5 APRIL 1879, Page 21

MOSELEY'S VOYAGE OF THE CHALLENGER.'* WITHOUT verbal ornament, without grace

of style, Mr. Moseley tells his story of the ' Challenger's ' voyage in a plain-spoken way that is creditable to him as a scientific man, and will be agreeable to the general reader, who will not be dismayed by toilsome data and calculations as to the interchange of warm and cool streams at various depths, nor disgusted by flippant log- book entries about what befell the good ship's company on a voyage that was almost devoid of striking incident. .It is, how- ever, a pity that the present volume, by the nature of its subject, can hardly fail to provoke in the minds of most people a com- parison with Mr. Darwin's celebrated Journal of Researches, made during the voyage of the Beagle,' for such a comparison is not at all in favour of the later work. Mr. Darwin was a field-naturalist and an out-door observer, before he was a voyager and explorer. It is manifest in every chapter, and in many pages of every chapter, that the case is inverted as regards Mr. Moseley. Both these gentlemen, it is true, had received the education provided by their respective Universities, and thanks to the scientific age in which we live, the younger of them had enjoyed opportunities of instruction denied to his predecessor ; but the training given by physiological laboratories and biological lectures, however valuable it may be for certain purposes, can never create the out-door observer. The real out-door observer is born to observation, and the best of scientific educations is powerless to supply the marvellous skill which seems to come instinctively to many a schoolboy with tastes for bird's-nesting and snake-hunting. Let us not be misunderstood. We are far from underrating the value of scientific instruction in biology, and have no wish to speak slightingly of it. On the contrary, we hold that instruction to be most necessary and useful. It would have saved many a man from becoming a mere butcher of antelopes and buffaloes, and have made of him, perhaps, a great zoologist. But it does not, and cannot, as at present carried on, turn him into a field-naturalist, and its effect is utterly lost on most of its pupils when they leave the class- room. The boy who will pass a half-holiday crouched motion- less in the lush herbage of a river-bank, that he may stealthily watch the doings of a family of water-rats, or the boy who will rise before daybreak, that ere the school-bell rings he may have traced the grasshopper-lark to her curiously concealed treasure, is already a field-naturalist. He it is whom professors, lecturers, and demonstrators should try to train to the cultivation and exercise of higher faculties. Such boys abound in our public schools. -As a rule, it is notorious that they hate Greek verbs, and are scarcely fonder of geometrical problems. They are set • Notes by a Naturalist on the 'Challenger,' being an Account of Various Observations made during the Voyage of H.M.S. ' Challenger' round the World, in the rears 1872- 1876. By IL N. Moseley, M.A., F.B.S. London : Macmillan and Co. 1879. down as dunces, and if the assistant-master, whose duty it is to administer an hebdomadal three hours of what is called " science " takes them in hand, he probably has not the slightest sympathy with their pursuits, and at the end of a couple of lessons succeeds in completely disgusting them by what he tells them of chemical formula: or the reflex action of nerves. Botanists get on better with their pupils,—that is, systematic botanists do, for we are not so sure of the success of physiological botanists in this par- ticular. They tell them how such or such a plant may be dis- tinguished, and where it should be looked for. They rejoice with their learners when the prize is found, and gladly listen to the whole story of its fu►ding. So, too, with geologists, or rather palaeontologists. They congratulate the tiro on the nautilus or the encrinite he brings home, or the saurian vertebra he has unearthed, and explain to him its bearing on the geological " horizon " to which it belongs. With zoology it is otherwise. The art of teaching that science in schools " acceptably " (to use an old-fashioned word) is yet to be learned by the teacher. Hence our youthful zoologists are not led to follow their natural tastes to any advantage. Destruction of animal life seems to be the only course left open to them, and it soon becomes all-power- ful. If opportunities are allowed them, they grow up into Gordon- Cummings or "Old Shekarries." If these opportunities are denied most of them lose their love of the study altogether ; but a few limit their energies to pinning the butterflies or the beetles of their county, or perhaps set about forming a " collection " of British birds, with the help of the village barber, who combines with his own useful calling that very useless (in nine cases out of ten) avocation called a taxidermist's.

