DECEMBER 2004 NOTE} If you desire a recent "Darwin" item you might wish to examine my October 2004 web page (entitled "The Darwin Project: 1996 to 2004!)" which includes numerous post-1996 references. Links are also provided to four "Darwin videos" (wherein I portray Darwin in the first person) as well as four "Darwin Self-Tests" currently available on the WWW .
Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
California State University, Chico / Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office: Butte 317]; 530-898-6192 [Department: Butte 311]; 530-898-6143 [FAX]
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban
 © [All Rights Reserved.] This WWW paper is a very slight revision of a 1990 publication and was modestly updated and distributed to Spring 1995 participants in my ANTH 303 course (Seminar In Cultural Anthropology: Darwin) at California State University, Chico. Please see footnote #1 below for contextual notes.
ABSTRACT / EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
The paper deals with some of the scientific research of Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882), specifically his monumental 1859 publication entitled On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. This paper also points out the "human" side of this most noted of human beings and Darwin's ideas are presented in the context of his times. Today, Darwin's theory of "natural selection" is hopefully well known but how did the culture of his times influence his ideas and the development and acceptance of his theory? What happened before Darwin published Origin and what came after his numerous other publications? Charles Darwin was an extremely important individual for a variety of reasons: the data he collected, the experiments he conducted, and the theories he proposed influenced a variety of disciplines, from anthropology to zoology as well as ecology, geology, and the general social sciences. His influence continues to be condemned, supported, and debated after almost 150 years. [168 words]
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CHARLES R. DARWIN: 1809-1882
SOME MAJOR INDIVIDUALS MENTIONED IN THE PAPER
HIGHLIGHT OF 1831: GETTING ON HMS BEAGLE
THE VOYAGE ON HMS BEAGLE: 1831 TO 1836
THE IN-BETWEEN YEARS: 1836 TO 1858
INTELLECTUAL CLIMATE: THE GENEALOGY
INTELLECTUAL CLIMATE: THE CONTEXT OF THE TIMES
INTELLECTUAL INSTIGATOR: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
ON THE ORIGIN: 1859
THE GREAT DEBATE
COMMENTS AND SEMI-CONCLUDING REMARKS
SELECTIVE INTERPRETATIONS AGAIN
EPILOGUE: C. F. URBANOWICZ
SPECIFIC REFERENCES CITED
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CHARLES R. DARWIN: 1809-1882
Charles Robert Darwin was born in the village of Shrewsbury (England) on February 12, 1809, and he died on April 19, 1882. Shrewsbury, 160 miles northwest of London and close to the border of Wales, is approximately 4,000 miles from the United States of America and on that same day, the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was born in Kentucky.
As stated in the Abstract, or Executive Summary above, an attempt is made in this paper to point out the "human" side of Darwin and he will be discussed within the context of his times. With that in mind, it is worth noting that since the "paper" version of this paper was initially completed and distributed on January 31, 1995, it was exactly 156 years ago that date (January 31, 1839) that Charles Darwin had been married to Emma Darwin (née Emma ) for exactly two days. On January 30, 1839, Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Darwin moved into a town house in the Bloomsbury area of London (12 Gower Street) but January 31, 1839 was not a good day for the newly married couple: Josiah Wedgwood III was married to Caroline Darwin, the older sister of Charles Darwin and on December 18, 1838 Sophie Wedgwood was born to this couple. On January 31, 1839 Darwin's niece died and it has been written of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Darwin that "there could have been no sadder end to a happy month, and it clouded their first weeks together" (Adrian Desmond and James Moore, 1991, Darwin: The Life of A Tormented Evolutionist, page 280).
Why this "trivial" piece of information at the beginning of a scholarly paper? Simply to point out that Charles R. Darwin was a human being, who was born of woman, married a woman, had friends and relatives and cares and worries, grew old and eventually died. While his ideas and research may be viewed by some as somewhat unique, he was just as human as the writer (and reader) of this paper, burdened with all of the biases and paradoxes of the times and (therefore) limited by the known (and perhaps more important, unknown) information of the times. The point is strongly made, and noted below, that Charles Darwin went beyond the limitations that others saw and discovered something new: rules for living organisms, or natural selection. It has been written that "science" or "creativity" is to "see what everybody else has seen and then think what nobody has thought." This idea will be discussed further, for Charles R. Darwin was creative.
When Darwin was in his prime, he was slightly more than six feet in height, but as the years began to weigh on his bones, he took on a stoop which became characteristic of his appearance and it made him look shorter. While a young man, he had a ruddy complexion as well as a rounded chin and he was beardless, even though he wore his reddish-brown sideburns down to his jawline. Darwin enjoyed walking, running, and riding and in his later years he enjoyed having novels read aloud to him. Darwin like dogs, used snuff all of his life (writing that he "learnt the habit at Edinburgh" University, in Scotland ), drank very little wine, and had brown eyes with slight purple speckles (Nora Barlow, 1958, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, page 84). Charles Darwin first grew a beard, as was the custom, when he was on board HMS Beagle on her circumnavigation of the globe in 1831-1836 but he shaved the beard before returning to England. Darwin began to grow his final beard in 1863 in order to avoid the burden of shaving and he also became entirely bald.
Darwin was one of six children born to Susannah Wedgwood (1765-1817). He had three older sisters: Marianne (1798-1858), Caroline (1800-1888), Susanne (1803-1866), as well as a younger one, Emily Catherine (1810-1866) and an older brother, Erasmus (1804-1881). Charles Darwin's brother, Erasmus Darwin (named after their paternal grandfather, the eminent physician Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) had a tremendous amount of influence on Charles Darwin.
When Charles Darwin was 8 years old his mother, Susannah Wedgwood, died at the age of fifty-two (July 1817). Although he had very little recollection of her, a colleague of his once stated that he recalled when Charles Darwin was still a child, Darwin brought a flower to school, stating that his mother had taught him how "by looking at the inside of the blossom, the name of the plant could be discovered" (In Thomas H. Huxley, 1896, Darwiniana Essays, page 254). This was not to suggest that the name was neatly stitched therein, but that Charles Darwin's mother was teaching him the rudiments of the Linnaean system of classification. Until 1818 Emily Catherine and Charles Darwin were educated at home by their older sister Caroline; then Darwin began to attend a boarding school one mile from home. In his infancy in Shrewsbury, he had the nickname of "Babba" and while a young teenager, his brother Erasmus wrote to young "Bobby." While on the HMS Beagle (when in his 20s), Charles Darwin was known as "Dear Old Philosopher" to the Officers and was called the "Flycatcher" by all!
Charles Darwin's father, Robert Waring Darwin (1768-1848), was a prosperous and prominent physician in Shrewsbury and he did not see fit to re-marry after his wife's death in 1817. Robert Darwin had the distinction of being the largest man that Charles Darwin ever observed: Robert Darwin was some six feet two inches in height, with a tremendous girth, and the last time he weighed himself he was at some 360 pounds (or 24 stone in the measurement system of the day). Robert Darwin, incidentally, continued to gain weight after that time although it is written that he no longer weighed himself (Gerturde Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 10).
While healthy as a youth, after his 1831-1836 voyage on HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin was chronically ill, having contracted what was eventually termed Chagas Disease. On the 26th of March 1835, in South America, Darwin was bitten by what has been called "the Great Black Bug of the Pampas" or Triatoma infestans [Gavin De Beer, 1964, Charles Darwin: Evolution By Natural Selection, page 116]. Chagas disease, not diagnosed by the medical profession until the 20th century, could result, at various times in migraine, vomiting, lassitude, stomach and heart problems, flatulance, and (as you can imagine) a feeling of un-wellness (Stephen J. Goukd , 1982, "In Praise of Charles Darwin" in Darwin's Legacy: Nobel Conference XVIII Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, Edited by Charles L. Hamrum, pp. 1-10, page 3; also see John Bowlby, 1990, Charles Darwin: A New Life, page 6 and pp. 7-14 for a psychosomatic interpretation of Darwin's illness).
