By Louis Agassiz; Elizabeth Cary Agassiz
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27 yet WI~ have had no intensely warm weather. The sun, however, keeps us within doors a great part of the day, but in the evening we sit,on the guards, watch the sunset over the waters, and then the moonlight, and so while away the time till nine or ten o'clock, when one by on~ the party disperses. The sea has been so rough that ·we have not been able to capture anything, but Iwhen we get into smoother waters, our naturali ts will be on the look out for jelly-fi h, al'gonautas, and the like. Ap1'il 13th.
Ap1'il 10t7~. - A rough sea to-day, notwithstanding which we had our lecture as usual, though I mu t say, that, owing to the lurching of the ship, the lecturer pitched about more than was consistent with the dignity of science. Mt'. Agassiz returned to the subject of embryology, urging upon his assistants the importance of collecting materials for this object as a means of obtaining all insight into the deeper relations between animals. "Heretofore classification has been arbitrary, inasmuch as it has rested mainly upon the interpretation given to structural differences by various observers, who did not measure the character and value of these differences by any natmal standard.
Who were its inhabitants in past times? What reason is there to believe that the present condition of things in this country is in any sense derived from the past? The first step in this investigation must be to ascertain the geographical di tribution of the present animals and plants. Suppose we first examine the Rio San Francisco. The basin of this river is entirely isolated. Are its inhabitants, like its waters, com· pletely d:stinct from those of other basins? Are its species peculiar to itself, and not repeated in any other river of the continent?