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the forms of life prevalent in the island of Madagascar Care so striking that claims have been put forward in its favour to be considered as a distinct primary geographical region of the earth.' Dr. Sclater also draws attention to the very curious fact,
quite unparalleled, as far as is hitherto known, in any other fauna, that nearly two-thirds of the whole number of known species of the mammals of this island are members of one peculiar group of Quadrumana.' The family of Lemuridæ contains no less than eight generic types all different from those found in Africa and India, although this group is also represented in Africa by the abnormal form Perodicticus, and in India by Nycticebus and Loris, two allied genera. The celebrated Aye Aye (Chiromys Madagascariensis), a specimen of which anomalous animal is at present in the New Monkey House in the Zoological Society's Gardens, Regent's Park, is considered by Prof. Owen to be more nearly allied to some of the African Galagos than to any other form of animal. Of Insectivora, the genera Centetes, Ericulus, and Echinogale, small animals resembling hedgehogs in outward appearance, are thought to be most nearly allied to an American genus ! From the anomalies in the mammalian fauna of this island Dr. Sclater arrives at the following deductions, which, however, as they are based upon the hypothesis of the derivative origin of species, cannot at present be deemed altogether conclusive : '1. Madagascar has never been connected with Africa, as it at
This would seem probable from the absence of certain all-pervading Æthiopian types in Madagascar, such as Antelope, Hippopotamus, Felis, &c. But on the other hand, the presence of Lemurs in Africa renders it certain that Africa, as it at present exists, contains land that once formed part of Madagascar.
2. Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands (which are universally acknowledged to belong to the same category) must have remained for a long epoch separated from every other part of the globe, in order to have acquired the many peculiarities now exhibited in their mammal fauna-e.g., Lemur, Chiromys, Eupleres, Centetes, &c.,--to be elaborated by the gradual modification of pre-existing forms.
63. Some land-connexion must have existed in former ages between Madagascar and India, whereon the original stock, whence the present Lemuridæ of Africa, Madagascar, and India, are descended, flourished.
64. It must be likewise allowed that some sort of connexion must also have existed between Madagascar and land which now forms part of the New World—in order to permit the derivation of the Centetinæ from a common stock with the Solenodon, and to account for the fact that the Lemuridæ, as a body, are certainly more nearly allied to the weaker forms of American monkeys than to any of the Simiidæ of tho Old World.'
• The anomalies of the Mammal fauna of Madagascar can best be explained by supposing that, anterior to the existence of Africa in its present shape, a large continent occupied parts of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, stretching out towards (what is now) America on the West, and to India and its islands on the East; that this continent was broken up into islands of which some became amalgamated with the present continent of Africa, and some possibly with what is now Asia—and that in Madagascar and the Mascarene islands we have existing relics of this great continent.'
We fain would have lingered on the natural products of this interesting island, to drink of the refreshing liquid furnished by the traveller-tree, and to admire the sago palms and other vegetable forms, but space forbids our dwelling longer on the natural productions of the Tropics.* We could have spoken of the aspects of tropical nature as it appears in Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and other islands of the Pacific Ocean, but we must stop. We ought not, however, to conclude these gleanings without a brief notice of Dr. Hartwig's popular book, whose title we have placed at the head of this article. There are those who look with contempt on popular science of all kinds, and regard with undisguised aversion such compilations as the one before us. We do not share these feelings in the least degree; on the contrary, we welcome most heartily such introductions to the Study of Natural History.
* In our own territory of the Seychelles Islands, 40 to 5° S., 300 miles N.E. of the great island just alluded to, we see one of the strangest of vegetable produce tions, the double cocoa-nut, or Lodoicea, which was fully described by Mr. Ward in the - Journal of the Linnean Society, 1864 :'— The shortest period before the tree puts forth its buds is 30 years, and 100 years must elapse before it attains its full growth. One plant in the Garden at Government House, planted 15 years ago, is quite in its infancy, about 16 feet in beight, but with no stem yet visible, the long leaves shooting from the earth like the Traveller's Palm (Urania speciosa), and much resembling it in shape, but much larger. Unlike the cocoanut-trees, which bend to every gale and are never quite straight, the cocode-mer-trees are as upright as iron pillars. At the age of 30 the trees first put forth blossoms. The female tree alone produces the nut, and is 6 feet shorter than the male, which attains a height of 100 feet. From fructification to full maturity a period of nearly 10 years elapses.' But the remarkable point is the arrangement of the roots unlike any other tree. The base of the trunk is of a bulbous form, and this bulb fits into a natural bowl or socket about 2} feet in diameter and 1} foot in depth, narrowing to the bottom. This bowl is pierced with hundreds of small oval holes about the size of thimbles, with hollow tubes corresponding on the outside, through which the roots penetrate the ground on all sides, never, however, becoming attached to the bow), their partial elasticity affording an almost imperceptible, but very necessary play to the parent stem when struggling against the force of violent gales. This bowl is of the same substance as the shell of the nut, only much thicker. As far as can be ascertained, it never rots or wears out. It has been found quite perfect and entire in every respect 60 years after the tree has been cut down. At Curiense many sockets are still remaining which are known to have belonged to trees cut down by the first settlers in the island (1742). One of these sockets is to be seen in the Museum of woods at Kew.