When his father died at the age of eighty-two on November 13, 1848, Charles Darwin was not able to attend his funeral because of his own ill health [Sir Francis Darwin (1848-1925), Editor, 1950 edition, Charles Darwin's Autobiography: With his Notes and Letters Depicting the Growth of the Origin Of Species, page 52]. Certain researchers have suggested that Darwin suffered from psychosomatic problems resulting from problems with his father; my interpretation, however, is that Darwin was bitten by a bug, infected by the bug, and he had the heartiest respect for his father who was a sensitive individual as well as a cautious businessman. Although a physician, Charles Darwin's father was not "scientific" but he did have a vision of the universe. One of his golden rules which Charles Darwin remembered and which Charles Darwin attempted to follow, was "Never become the friend of anyone whom you cannot respect" (Stanley E. Hyman, 1963, Darwin For Today, page 338). Such were some of the words that Charles Darwin remembered from his father.
As Charles Darwin matured, he became independently wealthy and was able to devote his time and energies, such as they were, to those questions which he found interesting rather than on a career to support his family. Upon his father's death, Charles Darwin inherited approximately 45,000 pounds; this amount, combined with the 13,000 pounds he received from his father upon his marriage in 1839 to his cousin Emma Wedgwood (1808-1896) and the 5,000 pound dowry that Emma Wedgwood brought into the marriage, provided Mr. and Mrs. Charles Darwin with quite a bit of capital at all times. When Charles Darwin died in 1882, he had nearly quadrupled his inheritance and his estate was estimated to be approximately 282,000 pounds. This was done by investments in railroads, for in Darwin's time, railroads developed over the canal system in the British Isles.
After graduating from Cambridge University in 1831, Charles Darwin took his trip around the world on HMS Beagle and in 1876, at the age of sixty-eight, Darwin wrote his Autobiography. In it he stated that his five-year voyage, over the years of 1831-1836 "has been by far the most important event of my life and has determined my whole career (Stanley E. Hyman, 1963, Darwin For Today, page 1) and he also wrote that the Origin of 1859 "is no doubt the chief work of my life" [Stanley E. Hyman, 1963, Darwin For Today, page 389]. Darwin was 22 years old in 1831 when HMS Beagle set out on a scientific exploration across the globe. When he returned in 1836, Darwin married and he never left England again.
On November 11, 1838, Charles Darwin proposed to Emma Wedgwood, the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood II (and granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood who established the famous pottery works). Charles Darwin affectionately called Emma's father "Uncle Jos" since they were related through his maternal grandfather. Emma had "grey eyes, a firm, humorous mouth and rich chestnut hair "(Edna Healey, 1986, Wives Of Fame: Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx, Emma Darwin, page 136). Earlier in 1838, Emma's older brother Jos had married one of Charles Darwin's older sisters, and it was their child (Sophie Wedgwood) that had died three days after Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were wed. Emma Wedgwood and Charles Darwin were married on January 29, 1839 and resided in London from that year until 1842. Living in London provided Charles Darwin with the opportunity to attend professional meetings and engage in research since the Darwin home was close to the British Museum. On the 24th of January 1839 Darwin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and five days later Emma and he were married.
Their first child William (1839-1914) was born in that capital of the British Empire (on December 27), an Empire which was to cover 1/3rd of the globe in Queen Victoria's time. (Queen Victoria was the monarch from 1837 to 1901.) Emma Darwin's next child was Anne Elizabeth, born on March 2 of 1841, but Annie died on the 23rd of April 1851 at the age of ten.
Mr. & Mrs. Darwin soon discovered that they detested the city and Charles Darwin wrote "I long to be settled in pure air, out of all the dirt, noise, vice & misery of this great wen" (or cyst of a city) for London was an "odious and smoky town" (Peter Brent, 1981, Charles Darwin: A Man Of Enlarged Curiosity, page 326 and page 223). Charles Darwin also wrote that the capital of London "suited my health so badly that we resolved to live in the country, which we both preferred and have never repented [Sir Francis Darwin (1848-1925), Editor, 1950 edition, Charles Darwin's Autobiography: With his Notes and Letters Depicting the Growth of the Origin Of Species, page 50]." On September 14, 1842, the Darwin family moved to the village of Down in Kent, sixteen miles southeast of London. The census of 1841 pointed out that there were 444 residents of the village of Down in that year and by 1881 (one year before Charles Darwin's death), the population had swelled to 555.
The Darwin home was spacious and while under-furnished, was comfortable to raise a family. Their furniture was once described by their grand-daughter as "ugly in a way, but dignified and plain" (Julian Huxley and H.B.D. Kettlewell, 1965, Charles Darwin And His World, page 60). A 20th Century description has been given of the Darwin home:
"[it] had no profound social or architectural pretension, but was a square, honest, open-fronted structure, somewhat bare, with straightforward windows and an intimidating front door, built of worn, though serviceable brick" (Peter Brent, 1981, Charles Darwin: A Man Of Enlarged Curiosity, page 328).
In an 1842 letter to his sister Catherine, Darwin called the house at Down somewhat ugly [Charles R. Darwin to Catherin Darwin, dated July 1842 in More Letters of Charles Darwin: A Record Of His Work In A Series Of Hitherto Unpublished Letters, Francis Darwin (Editor), 1903, page 32]. Initially they had two bathrooms, a study, a dining-room, and ample space to raise a family and work and think. The house was gradually expanded . At first, they had no running hot water but they did have two serviceable outhouses! Emma and Charles Darwin had a loving and caring family. The Darwin home at Down was situated on 15 acres (with cherry and walnut trees as well as scotch and silver fir) and Charles Darwin would think and walk and enjoy the splendor of their grounds.
Emma and Charles Darwin had ten children, but only seven reached their age of maturity. On September 23, 1842, Mary Eleanor was born in Down but she died within three weeks on the 10th of October. Henrietta Emma was born in 1843 (September 25) and died in 1927. The following information on all of the children of Emma and Charles Darwin might be interesting: William (1839-1914), Anne (1841-1851), Mary (1842), Henrietta Emma (1843-1927), George (1845-1912), Elizabeth (1847-1926), Francis (1848-1925), Leonard (1850-1943), Horace (1851-1928), and Charles Waring (1856-1858).
Charles R. Darwin was conducting research and writing until the 73rd year of his life and it was during this winter of 1881-1882 that his heart began to give him problems. While visiting a friend in London in December 1881, he suffered a mild heart seizure (Walter Karp, 1968, Charles Darwin And The Origin Of Species, page 149). On the 12th of February 1882, his 73rd birthday, he wrote to a friend that "my course is nearly run" (Julian Huxley and H.B.D. Kettlewell, 1965, Charles Darwin And His World, page 126) and on Wednesday the 19th of April 1882, he had a fatal heart attack and died.
The remains of Charles R. Darwin are not buried in Down but in the chapel of St. Faith in Westminster Abbey, London. At his death, twenty Members of Parliament immediately requested of the Dean of Westminster that Darwin be buried in the Abbey. A four-horse funeral carriage (accompanied by Francis, Leonard, and Horace Darwin) made the 16 mile journey to London on the 25th of April 1882. If one considers how Darwin had been verbally attacked by certain clergy during his lifetime it may seem unusual that he is buried in the holiest-of-holy places in the British Empire but the British know how to honor their scientists. Emma Darwin survived Charles Darwin until her death at the age of eighty-eight in 1896 (May 2, 1808-October 2, 1896) and she did not attend the formal service in London at Westminster Abbey. She preferred to mourn in private and Emma Darwin has been described as a "stronger-minded, tougher person than Charles" (Gerturde Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 441).
Darwin was interred a few paces away from the resting places of Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Charles Lyell, Michael Faraday, and William Herschel. Darwin's pall bearers included the President of the Royal Society, the American Minister to the British Isles (Robert Lowell), the churchman Cannon Farrar, an earl, two dukes, and the three leading British biologists of the times who were among his closest scientific friends: Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), Sir Joseph Hooker (1817-1911). and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) thought the occasion of Darwin's internment at the Abbey "worthy enough [to attend] to suspend his objections to religious ceremonies" ([Gerturde Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 440).