We confess to having wandered a little from our subject, but the reason is not far to seek. Mr. Moseley (of whose previous career we may say we know nothing more than we gather from his book) was obviously not one of those zoologically or botanic- ally inspired boys of whom we have been speaking. But his voyage in the ` Challenger' has, as obviously, evoked in him a dormant faculty, and the precious experience of boyhood was only wanting to have rendered him as good an observer as was Mr. Darwin. His work, it appears to us, had lain in the close air of the laboratory, where the microscope and the scalpel must have been handled by him with a patience and dexterity that did credit to his own ability and to his teacher's instruction. He was also well read—or has since so become—beyond the common run of well-read biologists, in the literature of his science. But when he took up the calling of a field-naturalist, he was " abroad " in more than one sense. The divine afflatus of the observer had not before struck him, but strike him it doubtless did, as countless passages in his Notes prove, during his voyage.

So much has already been written on the ` Challenger ' expe- dition, that there is no need now to speak of its objects, nor even to give an outline of the ship's course. Mr. Moseley differs from his predecessors by omitting from his narrative accounts of the long voyages and dredgings,—subjects, indeed, that, so far as the general reader is concerned, have been well nigh exhausted by them, and dwells almost exclusively on what was seen and done ashore at the various places visited- The book is, therefore, of a most discursive nature, and one not easily reviewed in these columns. It contains scarcely a page or a paragraph upon which an article might not be founded, so full is it of instructive or, at any rate, of suggestive matter. One characteristic of the author is throughout revealed. He is a thorough-going Darwinian. " Evolution " is exuded, so to speak, on every occasion. Whether his subject be the curious caps worn by the men of Madeira, the sequence of plumage in white and blue herons, primitive earthworks, the origin of pile- dwellings, or the development of Chinese books, the principles of his great teacher, to whom he dedicates his book, are applied in explanation of each question, difficult or easy, and some- times, as it seems to us, without sufficient excuse. Logic is not Mr. Moseley's strong point, for though audacity in hypothesis- making is, to some extent, pardonable, if not laudable, he is apt to forget that framing an hypothesis is very different from estab- lishing it. He has, also, " no doubt " about far too many things, —things that, from their nature, can never be quite free from doubt. His Darwinism is, we admit, not of the rampant kind we have lately known in certain other works, yet it is some- times declared in connection with remarks of such extreme simplicity that there seems danger of its falling into disrepute. We are surprised at finding Mr. Moseley holding a belief " no doubt" (to use his favourite phrase) instilled into his mind when a child. He says (p. 125), "How strong is the tendency in birds to preserve their habits ! I know of no more striking instance of this than the fact that the Apteryx of New Zealand considers it necessary to put as much of its head as it can under its rudiment of a wing, when it goes to sleep." Now " the fact " is, that no birds put their heads under their wings, hymns sung in infant schools and Mr. Potts of New Zealand (whom Mr. Moseley quotes*) notwithstanding. And, surely Mr. Moseley is not true to his principles when he calls the Apteryx's wing a "rudiment,"—a " survival " would be nearer the mark. But there is a good deal of loose language throughout the book, due very likely to much of it (as he says in his preface) being printed directly from the sheets of his journal sent home from time to time. This, indeed, gives the volume a freshness of tone it would hardly have possessed had he rewritten it after his return ; but without diminishing that excellent quality, the friend who looked over his proofs might have corrected their slip-shod phraseology. Such blemishes as insular isolation " (p. 40), " galinis " (pp. 56, 57), foot-pace " (p. 62), beauties of scenery that are " derivative, not indigenous" (p. 141), " in relief " (p. 275), applied to a rude kind of stencill- ing, and many others that we could quote, might have been removed, without any loss, and with some gain. The punctua- tion, also, is often such as to obscure the author's meaning, and a very large proportion of the scientific names introduced are atrociously mis-spelt,—which may be natural enough when a man is writing away from books, but they should have been carefully revised in the press. Thus we have " Kathartes pernicopterus" (p. 53), " Chla»iyphorus" (p. 146), " Ziphoid " throughout for Xiphioid, " Mop/torus " (pp.448, 449), and others far too numerous to mention. Sir Thomas Browne would be surprised to find a work named "PsendoriaEpideenica" attributed to him (p. 426), and the frigate wrecked on Norfolk Island was certainly not the Syrius ' (p. 449). Blunders like these do not come well from a writer who complains that the main energies of the learned have been devoted to the study of the mouldy and worm-eaten lore of a by-gone age." (p. 421.) It is hard to select passages for quotation from a book with such varied contents. The notices of the flies which fly not because they have aborted wings (here, again, Mr. Moseley several times misuses the term " rudimentary "), of gnats and beetles in the same condition, or worse off, would alone supply a theme for a whole article. The accounts of penguins (the etymology of whose name the author does not give correctly), sea-elephants, Peripati, Planarice, coral-animals, and countless other zoological forms, are such as we long to extract. The description of the natives at Cape York is very interesting, and Lieutenant Channer's rough sketch of one of them—an old woman—(p. 355) is worth all the other illustrations in the volume. Nor is the account of the inhabitants of the Admiralty Islands in any way inferior to the former. As regards the characteristics of the races of men, Mr. Moseley seems to be an excellent observer.

