The notion that all the kinds of animals and plants may have come into existence by the growth and modification of primordial germs is as old as speculative thought; but the modern scientific form of the doctrine can be traced historically to the influence of several converging lines of philosophical speculation and of physical observation, none of which go further back than the 17th century.
Are these invisible germs which cause fermentation always present in the atmosphere?
The miraculous germs always exist alongside other germs in a sort of sheath, like hidden springs in a machine, and emerge into the light when their time comes."
The difficulties which had arisen between Isaac Angelus and Frederick Barbarossa contain the germs of the Fourth Crusade; the negotiations between Richard and Saladin contain the germs of the Sixth.
Here we see the germs of Mendelssohn's Pragmatism, to use the now current term.