As an academic and a Professor of Anthropology, it has often been asked of me, "didn't Darwin make a statement when he was dying to the effect of 'How I wish I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done'" and I simply say, he did not! His death is discussed below, and my interpretation of what he might have said is given, but please consider the following 1989 statement in response to the "How I Wish" story:
"...on October 20, 1985, TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart announced that the great British scientist repudiated his life's work as he lay dying, and that he also asked to read the Bible so he could know Jesus. Swaggart's was not the first to make use of the Darwin death-bed recantation. It's an old fabrication. Shortly after Darwin's death at seventy-four on April 19, 1882, the evangelistic widow of Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Hope, told a gathering of students at Northfield Seminary in Massachusetts that she had visited Darwin in his last hours and found him reading the Epistle to the Hebrews. Darwin, she said, announced that he wished he "had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done," and he also asked her to get some people together so he could speak to then of Jesus Christ and His salvation, being in a state where he was eagerly savoring the heavenly anticipation of bliss." But Darwin's daughter Henrietta vigorously denied that her father ever made such statements. "Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness," she declared. "I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought or belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier. . . . The whole story has no foundation whatever." Francis Darwin, who was with his father toward the end, reported that Darwin said, "I am not the least afraid to die," a few hours before his passing. These seem to have been his last words [STRESS added] [Paul F. Boller and John George, 1989, They Never Said It: A Book Of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions, pages 19-20].
SOME MAJOR INDIVIDUALS MENTIONED IN THE PAPER
(Year of BIRTH and Year of DEATH)
1823--------Alfred Russel Wallace---------------------------------------------------------------------->1913
1817------------------Joseph Hooker ------------------------------------------------------------------->1911
1809----------------------Queen Victoria ----------------------------------------------------->1901
1809--------------Charles R. Darwin ----------------------->1882
1808-----------------------Emma Darwin ------------------------------------------->1892
1807------------------------Louis Aggasiz --------------------------->1873
1805-----------Robert FitzRoy --------------------------------->1865
>------------Charles Lyell ------------------------------------------>1875
>-----------Friedrich Humboldt ---------------------->1859
>---Robert W. Darwin--------------->1848
Readers of this paper may get frustrated with various dates but there is a reason for them: time is a good way to organize information. It is useful in any scholarly research to be aware of the sequencing of events or what came before what. It is useful to know the age of an individual when they have written something (so you may determine how much experience the individual had prior to writing); it is useful to know how old people were when they traveled around the globe or conducted their field research; it is useful to be aware of the context of the times, when individuals lived and when they eventually died. In keeping with the idea of pointing out the human side of Charles Darwin (and others), this researcher appreciates the words of the English essayist Joseph Addison (1672-1719) who once wrote an essay entitled "The Tombs In Westminster Abbey" (well before Darwin was interred there) and Addison had the following:
"When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow; when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs - of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago - I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together [In W.E. Williams, Editor, 1951, A Book Of English Essays, pp. 27-30, page 30]."
Charles R. Darwin was a bright individual who grew up in a loving, caring, and enriched environment. Although interested in many things, Charles Darwin's father wished that Charles Darwin should become a physician since his father (Erasmus Darwin) had been a physician (and somewhat of a genius in his time). Physicians were to "run in the family" and since Charles Darwin's older brother Erasmus Darwin was studying to become a physician, then a physician Charles Darwin was destined to be! The Darwin family attended Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and Charles Darwin entered Edinburgh in 1825, when he was sixteen and he left when he was eighteen. Unfortunately, the two years at Edinburgh demonstrated that he had neither the aptitude nor the interest in medicine of his father and medicine was not for him. Educational institutions are interesting and the following is from Darwin's 1876 Autobiography:
"The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on Chemistry....to my mind there are no advantages and many disadvantages in lectures compared with reading. ... Dr. ... made his lectures on human anatomy as dull as he was himself, and the subject disgusted me [ [Sir Francis Darwin (1848-1925), Editor, 1950 edition, Charles Darwin's Autobiography: With his Notes and Letters Depicting the Growth of the Origin Of Species, page 19]."
Although he was later to become excited about geology, the lectures on this subject at Edinburgh were so dull that Darwin later recalled that they "completely sickened me of that method of learning" and it made him resolve never to read a book on that subject (Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 29). It is fortunate that opinions change over time since it was the first volume of Sir Charles Lyell's work on geology that Darwin took with him on his voyage on the HMS Beagle around the world in 1831-1836.
In 1827, however, Darwin could not face up to telling his father the fact that medicine was not for him, since his older brother Erasmus had already made his decision to give up his study of medicine! It was through his sisters that his father learned of his lack of interest in this profession chosen for him. If medicine was not to be Charles Darwin's calling, then his father decided that he must become a clergyman and a degree from Christ's College, Cambridge was necessity for that field. One 20th Century author has written about his father's choice of career for Charles Darwin:
"The final recourse of Victorian society for the maintenance of misfits and dullards was the church. Young men with no other discernible calling were graced with the highest calling of all. That the church was, at the same time, the refuge of the talented and brilliant did not in any way hinder it from performing the humble but useful service of relieving despairing fathers of surplus sons" (Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 31).
As Darwin was growing up, the Church of England, or Anglican Church, did interest him, and the "Church of England was the church, established by law, for the people of England and Wales" (Lee E. Grudel, 1979, Society And Religion During The Age Of Industrialization: Christianity In Victorian England, page 22). Darwin was a religious person and at the age of 19, in 1828, Charles Robert Darwin did not "in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word of the Bible" (Julian Huxley and H.B.D. Kettlewell, 1965, Charles Darwin And His World, page 15). Indeed, at this time in his life he was so convinced of the truth of his religious beliefs that he found himself:
"...inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere which confirmed in the most striking manner of all that was written in the Gospels" (Gavin De Beer, 1964, Charles Darwin: Evolution By Natural Selection, pages 28-29).
Charles Darwin, however, found himself lacking in the skills for the church even though (when he began his three years of 1828-1831) he was planning to read for religious orders. Cambridge, incidentally, did have a reputation for catering to young men with too much money and too little discipline. A pamphlet of that day described:
"...in lurid detail the 'corrupt state' of the university: habitual drunkenness, gambling, and falling into debt; a profligacy so common that one could hardly find a female servant in a university lodging house who had managed to preserve her virtue; and a condition of moral laxity in which the highest aspiration was to be recognized as an authority of food and drink" (Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, pages 33-34).
While some of this could be viewed as some of the evangelical writings of the day, there was a modicum of truth to the above, as perhaps there is on any university campus to this day. While at Cambridge, for example, Charles Darwin was described as an "enthusiastic" member of the Gourmet Club and he did admit to his son, Francis Darwin, that once he did drink too much while at Cambridge; but he could write to Sir Joseph Hooker that he was drunk only "three times in early life" (Peter Brent 1981, Charles Darwin: A Man Of Enlarged Curiosity, page 89), so he must not have been a heavy drinker to recall all three times. A 20th century author has written the following interesting words about the undergraduate years of Charles Darwin:
"The fact is that Charles Darwin was in almost all respects a fairly standard example of the nineteenth century student, well off, active in field sports, working hard enough to avoid academic failure, but a long way from academic success" (Peter Brent 1981, Charles Darwin: A Man Of Enlarged Curiosity, page 89).
What Darwin had, however, was a group of like-minded friends with whom he could relax and have discussions. He was also fortunate to have certain instructors who were exciting and enthusiastic and encouraged Darwin to learn about natural history. Charles Darwin's father, as one might imagine, became quite frustrated with him at times, stating on one occasion that "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and your family" (Julian Huxley and H.B.D. Kettlewell, 1965, Charles Darwin And His World, page 16).
Although he was interested in shooting and riding, Charles Darwin was also interested in nature and insects. At Cambridge he was fortunate to take botany lectures from Professor of Botany (and clergyman John Stevens Henslow [1796-1861]), whose daughter (Frances Henslow ) would eventually marry Sir Joseph Hooker in August 1851 (S.B. Turrill, 1963, Joseph Dalton Hooker: Botanist, Explorer, And Administrator, page 99). While there, he also read the work of the German naturalist Friedrich Humboldt (1769-1859) and his Personal Narrative and began to learn Spanish for a trip to Tenerife (the largest of the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa). In 1881, Charles Darwin would describe Baron von Humboldt as "the parent of a grand progeny of scientific travelers" (R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion, page 168) since his works not only inspired Darwin but also inspired Alfred Russel Wallace.