We have already said that the voyage was not distinguished by any very remarkable event. The only thing approaching to an adventure was the occurrence at Humboldt Bay, in New Guinea, wherein the author was one of the chief actors. Some hours had passed in the exchange of commodities with the natives, received on their part, apparently with suspicion, when, in Mr. Moseley's words (p. 441),-

" I started with a party in a fully armed boat, with the intent of landing. As we approached the shore, a native warrior approached, standing, as usual, on the platform of a small canoe, paddled by two boys, sitting in the bow and stern; the man held up a yam, and made signs that he wished to barter ; we halted, and made signs of refusal.

We began to move toward shore, when the man ran to the end of the canoe nearest the boat, and fitting an arrow against the string of his bow, drew the bow with his full strength and pointed the arrow full at me ; I was standing up at the time, with a loaded double- barrelled gun in the stern of the boat. As he drew the bow, lie con- torted his face into the most hideous expression of rage, with his teeth clenched and exposed, and eyes starting. This expression was evidently assumed to terrify us, as an habitual part of the fight, and not because the man was really in a rage The native shifted his aim sometimes on to Von Willemoes Suhm, and sometimes on to Mr. Buchanan, who was nearest to him. We were in a dilemma ; the man evidently did not understand the use of fire-arms, for the whole boat's crew was fully armed, and we in the stern were all provided with guns. He evidently thought that we were unarmed, because we had no bows and arrows; he might have let slip an arrow five feet long into any one of us in an instant. We, of coarse, would not shoot the man in cold blood ; if we had fired over his head, be

• We had tone trouble to find the authority, owing to the references in the toot-notes haying been accidentally interchanged.

would certainly have let fly one arrow at least, and he was within six yards of the boat. The boys who paddled him were exuberantly delighted at the prowess and success of their warrior. The canoe was pushed up to the stern of our boat, and the man caught hold of our gunwale. Another canoe joined in to share in the spoil, and closed in at the stern also. The two warriors seized a large tin vasculum of mine from the seat, and immediately began struggling between themselves for it, and titling advantage of the struggle we pulled back to the ship."

This account may be somewhat meagre, but we must express our admiration of the conduct of Mr. Moseley and his shipmates, not only those named above, but also of Captain Thomson and Mr. Murray, who, though allowed to land and shoot a few birds, were warned away, this time by the women. Mr. Wallace,. in a recent number of the Contemporary Review (February, 1879, p. 435), has remarked on this proceeding, and believes that the attitude of the natives " was only a threat ;" that " savages do not commence a real attack in that theatrical way, and if they had been met with coolness, and their threats laughed at or treated with contempt, such demonstrations would soon have ceased." With all deference to Mr. Wallace's deservedly high authority on the manners and customs of barbarians, we may venture to doubt this. The game of brag is admittedly understood by the in- fantile minds of savages, but it seems clear that the assault on the Challenger's' boat, and the rape of Mr. Moseley's vaseulum (which, by the way, contained three bottles of soda-water), would have been followed by mischief of a very serious kind, had not he and his companions shown so much forbearance ; while in the absence of an interpreter any gesture of ridicule or contempt would have been resented by the native, as an insult not to be forgiven. We shudder at what might have been the possible consequences. Of course the Challenger's ' people would have been victorious in the fray, but at the very least one valuable life would not fail to have been sacrificed, and future intercourse with these people, who were but exercising their natural rights, would have been jeopardised.

Here let us part company with Mr. Moseley. We regret we have not space to quote his concluding paragraph, which is de- serving of every attention ; and we heartily wish that it may fall to his lot to organise and lead such an expedition as he therein recommends ; we could name no one more fitted for the under- taking.