True, they may be sometimes of little scientific value, but they are very useful stepping-stones to something more solid. They are more especially intended for the young, but those of mature years may derive much profit by a perusal of many of these works, and even the naturalist may read them with pleasure and instruction. The numerous beautifully illustrated and carefully compiled works on natural history, such as the book before us, together with The Sea and its living Wonders,' by the same writer, with Routledge's admirable ‘Natural History,' and several of the Christian Knowledge Society's publications, which have appeared within the last few years, are an encouraging sign of the growing interest which the rising generation takes in the study of the great Creator's Works, and we heartily wish them
• God speed,
ART. VII.-- Report of Debate on the Oxford Tests Bill, June
14th, 1865. Times.' London. THE JHE great constitutional conflict in which we are engaged
is bringing home to the minds of many reflective men a question which from time to time has troubled the consciences of churchmen, ever since the Christian Church became a power in the world. Political questions, in which the Church is deeply interested, have risen up, and have become the battle-field of parties. The purity of the doctrines which she is commissioned to teach—her possession of the places of education, where she has hitherto been supreme-and the means which the piety of past generations has confided to her for the support of her fabrics and her ministers—are threatened by the legislative action of the House of Commons. Up to this time the blow has been to a great extent averted; but the escape has been so narrow, that it furnishes no ground for counting on similar good fortune at a future time. The question then arises, what is the duty of the Church under these circumstances ? May she use the arm of the flesh in her self-defence ? May she avail herself of the vast political power which her influence places in her hands to resist the subversive party in the House of Commons? In a word, may she descend into the political arena and fight, as others do, for her own rights? Or is the battle of politics so degrading-so alien to her character-so injurious to her mission that she is bound rather to suffer wrong, and stand helplessly by while the spoliation is going on? If Churchmen had to decide the question by mere feeling, there would be no doubt as to the response. The lower forms of political warfare are neither edifying nor attractive, Vol. 118.- No. 235.
There is no greater sacrifice made by the highly educated classes in England to their country's welfare than the part which they take in politics. The natural effect of all the refining influences which are brought into play by an age of civilisation is certainly not to increase the taste for electioneering. At every election it becomes more and more manifest that the increasing dislike of it in the better class of minds is producing deplorable effects upon the constitution of the House of Commons. If this is growing to be the feeling of the laity, it must exist much more intensely in the minds of the clergy. A struggle of any kind has in it little that is congenial with the work they have to do. If it were possible, they would gladly allow no thoughts but those of peace to intrude upon minds absorbed in the task of carrying comfort to the afflicted, healing to the penitent, and to all the good tidings of another world free from strife and turmoil. It is easy to understand that they should constantly feel tempted to turn away from the struggle of earthly politics, as from something unsuited to their exalted mission, and that the very best among them should often be the first to yield to the temptation. The contrast between the spiritual future, of which a Christian should think, and the earthly present, in which he is forced to live, is often startling enough; and at no time does that contrast take a more obtrusive form than during the time of a contested election,
If nothing but the gratification of feeling were concerned, many minds would indeed earnestly desire that the Church should be wholly separated from the world. The ideal of a Christian Church, which unsobered, unsaddened enthusiasm is prone to form, is something removed not only from the strife of political parties, but from every secular duty and from every earthly care. A class of men living solely for the Gospel, exclusively occupied in the performance of their ministry and the delivery of their message-never bestowing a thought upon their own sustenance or that of those dependent on them, or on the means for supporting their religion and its ministers at future times or in other places-such a class of men would be a glorious spectacle; and the idea of it has been the beguiling dream of many a warm imagination. But the whole experience of the Christian Church has proved it, again and again by reiterated experiments, to be nothing but a dream. Again and again sects have started up repudiating the worldly cares that had corrupted those whom they aspired to supplant, and trusting for their own support to unsolicited enthusiasm ; and after a time, when the first fervour of new zeal had cooled away, they too have been compelled to make provision, either by endowments or by begging organisations, for the secular conditions of religious ministration. Clergymen,
like the rest of mankind, must eat. Those who serve the altar must live of the altar. Unfortunately the altar does not produce the means of sustenance by itself. Unless the faithful will lay upon the altar the means by which he who serves it may live, he must inevitably starve. But the experience of mankind has ascertained, beyond dispute, that the spontaneous offerings of the people will furnish a very scanty sustenance for the priest. Some system or other, therefore, has been adopted in every religious communion, of any length of standing, for extracting from the worshippers contributions sufficient for the maintenance of their worship. In the Church of England and in most other religious bodies there are two ways of carrying out this object. One is to take advantage of periods during which religious zeal is running high to provide, by means of permanent endowments, against the effect of its inevitable ebb, and so in the end to lean for support on the gifts of the dead; the other is to draw it-it might almost be said to extort it—by sheer importunity from the living. The various religious bodies avail themselves of one or other of these systems of sustenance, according to their circumstances. Those that are of some antiquity are generally able to lean to a great extent upon endowments. The newer sects, on the other hand, are compelled to content themselves with indefatigable begging. But the two systems, whatever the contrast between them and whatever their respective merits may be, resemble each other at least in one point. They both bring the Church into the closest connection with the world, and make her spiritual efficiency dependent on her secular prosperity. Both are fatal to the ideal of a priesthood exalted above all worldly cares. In fact, the necessity of soliciting from others the means of his own sustenance, is of the two far the most unsuitable to the character of a Divine messenger, and most likely to mar the power of his appeals. Once admit that organised efforts for the collection of money for religious purposes are within the legitimate province of a Christian minister, and that the unspiritual details of such undertakings are sanctified by the noble end they have in view, and you concede the principle that a clergyman may becomingly take part in every lawful struggle for the pecuniary interests of the religious body to which he belongs. The clergyman of an unendowed denomination has no choice but to demand, or at least to solicit some substantial return for his services from those who take advantage of them; but in so doing he wholly surrenders the grand imagination of the minister of Heaven disdaining to stoop to the lower cares of life, or to mingle in the struggle for existence. The truth is indeed well recognised that endowment, of all con