Darwin began his interests in natural history while a student at Cambridge and while there, it was Professor Henslow who persuaded him to become interested in Geology, after his disastrous Edinburgh experiences. Henslow also arranged for Darwin to accompany Adam Sedgewick (1785-1873), Cambridge University Professor of Geology, on a field trip through Wales during the Summer of 1831. In January of 1831, at the age of twenty-one, Darwin passed his examination for the BA in Theology, Euclid, and the Classics from Cambridge University and he had to make plans for himself. In 1877 Charles Darwin was eventually awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from his Alma Mater as well as an M.D. from Leyden; all considered, this was not too shabby for someone who was once categorized as a potential "family disgrace" earlier in the century; also see See R. B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion for Darwin's Degrees And Scientific Honors, pages 98-110; these included Honorary Member of the American Philosophical Society (1869), Honorary Member of the New York Academy of Sciences (1879), Honorary Member of the California Academy of Sciences (1872), and Contributing Member of the California State Geological Society (1877).
HIGHLIGHT OF 1831: GETTING ON HMS BEAGLE
In the Summer of 1831 Charles Darwin was in Wales with Sedgwick while Henslow was invited by Captain Robert FitzRoy (1805-1865), of HM Royal Navy, to become the naturalist on board HMS Beagle on a planned circumnavigation of the globe. Henslow's wife, however, did not wish him to partake of such an extensive voyage and Henslow's brother-in-law, also a clergyman and a naturalist by the name of Leonard Jenyns was going to take Henslow's place, but at the last minute, he changed his mind. On the 24th of August 1831, Henslow wrote to tell Charles Darwin that he had informed Captain FitzRoy that Darwin, was the most qualified individual to take the trip and he was recommended to become the volunteer naturalist (this meant without pay) on a world-wide research expedition, scheduled to leave England in 1831.
HMS Beagle sailed from England on the 27th of December in 1831 and Darwin did not to return to his native land for four years, nine months and two days. On 2 October 1836 HMS Beagle returned to England and on 4 October 1836 Darwin returned to Shrewsbury and his family. He would spend the intervening years in sailing and gathering and recording information from various locations all over the globe. It was a magnificent experience.
An academic degree, however, combined with an interest in natural history, and a professorial recommendation were almost not sufficient for Charles Darwin to go on the HMS Beagle. His father was opposed to Darwin taking part in the voyage and Darwin would have followed his father's wishes not to go on the voyage had not his uncle, Jos Wedgwood, interceded for him and convinced his father to allow him to go. The fact of the matter was that after Darwin's father stated his opposition to his embarking upon the HMS Beagle, Darwin did write to Henslow on the 31st of August 1831, turning down the offer, but on the very-next-day, Uncle Jos traveled thirty miles to visit Darwin's father and he convinced him that it would be wise for Charles Darwin to accept the position. On the following day Darwin went off to see Henslow in Cambridge and on the 5th of September 1831 he met with Captain Robert FitzRoy in London.
When Darwin finally met FitzRoy, he discovered that not only had his father been opposed to his taking the trip, but Captain FitzRoy, who was all of twenty-six years of age to Darwin's twenty-two, almost caused him to stay behind as well. FitzRoy, an amateur physiognomist, thought that the shape of Darwin's "nose" was too weak to take a lengthy sea voyage! Darwin did take that voyage. FitzRoy, incidentally was no simple Royal Navy Officer. It was he who gave us the expression "port" for sailors, replacing "larboard" prior to the trip on HMS Beagle since "larboard" was too easily confused with starboard. FitzRoy eventually was promoted to Rear-Admiral (1857). He reached the rank of Vice-Admiral (1865) and began a system of weather forecasting and storm warnings (a system that exists to this day in one form or another). FitzRoy became head of HM Meteorological Office and from 1843-1845 he was the Governor of New Zealand, islands that the British Empire claimed in the South Pacific (so that France would not acquire them). FitzRoy was an excellent naval officer and captain and in 1851 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (and Charles Darwin was one of his co-sponsors) (R.D. Keynes, editor, 1979, The Beagle Record: Selections From The Original Pictorial Record And Written Accounts Of H.M.S. Beagle, pages 7-8).
Darwin was not the first choice of naturalist on the HMS Beagle. The position first had been offered to Henslow (who declined) and then Henslow's brother-in-law who changed his mind about going on HMS Beagle. After Darwin's Uncle Jos had convinced his father to allow Darwin to go, imagine Darwin's consternation when he finally met Captain FitzRoy on that 5th of September in 1831 and discovered that FitzRoy wanted neither Henslow nor Darwin but preferred a personal friend to accompany him on the HMS Beagle! Fortunately, a few moments before Darwin's appointment with the Captain, FitzRoy's friend informed him that he was unable to leave his job for the lengthy voyage and Darwin had his interview. Darwin obviously overcame the Captain's concerns with his nose, and they eventually departed England on the 27th of December 1831.
A small statement due here which should make readers of this paper consider the value of the influence of the individual in everything: (#1) Professor Henslow was initially invited but (#2) his wife did not wish him to go and (#3), Darwin had problems with his father until (#4) Uncle Jos Wedgwood intervened on his behalf. Darwin later learned the following:
"In London, FitzRoy had asked Captain Francis Beaufort, R.N., hydrographer to the navy, not for a geologist but for a naturalist to sail with him on his second voyage [in 1831]. Beaufort passed on the request to his friend the Reverend George Peacock, later Lowndean Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge. Peacock first asked his naturalist friend Leonard Jenyns, an Anglican clergyman, if he would take the post. But Jenyns (who later changed his name to Bloomfield), a close friend of Darwin's, held a living in Cambridgeshire and felt he could not abandon it for a voyage round the world. Peacock then passed on the request to Henslow. A number of other young men appear to have been approached and to have turned down the offer. ... Darwin [eventually] jumped at the offer passed on by Henslow" (Ronald Clark, 1984, The Survival Of Charles Darwin: A Biography Of A Man And An Idea, pages 17-18).
From individual A-to-B-to-C-and eventually D! As Stephen H. Gould has written, Darwin really wasn't the "naturalist" that went aboard the HMS Beagle in 1831 and Gould pointed out that it was really the HMS Beagle surgeon, Robert McKormick, who originally held the official position as "naturalist" on-board the HMS Beagle (S.J. Gould, 1977, Ever Since Darwin: Reflections In Natural History, pages 28-31). FitzRoy wanted a traveling companion (a gentleman to accompany him) and Darwin was to be the "gentleman naturalist" on board (with no navy duties to do). McKormick was to be the official naturalist. While on HMS Beagle, Darwin had the Captain's ear on numerous occasions and in April of 1832, McCormick left the HMS Beagle and was "invalided out" back to Britain; and Darwin was then the naturalist on board HMS Beagle.
In the 1990s, with individuals so mobile all across the globe, perhaps it is difficult to comprehend the immobility that existed in Darwin's time. This is why his personal trip, his five-year world-wide trip made such an impression on him and began to provide him information about changes over time. Please consider, if you will, who and where Darwin was in 1831. He had made a previous trip, to the European continent, in 1827 (accompanying his cousin Jos Wedgwood and his sister Caroline) (R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion, page 98 and page 296). Charles Darwin lived on an island which was relatively small and where the highest mountain, if you dare to call it that in the Scottish Highlands, barely exceeded 4,400 feet. Later Darwin would be climbing 12,000 feet into the Andes of South America and he would write for the 23rd of April 1835 while in South America that:
"It was something more than enjoyment: I cannot express the delight which I felt at such a famous winding up of all my Geology in South America. I literally could hardly sleep at nights for thinking over my day's work. The scenery was so new & so majestic; everything at an elevation of 12,000 ft. bears so different an aspect from that in a lower country. I have seen many views more beautiful, but none with so strongly a character. To a Geologist also there are such manifest proofs of excessive violence; the strata of the highest pinnacles are tossed about like the crust of a broken pie" (R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion, pages 116-117).
