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Ms. 2882 (77
(Article to write for the Revue, destined to show to the non-specialized public the [part?] they can take in the questions that appear most foreign to them.)
Here is what reason says after the first examination:
One of two things is true:
Either the germs of the vegetables and animals [prec tent] for all eternity in the universe, swept across space by the ether, gas, air, liquid, or fluid, ready to be deposited in a material, and awaiting favorable conditions to develop;
Or else these germs form where those favorable conditions manifest themselves.
In the first case, generation is a simple impetus given to the germ, which is the reservoir of life, the receptacle of a soul;
In the second, the germ is a formation, and the life that is in it is a general property of matter, just like electricity, heat, movement, magnetism, a higher faculty, which supposes a more complex preparation.
In the first case, again, the genus and species are defined and distinct for all eternity, inconvertible;—in the second, they are susceptible to evolution, modification and variation, to the point of convertibility: at least [ ] that it could be thus.
(Metaphysical, philosophical, moral consequences to be drawn from this, etc., etc.)