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that with any species of migratory bird breeding can, as a rule, be only safely accomplished in a certain area; and, further, that during a large part of the rest of the year sufficient food cannot be obtained in that area. It will follow that those birds which do not leave the breeding area at the proper season will suffer, and ultimately become extinct; which will also be the fate of those which do not leave the subsistence area at the proper time. Now, if we suppose that the two areas were (for some remote ancestor of the existing species) coincident, but through geological and climated changes gradually diverged from each other, we can easily understand how the habit of incipient and partial migration at the proper season would become hereditary (through the action of natural selection), and so fixed as to appear to be what we term an instinct. It will probably be found that every gradation still exists in various parts of the world, from a complete coincidence to a complete separation of the breeding and subsistence areas; and when the life-histories of a sufficient number of species are thoroughly worked out, we shall find every link between species which never leave a restricted area in which they breed and live the whole year round, to those other cases in which the two areas are very widely separated. The actual causes that determine the exact time, year by year, at which certain species migrate, will, of course, be difficult to ascertain. I would suggest, however, that they will be found to depend upon the climatal changes which most affect each species. The change of colour, or the fall of certain leaves; the change to the pupa state of certain larvæ ; prevalent winds or rains, or even the decreased temperature of earth or water, may all have their influence. Ample materials must now exist, in the case of European birds, for an instructive work on this subject. The two areas should be carefully determined for a number of species; the times of their movements should be compared with those of the natural phenomena likely to influence them; the past changes of surface, of climate, and of vegetation should be taken account of; and there seems no reason to doubt that such a mode of research would throw much light on the problem."
In an article on “The Problem of Instinct" in my “Studies” (vol. i. chap. xxii.), I have supplemented the above theory as to why birds migrate, by another as to how they migrate, and trace it wholly to experience, the young birds following the old ones ; but an enormous proportion of the young fail to make the outward or the homeward journey safely.
I have given a summary of these three papers here, because the views I set forth explain some of the most remarkable cases of what have been termed instincts among the higher animals, as being really due to instruction and imitation, together with the exercise of specially acute faculties of smell or sight, of memory and a moderate amount of intelligence. It is because I go farther in this direction than any other writer I am acquainted with that I put this subject among my “new ideas.”
In 1894 I wrote an article for the Nineteenth Century on the question of the proper observance of Sunday, which I have reprinted in my “Studies " under the title, “A Counsel of Perfection for Sabbatarians." In this short article I define clearly, I think for the first time, what the "work” so strictly and impressively forbidden really is, and then show how utterly inconsistent are the great majority of sabbatarians, who themselves break the commandment both in letter and spirit, while they loudly condemn others for acts which are not forbidden by it. I also show how the commandment can be and should be strictly kept by all who believe it to be a Divine command, and point out the good results which would follow such a mode of obeying it. That the idea was new and its reasoning unanswerable may be perhaps inferred from the fact that no reply, so far as I know, was made to it; while a well-known writer was so impressed by it that he made his own bed the following Sunday in accordance with its suggestions.
One other new idea of quite a different nature I will refer to here, because I think that publicity may yet lead to its
adoption and to the consequent annual saving of life and property. I was led to it by having seen the effects of the explosion of a powder barge on the Regent's Canal when I was living in the neighbourhood (some time in the sixties) ; and again while living at Grays and often passing the great magazine at Purfleet, where there had been an explosion some years before. On reading of the elaborate and costly precautions at all such magazines, and of explosions occurring somewhere almost every year notwithstanding all precautions, it occurred to me that there was a simple way of rendering such explosions impossible, and at the same time reducing largely the cost of storing all explosives.
The plan was to store all gunpowder, cartridges, and other explosives in metal drums, either hexagonal or circular in form and of uniform size and height, fitted at top with an air-tight cap of a size suited to the kind of explosive it contained. These drums would be arranged in rows in shallow, open tanks, filled with water so as to cover the lids, the water being kept at a uniform level by an inflow and overflow. Such tanks would need no protection whatever, except against thieves, and no precautions whatever would be required. For the conveyance of powder, etc., trucks and barges with watertanks could be used, and in factories all explosive materials should be kept under water, so that if an explosion occurred during the actual processes of manufacture it would be strictly limited, and could not extend either to the stores of material or of the finished product, since if the water were all blown away by the concussion the contents would remain uninjured.
I drew up a careful statement of the advantages of this plan, with a drawing of the proposed drum, and sent it through a friend to Sir Thomas Brassey, then a Lord of the Admiralty, requesting him to lay it before the proper authorities. In reply I received a memorandum from the Director of Naval Ordnance, referring me to the" Treatise of Ammunition, 1881" (a copy of which was sent), as to "the present service powdercases.” He added that the plan would be difficult, and perhaps impossible on board ship, on account of the extra space required. The last paragraph was
“For permanent depôts of powder like Upnor the idea seems worthy of attention, and Mr. Wallace might address the War Office on the subject after informing himself as to the present service powder-cases.
“F. A. HERBERT.
“ 20. 6. 82,"
As the Treatise sent merely showed that copper drums were in use something similar to those I suggested, but the interminable pages of instructions and precautions made no reference whatever to water-storage, I did not trouble myself to send my plan to the War Office. I, however, sent it to a few newspapers, where it appeared, and I received in consequence a letter from the editor of the Ironmonger approving of the plan for large stores of powder, but fearing it could not be applied to retail dealers, where explosions, often fatal, were continually occurring, almost always through "gross negligence."
It thus appears that good authorities could see no practical objections to the plan in most cases, neither did they deny the absolute security that would be obtained by it ; yet the crop of explosions, with loss of life, goes on every few years, and till some one in authority takes it up, will, I presume, continue.
Having devoted three chapters to an account of my various experiences in connection with modern spiritualism, which have, however, been far less extraordinary than those of many of my friends, I may not improperly conclude this record of my life and experience with a statement of a few of the predictions which I have received at different times, and which have been to some extent fulfilled.
In 1870 and the following years several communications in automatic writing were received through a member of my family purporting to be from my brother William, with whom I had lived so many years. In some of these he referred to
my disappointments in obtaining employment and to my money losses, always urging me not to trouble myself about my affairs, which would certainly improve ; but I was not to be in a hurry. These messages never contained any proofs of identity, and I did not therefore feel much interest in them, and their ultimate fulfilment, though in quite unexpected ways, cannot be considered to be of any great importance.
Some years later, when we were living at Dorking, my little boy, then five years old, became very delicate, and seemed pining away without any perceptible ailment. At that time I was being treated myself for a chronic complaint by an American medium, in whom I had much confidence; and one day, when in his usual trance, he told me, without any inquiry on my part, that the boy was in danger, and that if we wished to save him we must leave Dorking, go to a more bracing place, and let him be out-of-doors as much as possible and "have the smell of the earth." I then noticed that we were all rather languid without knowing why, and therefore removed in the spring to Croydon, where we all felt stronger, and the boy at once began to get better, and has had fair health ever since.
Some time afterwards I accompanied a lady friend of mine to have a séance with the same medium, she being quite unknown to him. Among many other interesting things, he told us that something would happen before very long which would cause us to see less of each other, but would not affect our friendship. We neither of us could guess what that could be, but a year or two later the lady married a very old friend, a widower, whose wife at the time of the prediction was, I think, alive, while he was living in a distant colony without any expressed intention of coming home. After the marriage they went to live in Devonshire, and for some years we only met at very long intervals. These two cases seem to me to be genuine clairvoyance or prediction.
But much more important than the preceding are certain predictions which were made to me in April, 1896, and which have been fulfilled during the succeeding eight years. At