Perhaps one can best convey the "changes" from Darwin's 19th century to our 20th century by quoting from the eminent 20th century historian, Barbara Tuchman who wrote the following in 1966:
"...the industrial and scientific revolutions [of the 19th century] had transformed the world. Man had entered the Nineteenth Century using only his own and animal power, supplemented by that of wind and water, much as he had entered the Thirteenth, of, for that matter, the First" (Barbara W. Tuchman, 1966, The Proud Tower: A portrait Of the World Before The War 1890-1914, pages xvi-xvii).
Please consider those words: "Much as we had entered the 13th century," or the first century, or the twelve-hundred to seventeen-hundred years in-between [STRESS added]" Tuchman continued about our century that mankind:
"...entered the Twentieth with his capacities in transportation, communication, production, manufacturing and weaponry multiplied a thousandfold by the energy of machines. Industrial society gave man new powers and new scope...."
Darwin's five-year voyage was the most exciting experience for him: please think of the advantages of travel that we have today to go around the world. We can travel all over the planet and places that were exotic to Darwin are as commonplace to us as . . . well, we can go around the world in days; in Darwin's time it was years! In a poetical 1991 description of a trip to Tierra del Fuego, Richard Lee Marks (writing in Three Men Of The Beagle) had the following:
"Nowadays, when you can jet from New York to Buenos Aires to Ushuaia with a stop-over in Comodoro Rivadavia, all within twenty-four hours (if your connections are excellent), you may still stand there on the shore looking across the gray-green water of the Beagle Channel at Navarin Island--but you may be less respectful of the strangeness and your mind-set may be more intractable, less susceptible to the great question of human existence [STRESS added]" (R.L. Marks, 1991, Three Men Of The Beagle, pages 5-6).
In 1843, were Darwin to consider a trip from England to Rome, Italy, he would have to allocate twenty-one days of his life-time to make that passage; by 1860, with the widespread introduction of railways, this was down to a "mere" 2 & 1/2 days! Now, one can cross the English Channel via the "chunnel" in a matter of minutes or fly into Rome in a matter of hours. In 1860, a passage to North America from England by sailing vessel would take anywhere from two-to-eight weeks (although by 1889 the steamship had reduced it to a mere five days) (Susan S. Thurin, 1988, "Travel And Tourism" in Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, pages 817-818). This is why Darwin's voyage of the HMS Beagle, beginning when he was an intelligent (and well trained) impressionable individual at the age of 22 was so exciting. The trip exposed him to many different things that he could never see in his immediate British environment and he was turned on by the world! Today, we can telephone Britain in a few minutes and we can get television pictures from around the world via satellite and changes continue to occur: consider the tremendous information capability of the INTERNET. In 1858, one year before Darwin's Origin was published, a simple 90 word telegraph message between the American President Buchanan and Darwin's Queen Victoria took 16 1/2 hours to cross the Atlantic via a newly-laid undersea cable. Sixteen & 1/2 hours for a ninety-word message. 
THE VOYAGE ON HMS BEAGLE: 1831 TO 1836
The HMS Beagle, a ninety-foot long/twenty-four foot wide vessel, carried a total of 74 persons around the globe. Numerous ports of call were visited, most of which were on the continent of South America. Although Darwin was seasick for many days throughout the five-year voyage, the trip of the HMS Beagle gave him ample opportunity to collect various specimens from around the world and fill some twenty-four pocket notebooks with daily entries. Darwin was also able to send off some thirty-nine letters back to England. Darwin clearly viewed his voyage on HMS Beagle as one of the most important events of his lifetime.
The HMS Beagle was classified as a sloop-brig of the Royal Navy and though she normally carried ten guns, four were removed (in order to carry more stores) for their voyage. The guns were rarely fired because they would interfere with the twenty-two chronometers carried on board for navigational purposes. Darwin learned that the HMS Beagle had just returned from a four-year voyage to South America, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, and was to be completely refurbished for the 1831 sailing. Equipped with over 6000 cases of vegetables, tinned meats, barrels of lime juice, medicines, and preservatives for specimens, HMS Beagle displaced more than 500 tons when it sailed in 1831. A measure of the success of any leader is his, or her, ability to command the respect and allegiance of the individuals with whom he or she works. Two-thirds of the crew who had been with Captain FitzRoy on his previous voyage to South America in the years 1828-1830 had also "signed-up" to accompany him on this latest voyage. FitzRoy was a good Captain and had the respect of his crew.
In addition to the ship's crew, HMS Beagle also carried eight marines, an artist, and instrument maker, as well as three aborigines from Tierra del Fuego, who had been brought to England when the HMS Beagle returned from that last expedition. These natives, as well as a missionary, were being transported out to that southernmost part of the continent of South America. On his previous trip to South America, Captain FitzRoy chose to take four Fuegians back to England. One had died and the other three (Fuegia Basket, York Minister, and Jeremy Button) were to be returned home. While in England, Fuegia and Jeremy were married and Captain FitzRoy "paid for their support and Christian education" (Walter Karp, 1968, Charles Darwin And The origin Of Species, page 29).
Captain FitzRoy eventually came to deeply regret his decision to allow Darwin to take part in the voyage of HMS Beagle. The Captain was a deeply evangelical and religious individual and a member of the conservative Tory party and while Darwin still had religious feelings when he began the trip on the HMS Beagle, he was a member of the more liberal Whigs. The Tories "generally represented the conservative elements [in Britain] especially the small rural landholders, while the Whigs tended to represent commercial interests" (Lee E. Grugel, 1979, Society And Religion During The Age Of Industrialization: Christianity In Victorian England, page 8). The Whig party was opposed to slavery (abolished in 1833), wished for the extension extension of suffrage, and had major disagreements with the Tories. These disagreements, unfortunately, were reflected upon several occasions between the Captain and Darwin during the voyage. With his Evangelical beliefs, Captain FitzRoy was bringing back the Fuegians to spread the Christian word in South America; FitzRoy was also convinced "that he would find scientific proof that the Book of Genesis was literally true" and he wanted a naturalist on board HMS Beagle for this purpose, as well as companionship (Walter Karp, 1968, Charles Darwin And The Origin Of Species, page 29).
Within a few years, however, FitzRoy became obsessed with the idea that he was responsible for Darwin's published views. FitzRoy was so indignant about Darwin's 1859 publication of On The Origin of Species, that when the first public debate concerning the publication was held at Oxford in 1860, FitzRoy (then an Admiral in the Royal Navy) appeared at the meeting and waved a Bible and shouted that he had warned Darwin "against holding views contrary to the word of God." FitzRoy committed suicide in 1865 by cutting his own throat. Let me provide a capsule summary concerning the times of Charles Darwin:
"The political and social temper of English life at this time was conservative, in reaction to the excesses of the French Revolution [of 1789]. Biologists of Darwin's time, including the [Swiss-American] Louis Aggasiz and Richard Owen, believed that different forms of life were created separately. Only a century before, geologists had believed that the earth was only four thousand years old and although geologists of Darwin's time, such as Charles Lyell, had proved by study of rock formations that the earth was older, there was no real notion of the truly vast age of the earth" (Jay E. Greene, 1964, 100 Great Scientists, page 246).
Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was an important geologist whose words were an inspiration to Darwin on his circumnavigation of the globe. Lyell gave Darwin (and others who read his works) the gift of time. Lyell forced the reader to consider the tremendous passage of time that has occurred on the planet. Darwin started out the voyage on HMS Beagle with the first volume of Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830), presented to him by FitzRoy. The second volume of the three-volume magnum opus reached Darwin in Montevideo, South America, on the 26th of October 1832 and Darwin continued to read Principles while on the voyage. When he boarded HMS Beagle as a young man of twenty-two, Darwin considered himself quite a religious individual and he often bore the brunt of a good deal of laughter "from several of the officers for quoting the Bible as final authority on some moral point" (Bern Dibner, 1964, Darwin Of The Beagle, page 82). Over time, however, Darwin had gradually come to think the following:
"...that the Old Testament from its manifest false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted that the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian" (Bern Dibner, 1964, Darwin Of The Beagle, pages 82-83; and please see Nora Barlow, 1958, The Autobiography Of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, pages 78-79 and page 85).
