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Hence it becomes a point of inquiry whether these acces- sions to our knowledge have been such as in any way to affect the previously received notions as to the existence of organised life in the heavenly bodies. Viewed simply as a question of philosophical con- jecture, or rational probability, without reference to any ulterior consideration, the argument must be based on an extension of inductive analogies, a gene- ralisation (so far as we can legitimately pursue it) upon the acknowledged relations of animated ex- istence with physical conditions and cosmical arrange- ments adapted to it. And it pay to do paper is in this point of view that we must, in the first instance, proceed to consider it. At the same time, so numerous are the points of relation between the simple question of probability as to the fact of inhabitants in the heavenly bodies, and various collateral topics of higher interest, that the larger portion of the discussion, as taken up by the disputants already referred to, is in fact chiefly occupied by these collateral topics, to which the more simple question is manifestly regarded as subordinate : and it is probable that the public has been induced to feel an interest in the subject more from a reference to such ulterior considerations than from the intrinsic attractions of the primary question itself.
But notwithstanding the ample discussion which this subject has received from two such eminent dis- putants, it is still, in my opinion, left by them in an unsatisfactory state. Not so much in regard to the mere question itself, which ever must remain in un- certainty, as with respect to a just appreciation of the true grounds on which the discussion of it should be taken up, as well as of the bearing and influence which it may have upon those higher contemplations with which both these writers (though in opposite ways) have combined it. It is, then, in this general point of view, and in its connexion with pay to do paper other topics of philosophical inquiry, rather than as to the mere details of astronomy, that it is here proposed to treat the subject. Yet to a few of those details some attention must be paid in the first instance. The question as to the probable present habitable condition of the planets or the existence of intelli- gent beings upon them, is closely connected with the past history of the system. And the discussion of inhabited worlds has been much mixed up with that of the process of transitions through which they may have passed from an original nebulous or vapor- ous state to their existing condition. When the former theory was broached by Laplace, he ob- served, indeed, that it received some confirmation by analogy from the then recent discoveries of the sidereal nebulae by the elder Herschel. That highly distinguished astronomer had observed Sidereal nebulae. Moreover, there were great diversities of form and species of such matter. Some were mere faint patches of dull light : others exhibited something like a nucleus, or brighter centre: others a distinct star surrounded with nebulous matter: others various combinations of stellar and nebulous appearances, often presenting irregular portions, and many of variously formed 186 UNITY OF WORLDS. Hence he was naturally led to the conjecture that these might be only gradual and progressive stages of formation from mere diffuse nebulous matter up to condensed stars, or solid masses.
We might well stop to expatiate on the magni- Relation of nebulje to ficent scene thus presented to our contemplation, as the solar system.
And those who expect either to confirm or to refute any supposed relations or con- ditions of our planetary system with what may be observed or imagined in the sidereal nebulae are altogether on a wrong course. Here, then, an argument has been raised : As successive portions of nebulas become resolvable when we apply successively higher powers, so it is inferred we may reasonably extend this argument, ESSAY II. To this, however, there is opposed one remarkable fact viz. It has hence been an inference 190 UNITY OF WORLDS.
Some nebu- This perpetual disclosure pay to do paper of new unformed nebu- lae real : not merely op- lous filaments and appendages to central stellar tical. All which the author considers as supporting the conclusion, that these nebulous appearances are actually and properly such, and differ from clusters of stars, not merely in semblance from the optical effect of dis- tance, but in their own nature as real aggregations of diffuse cosmical matter of some kind.
Question Some real test would probably be supplied, if of proper motion. Nichol, pub- lished in his " System of the World," p. Hence the existence or amount of proper motion is, generally speaking, something like a measure of distance. If then, other clusters and nebulae, not connected with single stars, should show considerable proper motion of such a kind as accords with the motion of the solar system, it would be a proof of their proximity. But pay to do paper until such proof has been given, it is obviously a premature generalisation to assert of all the nebula? It is, however, obvious, that if there were the most rapid revolution in any portions of these systems, they may be at too immense a distance to enable us to detect it till after centuries of obser- vation. A distant planet moving with the velocity of several thousand miles in a minute, presents no sensible motion even to the astronomer, with the nicest instruments, except by comparison of observations after considerable intervals. How much more, then, may the infinitely more remote components of a starry cluster seem to be at rest even though they may Really be whirled in a second through inconceivably vast regions of space about their centre of gravity? But there is a still more striking point which has Spiral forms of nebulae. And an analogy is imme- diately suggested with a revolving system, with bodies urged towards a centre in contracting spirals, because the orbits they would have described round that centre are continually compressed by the action of a dense retarding medium through which they move. The apparent motion is probably very slow, owing to the immense distance of the nebulas. The nebula3 can no more properly be called the "outskirts of creation," than the nearest planets. A microscopic animalcule on the sea shore might as well conclude that the whole universe consisted of nothing but those enormous masses, the grains of sand, which are all that he could see around him, and as well deny the existence of the land and the ocean, with their varied inhabitants, because beyond his limited vision.