— 2

p. 263.3 This kind of doctrine runs through Macculloch, the bills of the Grallae are have been made long (as adapted to) because their food lies deep.— I say it is as simple consequence they become long, not at once, but by steps, of which we have manifold traces in the several genera of Grallae

Suppose six puppies are born & it so chances, that one out of every hundred litters is born with long legs & in the Malthusian rush for life, only two of them live to breed, if circumstances determine that, the long legged one shall rather oftener than any other one. survive. in ten thousand years the long legged race will get the upper hand, though continually dragged back to old type by intermarrying with ordinary race.—

There is no way of eliminating the evils of old age, after breeding season, or gaining adaptations, but for youth most necessary: the fertility of Man in old age keeps woman alive: for Man & woman are same: fertility of either sex determines life

1 Macculloch 1837, 1: 260: "Man, it has been remarked, possesses all the three varieties of teeth; and thence have been drawn conclusions which I need not repeat. The uses of the cutting and grinding ones are evident; but the pointed ones seem to belong to that analogy of structure which pervades whole races of different animals very widely, though the parts are of no use. Purely prehensile teeth are best seen in the fishes and the serpents..."

2 Bell 1824, pp. 62-64.

3 Macculloch 1837, 1: 263: "The food of an extensive tribe, termed Gralae, consists of worms or larvae which reside deep in the earth, and would have been unattainable by the bills of the preceding birds. It has therefore been lengthened in the Curlew, the Woodcock, the Plovers, and others...'


A very wide range must be destructive to species, when physical changes are in progress; (on the same principles that islands are favourable,) because it must take so long to change species— yet this is contradicted by continents be abounding with species — there will be a balance, continents have been split up. — who can decide their limits.—

To show how little we understand of the Physiological relations of animals, equatorial countries are supposed favourable to terrestrial Mammifers— Marine ones of large size to are best nourished by arctic regions— Whales. Narwhal Polar bear. Walrus, great Seals of Antarctic seas, (on other hand Spermaceti Whale & Manatee.—

Naturalists must be cautious.—

some others : study these facts read Lacepede on Cetacea & Geographical Distrib of larger Seals— Are Porpoises numerous in cold Oceans I think not.— Does this bear on, the absence of their remains in the Wealden?


In the strongly separated Arctic genera, there is evidence of antiquity & extinction of such forms — these views will bear on geology —

There is an analogy between fang of snake, (jaw of spider?) sting of bee, sting of nettle.—

are there any other analogies — / prickly plants or animals — Exudation of fetid & acrid secretion in Mollusca. insects Carabids & Staphylini & Mammalia.

The eye being formed in Mollusca, Articulata, & Vertebrata, & Planaria, & light affecting plants, in insects the end is gained by some very different method, in pedunculated eye of Chamelion. crabs) Crabs & Mollusca we have analogues

The stillness p. 276)1 / of flight of Owl remarkable, [gained by very different process from Bats. CD].CD

Macculloch says no other bird could catch mouse by night

Sailing lizards, squirrels & Opossums & fish: flying lizards.—Mammalia. C.D. —

1 Macculloch 1837, 1: 275-6: "There is a peculiar laxit in the feathers, which, with the mode of managing its wings, confers on it that power of inaudible flight, so strangely contrasted with that of every other bird, through which it suddenly appears before us, unheard, the ghostly owl. It is one of the instances...of an apparently insuperable difficulty overcome by a special contrivance".

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