Darwin went out across the world and observed phenomena of nature that did not fit into certain theories which he held. When they finally arrived at the Galápagos Islands on the 15th of September 1835, some 600 miles west of the South American nation of Ecuador (on the equator), Darwin continuing taking notes. He was eventually was to write that "nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance" of these islands that they were to cruise for a little more than a month. Galápagos means "tortoise" in Spanish and there are more than two dozen islands in the entire cluster, with their combined land mass being approximately 2,800 square miles. The islands themselves are approximately 175 miles across and there are really six major islands, with the largest one (Albemarle) some sixty miles long. As a point of comparison, Butte County is some 1,646 square miles and Tehama County, to the north is similar in size to the Galápagos (2,953 square miles) as is Santa Barbara County (2,748 square miles) in the southern part of this state. Perhaps one of the most vivid description of the islands comes from the American Author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who stopped in the Galápagos on the whaler Acushnet, shortly after the visit of the HMS Beagle. Melville wrote:
"Take five-and-twenty heaps of cinders dumped here and there in an outside city lot--imagine some of them magnified into mountains, and the vacant lot the sea; and you will have a fit idea of the general aspect of the Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles. A group of rather extinct volcanoes than of isles; looking much as the world at large might, after a penal conflagration" (Nigel Calder, 1973, The Life Game: Evolution And The New Biology, page 44).
Quite a dramatic description but quite an accurate and fascinating one. HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin and the crew stayed a month in the Galápagos and they gathered specimens of all sorts. Tortoises that weighed up to 500 pounds, as well as iguanas that abounded on all of the islands, and a variety of small finch. Even though Charles R. Darwin was a fair naturalist at this point in time (HMS Beagle had been exploring since 1831), it is quite clear that the facts of nature "do not speak for themselves" since someone has to do the interpreting. In a 1973 publication, Sir Nigel Calder wrote of a 1835 meeting that Darwin had in the Galápagos Islands with Mr. Lawson, the Englishman who was then the Vice-Governor of that group:
"When the Vice-Governor remarked that he could tell from which island any tortoise had been brought, Darwin pricked up his ears. HE HAD BEEN CARELESSLY MIXING UP HIS SPECIMENS FROM DIFFERENT ISLANDS, NEVER DREAMING THAT THE ISLANDS WOULD HAVE BEEN 'DIFFERENTLY TENANTED'; he quickly mended his way [Calder continued]. He examined the mockingbirds collected by himself and his shipmates, and FOUND TO HIS ASTONISHMENT THAT ALL THE BIRDS FROM ONE ISLAND BELONGED TO ONE SPECIES AND ALL FROM ANOTHER TO A DIFFERENT SPECIES. BUT HE HAD HOPELESSLY MUDDLED MOST OF HIS SPECIMENS OF THE FINCHES THAT WERE TO MAKE THE GALAPAGOS AND HIMSELF JOINTLY FAMOUS" [All STRESS added].
Please re-read that part of the phrase: "BUT HE HAD HOPELESS MUDDLED MOST OF HIS SPECIMENS OF THE FINCHES THAT WERE TO MAKE THE GALAPAGOS AND HIMSELF JOINTLY FAMOUS." What a mess, but who would have thought about the impact of the finches? Calder continued:
"Who can blame him? They are small birds, the males being black and the females brown. When you glimpse them flitting among the thirsty trees of the Galapagos it is hard to acknowledge the impact such modest birds had on the human mind and its religious beliefs" (Nigel Calder, 1973, The Life Game: Evolution And The New Biology, pages 45-46).
HMS Beagle departed the Galápagos and headed across the Pacific Ocean to Australia, then across the Indian Ocean, and back to England, and the "mixed-up finches" were handed over to John Gould, an ornithologist. It was Gould who confirmed a "perfect gradation in the size of the beaks in the different species" since there were some birds with massive beaks, like nutcrackers, while there were other finches with beaks so delicate, they could be used as tweezers; and there were many forms of beaks which were intermediate. Darwin wrote in the first published account on the voyage of the HMS Beagle in 1839:
"Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small intimately related group of birds, one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends."
Towards the end of the voyage of the HMS Beagle, even while Darwin was still at sea, he began to question the fixity of species that was then prevalent in biological thought and he wrote:
"When I recollect the fact, that from the form of the body, shape of scale, and general size, the Spaniards can at once pronounce from which Island any tortoise may have been brought; when I see these Islands in sight of each other and possessed of but a scanty stock of animals, tenanted by these birds but slightly differing in structure and filling the same place in Nature, I must suspect they are only varieties. The only fact of a similar kind of which I am aware is the constant asserted difference between the wolf-like Fox of East and West Falkland Islands. If there is the slightest foundation for these remarks, the Zoology of Archipelagoes will be well worth examining; FOR SUCH FACTS WOULD UNDERMINE THE STABILITY OF SPECIES [STRESS added]" (Gavin De Beer, 1964, Charles Darwin: Evolution By Natural Selection, page 82).
The non-fixity of species and different tenanted islands continued to nag Darwin and within two years of his return to England in 1836, he began to take detailed and copious notes on the transmutation of species. Dov Ospovat stated it succinctly in his 1981 publication entitled The Development Of Darwin's Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology, And Natural Selection, 1838-1859:
"When he left England on H.M.S. Beagle in 1831, Darwin believed, with most of his contemporaries, that each species has been independently created with characteristics that suit it admirably for the conditions under which it was destined to live. By the spring of 1837 he was a transmutationist, believing that each species has descended from some other previously existing species and that its characteristics have been determined largely by heredity" (Dov Ospovat, 1981,The Development Of Darwin's Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology, And Natural Selection, 1838-1859:, page 6).
Even though Darwin was struck by the variety of life forms in the Galápagos, and this contributed to his thinking about "changes" in species, not everyone sees nature in the same way. Louis Aggasiz (1807-1873), the distinguished Swiss-American scientist who specialized in ichthyology and geology, was "without a doubt, the greatest and most influential naturalist of nineteenth-century America" (Stephen J. Gould, 1983, Hen's Teeth And Horse's Toes: Further Reflections In Natural History, page 108). In 1983, Stephen Gould wrote about Aggasiz:
"A Swiss by birth, he [Aggasiz] was the first great European theorist in biology to make America his home. He had charm, wit, and connections aplenty, and he took the Boston Brahmins by storm. He was an intimate of Emerson, Longfellow, and anyone who really mattered in America's most patrician town. He published and raised money with equal zeal and virtually established natural history as a professional discipline in America; indeed [Gould continues], I am writing this article in the great museum [at Harvard University] that he built" (Stephen J. Gould, 1983, Hen's Teeth And Horse's Toes: Further Reflections In Natural History, page 108).
Gould pointed out that brilliant as Aggasiz was, he had a certain way of viewing the world. In June of 1872, thirty-three years after Darwin's HMS Beagle publication, Aggasiz visited the Galápagos Islands, viewing the same natural phenomena that Darwin observed. Darwin saw nature and change and thought about it and Aggasiz saw nature and stability and thought about it in his way: Aggasiz did not see changes through time and he did not see natural selection. Although Aggasiz died shortly after his visit to the Galápagos, his 1860 remarks on Darwin's Origin was still probably his opinion in 1872: "I shall therefore consider the transmutation theory [of Darwin] as a scientific mistake, untrue in its facts, unscientific in its method, and mischievous in its tendency (R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companiuon, page 18). Readers should also consult Lurie who points out:
"...the sources of Aggasiz's convictions that led him to dismiss Darwin so easily are significant, because they provide revealing indexes to the kind of philosophic and scientific opposition Darwin encountered both in Americ and Europe" (E.A. Lurie, 1959, "Louis Aggasiz And the Idea Of Evolution" In Victorian Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, pages 87-108, pages 92-93).
Facts do not speak for themselves for as the distinguished 20th Century Historian Arnold J. Toynbee has written, one should consider the following:
"Facts are not really like boulders that have been detached and shaped and deposited exclusively by the play of forces of non-human nature. They are like flaked and chipped flints, hewn stones, bricks or briquettes. Human action has had a hand in making them what they are, and they would not be what they are if this action had not taken place. ... Facts are, in truth, exactly what is meant by the Latin word facta from which the English word is derived. They are 'things that have been made" [STRESS added] (Arnold J. Toynbee, 1964, A Study Of History: Reconsiderations, Volume 12, page 250).
