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exceeding a certain height. On the other hand, and otherwhere,' the elevating forces, after a rest, resume their operation, lift up these coral walls and battlements wholly out of the sea, and make other islands by the thousand which become the delight of man; whilst in yet another class of cases the elevations open out into volcanoes, and constitute great areas of land which are among the most fertile regions of the habitable globe. But everywhere and always the ubiquitous coral animals fix on every shoal and on every shore, whether old or new, and resume the wonderful cycle of operations in which they are a subordinate but a powerful agent.

In a recent article in this Review I had occasion to refer to the curious power which is sometimes exercised on behalf of certain accepted opinions, or of some reputed Prophet, in establishing a sort of Reign of Terror in their own behalf, sometimes in philosophy, sometimes in politics, sometimes in science. This observation was received as I expected it to be-by those who being themselves subject to this kind of terror are wholly unconscious of the subjection. It is a remarkable illustration of this phenomenon that Mr. John Murray was strongly advised against the publication of his views in derogation of Darwin's long-accepted theory of the coral islands, and was actually induced to delay it for two years. Yet the late Sir Wyville Thomson, who was at the head of the naturalists of the Challenger 'expedition, was himself convinced by Mr. Murray's reasoning, and the short but clear abstract of it in the second volume of the Narrative of the Voyage has since had the assent of all his colleagues."

Nor is this the only case, though it is the most important, in which Mr. Murray has had strength to be a great iconoclast. Along with the earlier specimens of deep-sea deposits sent home by naturalists during the first soundings in connection with the Atlantic telegraph cable, there was very often a sort of enveloping slimy mucus in the containing bottles which arrested the attention and excited the curiosity of the specialists to whom they were consigned. It was structureless to all microscopic examination. But so is all the protoplasmic matter of which the lowest animals are formed. Could it be a widely diffused medium of this protoplasmic material, not yet specialised or individualised into organic forms, nor itself yet in a condition to build up inorganic skeletons for a habitation? Here was a grand idea. It would be well to find missing links; but it would be better to find the primordial pabulum out of which all living things had come. The ultra-Darwinian enthusiasts were enchanted. Haeckel clapped his hands and shouted out Eureka loudly. Even the cautious and discriminating mind of Professor Huxley was caught by this new and grand generalisation of the ' physical basis of life.' It was announced by him to the British

Narr. Chall.' Exp. vol. i. p. 781.

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tively definite, how much more is this lesson impressed upon us when, concerning far deeper and more complicated things, explanations are offered which are in themselves obscure, full of metaphor, full of the pitfalls and traps due to the ambiguities of language-explanations which are incapable of being reduced to proof, and concern both agencies and results of which we are profoundly ignorant.


VOL. XXII. No 127.






of Mr. Gladstone's old unconverted plan. The plan converted, or to be converted, is the one he adopts and upholds; and the conversion of the plan has been brought about by the opposition of the Liberal Unionists to the surrender originally offered by Mr. Gladstone.

On the other hand, the Government is weaker than when the Session began. It has been losing, not gaining, in credit and consideration. I speak of home affairs only. The Leader of the House of Commons has qualities which win every one's good word; he has filled his difficult position far better than people in general expected, and on the whole with success. Mr. Balfour, who did not begin happily, has since shown himself to possess great vigour and resource. The Government has carried and applied the closure, which the country, I am convinced, heartily wished to be carried and applied; it has also carried the Crimes Bill, which its adversaries loudly and confidently defied it to carry. Still it is at the present time visibly, I am sorry to say, declined and declining in consideration, credit, and power. True it has actually lost only four seats, but the change indicated by the voting at those and other elections is grave. Nor can the Government show any important gain, except in one constituency, to set on the other side. It is manifest that the democracy, in whose impulses lies the Government's danger, is beginning to move; while, on the other hand, the great body of quiet reasonable people, in whose support lies the Government's strength, are somewhat discouraged and disconcerted.

Let me recall two warnings which I was moved to give (it is so easy to give warnings!), one of them in a letter to the Times more than a year ago, the other in this Review just before the present Session began. In the Times, after a misunderstood and unfortunate speech by Lord Salisbury, I urged that however necessary restraining measures for Ireland might be, still for the Government to rely on restraining measures merely was to play the game of their adversaries and to deliver us over to Cleon and his democracy. In this Review I urged, when the Session was about to begin, that of fumbling and failure the country has had more than enough, that people are become impatient of seeing the efforts of Government turn awry and our affairs go amiss; that success, clear and broad success, is what the general sentiment earnestly demands from the Government and its measures.

Now it is evident that, if the first of these two warnings was sound, the Government could not expect that the Crimes Bill, a purely restraining measure, would be sufficient alone. It might be accepted, and I am convinced it was accepted, by the great body of quiet reasonable people as a necessity, and as such approved, but with the understanding that fit remedial measures would follow it. By the democracy, by the new electorate, any Crimes Bill was sure to be regarded with impatience and misgiving. It might be just

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