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ture: no such experiments are going on at present no such energy. operates as that which is here supposed, and which should be constantly pushing into existence new varieties of beings ; nor are there any appearances to support an opinion, that every possible combination of vegetable or animal structure has formerly been tried.- Multitudes of conformations, both of vegetables and animals, may be conceived capable of existence and succession, which yet do not exist. Perhaps almost as many forms', of plants might have been found in the fields, as figures of plants can be delineated upon paper. A countless variety of animals might have existed which do not exist. Upon the supposition here stated, we should see unicorns and mermaids, sylphs and centaurs; the fancies of painters and the fables of poets realized .by examples. Or, if it be alledged, that..these, may transgress the limits of possible life and propagation, we might, at least, have nations of human beings without nails upon their fingers,, wjtth more or fewer fingers and toq> thap ten, some with one eye^.oibers "with one ear, wj|h. one nostrUjMjor without the sense pf,vsn}ejling,a;t all. AU-these, afuLia' thoiusarjd other, imaginable <Wano'i F 3 varieties, varieties, might live and propagate. We may modify any one species many different ways, all consistent with life, and with the actions necessary to preservation, although affording different degrees of convenience and enjoyment to the animal. And if we carry these modifications through the different species which are known to subsist, their number would be incalculable. No reason can be given why, if these deperdits ever existed, they have now difappeared. Yet, if all possible existences have been tried, they must have formed part of the catalogue.
But moreover, the division of organized substances into animals and vegetables, and the distribution and sub-distribution of each into genera and species, which distribution is not an arbitrary act of the mind, but is founded in the order which prevails in external nature, appear to me to contradict the supposition of the present world being the remains of an indefinite variety of existences; of a variety which rejects all plan. The hypothesis 'teaches, that every possible variety of being hath, at one time or other, found its way into existence (by what cause, or in what manner is not said), and that tivose which wero.bksty •'"' I f formed, formed, perished: but how or why those which survived should be cast, as we see that plants and animals are cast, into regular classes, the hypothesis does not explain ; or rather the hypothesis is inconsistent with this phenomenon.
The hypothesis, indeed, is hardly deserving of the consideration which we have given to it. What should we think of a man, who, because we had never ourselves seen watches, telescopes, stocking-mills, steam-engines, &c, made; knew not how they were made; or could prove by testimony when they were made, or by whom ;—would have us believe that these machines, instead of deriving their curious structures from the thought and design of their inventors and contrivers, in truth derive them from no other origin that this; that, a mass of metals and other materials having run when melted into all possible figures, and combined themselves in all possible forms and shapes and proportions, these things which we fee, are what were left from the accident, as best worth preserving 'r and, as such, are become the remaining stock of a magazine, which, at one time or other, has, by this means, contained every mechanism, useful and useless, con, fWti.* F 4 venient vtfhient and inconvenient, into which such like materials could be thrown? I cannot distinguish the hypothesis as applied to the works of nature, from this solution, which no one would accept, as applied to a collection of machines.
V. To the marks of contrivance discoverable in animal bodies, and to the argument deduced from them, in proof of design, and of a designing Creator, this turn is sometimes attempted to be given, viz. that the parts were not intended for the use, but that the use arose out of the parts. This distinction is intelligible. A cabinet-maker rubs his mahogany with Mr. fkin; yet it would be too much to assert that the (skin of the dog fish was made rough and granulated on purpose for the polishing of wood, and the use of cabinet-makers. Therefore" the distinction is intelligible. But I think that there is very little place for it in the works of nature. When roundly and generally affirmed of them, as it hath sometimes been, it amounts to such another stretch of assertion, as it would be to fay,. that all the implements of the cabinet-maker's workshop, as well as his fish* (kin, were substances ?ccidentallyconfiguratedv which he hadpdcked up, and converted to His :»<"'" i I use;
use; that his adzes, faws, planes, and gimlets, were not made, as, we suppose, to hew, cut, smooth, shape out, or bore wood with; but that, these things being made, no matter with what design, or whether with any, the cabinet-maker perceived that they were applicable to his purpose, and turned them to account.
But, again; so far as this solution is attempted to be applied to those parts of animals, the action of which does not depend upon the will of the animal, it is fraught with still more evident absurdity. Is it possible to believe that the eye was formed without any regard to vision; that it was the animal itself which found out, that though formed with no such intention, it would serve to see with ; ,and that the use of the eye, as an organ of sight, resulted from this discovery, and the animal's application of it? The fame question may be asked of, the ear; the same of all the senses. None, of the senses fundamentally depend upon the election of the animal: consequently neither upon his fagacity,, nor his experience Vr It is the impression which objects make upon them that constitutes their use. Under that impression he is passive. He may bring C)bjf?ct$ toijthe fease, or within its reach ;;bejnay select