Darwin traveled the globe with several important things: an inquisitive mind as well as scientific background and training. He was certainly not the only individual to see diversity on the planet but he certainly became one of most eloquent chroniclers:
"The expansion into the whole world of European explorers had provided naturalists for the first time with a significant accumulation of biogeographical data. These data exhibited obviously significant regularities in the distribution of organisms, regularities that cried out for explanation. ... Darwin himself had observed all these sorts of things carefully on the voyage of the Beagle. And in particular, of course, there was the experience of the Galapagos" [STRESS added].
THE IN-BETWEEN YEARS: 1836 TO 1858
HMS Beagle landed in England on the 2nd of October 1836 and Darwin went to Shrewsbury on the 4th. He settled in, proposed to Emma Wedgwood on November 11, 1838 and they were married January 30, 1839. Initially they established their home in London and Emma wrote that when Charles was looking for a house to rent for them at this period of time, that "it is as well that I am coming to look after you, my poor old man" (Darwin was 27), "for it is quite evident that you are on the verge of insanity" and Darwin, who had circumnavigated the globe, was threatened with an advertisement by Emma which would state: "Lost in the vicinity of Bloomsbury, a tall thin gentleman quite harmless" [Edna Healey, 1986, Wives Of Fame: Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx, Emma Darwin, page 155].
Prior to his marriage in January of 1839, Darwin was appointed Secretary of the Geological Society of London on the 16th of February 1838, a position he held until his health was too poor to allow him to go on any further expeditions. His last geology excursion was in 1842, when he went to Wales to observe the evidence of glacial action.
After Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married in 1839 they eventually left London in 1842 and several major works were published by Darwin over these years which demonstrated to the public (as well as his scientific colleagues) that he was in fact "an accurate, thorough, and reliable naturalist" and he was also a "descriptive biologist of great finesse, capable also in experimental inquiry" [Charles C. Gillispie, 1968, "Charles Darwin" in International Encyclopedia of the Social Science, Vol. 4, page 7]. Publications during these years included his travels on HMS Beagle (in 1839), The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842), Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands (1844), as well as Geological observations on South America (1846).
It should be pointed out that just as Darwin's 1859 Origin has changed over time, his first 1839 HMS Beagle description originally bore the ponderous (and perhaps appropriately 19th Century) title of: Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, Between the years 1826 and 1836, Describing Their Examination of the Southern Shores of South America, And the Beagle's Circumnavigation of the Globe, Vol. III. Journal and Remarks, 1832-1836. In 1845, this became Journal of Researches and-so-forth, and later editions saw other permutations such as Naturalist's Voyage Round the World. Eventually the book became simply The Voyage of the Beagle .
Darwin has been called an atheist by some but please note that in his 1839 publication The Voyage Of The Beagle he wrote the following towards the end of the book:
"Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and Decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature:--no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body" [STRESS added] (Charles R. Darwin, 1839, The Voyage Of The Beagle ) 
This paper was completed in January 1995 and only slightly modified and placed on the World Wide Web in September 1996; just as this "electronic" WWW paper must be viewed within the context of the late 20th Century, I hope to place Darwin's 1859 publication into the context of his times. Known as Origin, but more properly entitled On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life, it was published almost 137 years ago on the 26th of November 1859 when Darwin was fifty years of age. The 1,250 copies of that first edition were quickly sold and the book is still being read to the present. As a result of Origin Darwin was accused of discussing the "evolution" of human beings. To the contrary, all Darwin had to write about human beings in the first edition of Origin in 1859 was the following:
"In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." [Chapter XIV: Recapitulation and Conclusion.] 
Origin was revised by Charles Darwin no less than five times in his own lifetime, beginning the second revision on the 8th of December 1859, twelve days after the first edition was sold out. All told, Origin went through six editions (all slightly different), the last of which was published on February 19, 1872. From 1859, until the time of his death in 1882, some 25,500 English copies had been published in Britain alone [Morse Peckham, Editor, 1959, The Origin Of Species By Charles Darwin: A Variorum Text, page 24].
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life is the complete title, but keep in mind that titles change over the years. The passage of time, as well as the context of the times, is important for an understanding of any created work of mankind, be it a scientific tome or invention, a work of fiction, or a piece of art. I stress the importance of time for a very good reason: time means change. Change from a specific point at time "x" to point at time "x+1" and authors and opinions and interpretations of "facts" change over time!
The first edition of Origin was published in 1859 at the strong urging of his scientific associates, Hooker (famous for the naming of the "Hooker Oak" during his 1877 visit to Chico) and Sir Charles Lyell (immortalized in California by Mt. Lyell, so named in 1863 by the Whitney Survey Party of the Sierra Nevada ). Darwin included the word "On" in the original title and this simple proposition was dropped by the final, or 6th edition of 1872. This, you might think is an extremely trivial point: the word "On" in the first edition and deleted by the final edition; but when taken in combination with some other "minor" points that I should like to make you aware of (such as Darwin's words on the "Creator") it should give you pause about (a) what you may think you know about Origin and (b) what you think you may know about Darwin's point of view.
In his lifetime Darwin published nineteen books in addition to Origin and he was also a very prolific correspondent, writing numerous letters to scientific colleagues and friends as well as some ninety communications to learned societies of the time [R.B. Freeman, 1965, The Works of Charles Darwin: An Annotated Bibliographic Handlist, page 1]. Darwin's final publication, indeed, did come in the last year of his life because the physiologist George J. Romanes (1848-1894) published his Animal Intelligence (1882) and it contained extracts from Darwin's "note on behavior, published with his permission and in press before his death [R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion]." Writing is an important form of communication and if you are told that the secret of good writing is re-writing, please believe it.
INTELLECTUAL CLIMATE: THE GENEALOGY
In July of 1837, Charles Darwin began his notebooks (which culminated in Origin) and started gathering all of the facts that he could on variations in plants and animals, both under domestication and existing in the wilds of nature. By 1844 Darwin had enlarged his notes into a sketch of the conclusions he thought probable and those notes and research resulted in the 1859 Origin.
The "true" inspiration for Darwin's research came in October of 1838 and it has been well-documented by many of Darwin's chroniclers. A statement from Louis Pasteur (1882-1895) is appropriate: "In the field of observation, chance only favors those who are prepared." In October of 1838, "reading a work--just for amusement," Darwin found a theory. He was reading a particular essay dealing with population and as he wrote in his Autobiography:
"In October, 1838, that is fifteen months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES FAVOURABLE VARIATIONS WOULD TEND TO BE PRESERVED, AND UNFAVORABLE ONES TO BE DESTROYED. The result of this would be the formation of a new species. HERE THEN I HAD AT LAST GOT A THEORY BY WHICH TO WORK...." [all STRESS added] [Francis Darwin, 1950, Charles Darwin's Autobiography: With His Notes And Letters Depicting The Growth of The Origin of Species, page 54].
The English economist Robert Malthus (1766-1834), a 1788 graduate of Cambridge and a Church of England clergyman, published (anonymously) in 1798 An Essay on the Principles of Population. It was a gloomy little essay. Malthus wrote that the growth in a population would always exceed the growth in the available food supply and that human numbers would have to be kept down by war, disease, plagues, crime, famine, or the like. The 1798 publication of the book was greeted by a storm of outrage and in the subsequent and enlarged edition of 1803 its tone was slightly modified, but it was a pessimistic view of the human condition. Malthus revised the book several times and it was probably the 1826 edition with which Darwin was most familiar with (since this is the annotated edition which is preserved in the Cambridge University Library) [R. Keynes, 1983, "Malthus and Biological Equilibria" in Malthus Past And Present, page 360].
The Reverend Malthus was observing the unbridled checks of the Industrial Revolution in England: technology was rampant, population was increasing, and there were problems in the world. The population for all of Europe, as an example, was only 140 million in the year 1750 and it would almost double to 266 Million a century later. In London of 1750, two-out-of-every three children born that year did not survive to their fifth birthday.
