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SCIENTIFIC USE OF THE IMAGINATION. 155

doubt in the matter, it ought to be given in favor of the
freedOm of such a mind. To it a vast possibility is in. it-
.Self a dynamic power, though the possibility may never
be drawn upon. It gives me pleasure to think that the
facts and reasonings of this discourse tend rather toward
the justification of Mr. Darwin than toward his condemna-
tion, that they tend rather to augment than to diminish the
cubic space demanded by this soaring speculator; for they
seem to show the perfect competence of matter and force,
as regards divisibility and distribution, to bear the heaviest
strain that he has hitherto imposed upon. them.

In the case of Mr. Darwin, observation, imagination, and
reason combined, have run back with wonderful sagacity
and success over a certain length of the line of biological
succession. Guided by analogy, in his “ Origin of Species,”
he placed at the root of life a primordial germ, from which
he conceived the amazing richness and variety of the life
that now is upon the earth’s surface might be deduced. If
this hypothesis were true, it would not be final. The hu-
man imagination would infallibly look behind the germ,
and, however hopeless the attempt, would inquire into the
history of its genesis. In this dim twilight of conjecture
the searcher welcomes every ‘gleam, and seeks to augment
his light by indirect incidences. He studies the methods
of Nature in the ages and the worlds within his reach, in
order to shape the course of speculation in the antecedent
ages and worlds. And though the certainty possessed by
experimental inquiry is here shut out, the imagination is
not left entirely without guidance. From the examination
of the solar system, Kant and Laplace came to the conclu-
sion that its various bodies once formed parts of the same
undislocated mass ; that matter in a nebulous form preceded
matter in a dense form; that as the ages rolled away, heat
was wasted, condensation followed, planets were detached,
and that finally the chief portion of the fiery cloud reached,

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