Malthus was writing in reaction to individuals outside of England and the complete title of his anonymous publication is worth considering for it was entitled An Essay on the Principle of Population, As It Affects The Future Improvement Of Society With Remarks On The Speculations Of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, And Other Writers. For background on the intellectual history of Charles Darwin, one need not go back to the publication of the African Saint Augustine (354 A.D.-430 A.D.) and his celebrated 410 A.D. publication of Civita Dei (The City of God), written to maintain the faith of Christians after the sack of Rome by the Goths, but one should be aware of four major French authors of the 19th century who played a role in the work of Malthus and, eventually, Darwin's work. These four individuals also contributed to the work of Alfred Russel Wallace, who was ALSO inspired by a reading of Malthus while employed as a naturalist in the Malay states in the 1850s. Intelligent individuals of the day read widely and received information and inspiration from various sources.
Charles Darwin was inspired by Malthus and Wallace was inspired by Malthus. Malthus, in his time, was inspired by the publication of Condorcet (1743-1794) who wrote Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'espirit humain (Outline of the Intellectual Progress of Mankind), published one year after his death. This, you can see, is a very "positive" upbeat title; Condorcet, along with Turgot (1727-1781), Montesquieu (1689-1755), and Auguste Comte (1798-1857), were the most influential individuals of their times and I believe (although we may not realize it), their influence continues to our times. Comte, along with St. Simon (1760-1825) are the titular "fathers" of Sociologie but in 1852 Comte wrote of the need for a seventh science, namely anthropologie [Charles F. Urbanowicz, 1992, "Four-Field Commentary" in Anthropology Newsletter, Vol. 33, No. 9, page 3]! Gould has written about another researcher who discussed the influence of Comte on Darwin:
"Silvan S. Schweber has reconstructed, in detail as minute as the record will allow, Darwin's activities during the few weeks before [Darwin read] Malthus (The Origin of the Origin Revisited, Journal of the History of Biology, 1977). He argues that the final pieces arose not from new facts in natural history, but from Darwin's intellectual wanderings in distant fields. In particular, he read a long review of social scientist and philosopher Auguste Comte's most famous work, the Cours de philosophie positive. He was particularly struck by Comte's insistence that a proper theory be predictive and at least potentially quantitative. He then turned to Dugald Stewart's On the Life and Writing of Adam Smith, and imbibed the basic belief of the Scottish economists that theories of overall social structure must begin by analyzing the unconstrained actions of individuals. (Natural selection is, above all, a theory about the struggle of individual organisms for success in reproduction.) Then, searching for quantification he read a lengthy analysis of work by the most famous statistician of his time--the Belgian Adolphe Quetelet. In the review of Quetelet, he found, among other things, a forceful statement of Malthus's quantitative claim--that population would grow geometrically and food supplies only arithmetically, thus guaranteeing an intense struggle for existence. In fact, Darwin had read the Malthusian statement several times before; but only now was he prepared to appreciate its significance. Thus [Gould argues], he did not turn to Malthus by accident, and he already knew what it contained. His 'amusement,' we must assume [according to Gould], consisted only in a desire to read in its original formulation the familiar statement that had so impressed him in Quetelet's secondary account" [Stephen J. Gould, 1980, "Darwin's Middle Road" in The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections In Natural History, pages 65-66].
There are definitely "connections" that exist if we have the time and patience to seek them out: in 1721 Montesquieu anonymously published Lettres persanes (translated as the Persian Letters) which was a satire on European customs and in 1734 he published Les Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur ret de la décadence des Romaines (Considerations of the Causes of the grandeur & the Decadence of the Romans ) whose title should speak for itself. Montesquieu was a prolific writer and in 1748 he published L'Esprit des lois (The Spirit of the Laws). In these publications we received ideas about culture (1721), the failure and development of a mighty empire (1734) and the importance of laws for all humanity (a forerunner of what would eventually be discovered/described as "cultural relativity" by various anthropologists).
In 1750, Turgot initiated the first steps to set of "stages" of progressive cultural development, beginning with the hunting stage, which was followed by pastoral life, thence to agriculture and the formation of government (in Tableau philosophique des progrès successifs de l'esprit humain). In 1794 Condorcet wrote his very positive work outlining or presenting the idea that mankind could discover the laws of social life and develop social improvements according to these laws. At this time, Condorcet was in hiding from the French reign of terror and this was a very optimistic book which was not M. Condorcet's fate: he was caught and died in a police cell [Frank E. Manuel, 1962, The Prophets of Paris, page 59].
Malthus had enough of this positive approach of the French thinkers! Malthus saw population increasing over time at a geometric rate: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. with food increasing over that same period of time at an arithmetic rate: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. This is what Darwin began to think about when he opened that notebook for the Origin in July of 1837. There was a struggle and it was a concept that appeared in other writings with which Darwin was familiar. Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which had accompanied Darwin on the HMS Beagle, contained the following:
"In the universal struggle for existence, the right of the strongest usually prevails; and the strength and durability of a race depends mainly on its prolificness, in which hybrids are acknowledged to be deficient" [Cited by R. Keynes, 1983, "Malthus and Biological Equilibria" in Malthus Past AndPresent, page 360].
Thomas Huxley himself is quoted as saying that "I cannot but believe that Lyell was for others, as for me, the chief agent in smoothing the road for Darwin" [In Miller and Van Loon, 1982, Darwin For Beginners, page 29] and this has certainly been echoed in this century:
"Darwin thought of using Hobbes's phrase 'war of nature' as a heading to his chapter on struggle in his projected 'big book' Natural Selection. He was [also] acquainted with Linnaeus's description 'one great slaughter-house the warring world', and was impressed by the botanist Augustin de Candolle's similar view of the plant world (1820). Naturalists texts of the time were replete with the language of the 'struggle for existence'. Darwin encountered the phrase in works ranging from von Wrangel's Expedition to the Polar Sea (2nd edn., 1844) and Edward Blyth's 'Attempt to Classify the Varieties' (1835) to Malthus's Essay on Population (6th edn, 1826) and Charles Lyell's milder, equilibristic statement in Principles of Geology (vol. II, 1832)" [Paul Crook, 1994, Darwinism, War And History: The Debate Over The Biology Of War From The 'Origin of Species' To The First World War, page 14].
Charles Robert Darwin was intelligent enough to borrow from numerous intelligent individuals of his times and from numerous intelligent individuals who worked before him.
INTELLECTUAL CLIMATE: THE CONTEXT OF THE TIMES
While Darwin was gathering his facts and writing in his notebooks, changes were occurring all over the world: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) had ascended to the British throne in 1837 and concerning England in 1839, the following has been written:
"It is 1839. England is tumbling towards anarchy, with countrywide unrests and riots. The gutter presses are fizzing, fire-bombs-flying. The shout on the streets is for revolution. Red evolutionists - visionaries who see life marching inexorably upward, powered from below - denounce the props of an old static society: priestly privilege, wage exploitation, and the workhouses. A million socialists are castigating marriage, capitalism, and the fat corrupted Established Church. Radical Christians join them, hymn-singing Dissenters who condemn the 'fornicating' Church as a 'harlot,' in bed with the State.
Even science must be purged: for the gutter atheists, material atoms are all that exist, and like the 'social atoms' - people - they are self organizing. Spirits and souls are a delusion, part of the gentry's cruel deceit to subjugate the working people. The science of life - biology - lies ruined, prostituted, turned into a Creationist citadel by the clergy. Britain now stands teetering on the brink of collapse - or so it seems to the gentry, who close ranks to protect their privileges.
At this moment, how could an ambitious thirty-year old gentleman open a secret notebook and, with devil-may-care sweep, suggest that headless hermaphrodite molluscs were the ancestors of mankind? A squire's son, moreover, Cambridge-trained and once destined for the cloth. A man whose whole family hated the 'fierce & licentious' radical hooligans.
The gentleman was Charles Darwin: well heeled, imperturbably Whig, a privately financed world traveler who had spent five years aboard HMS Beagle as a dining companion to the aristocratic captain. He had a private fortune in prospect and a reputation as an up-and-coming geologist. He also had an enduring wish to escape 'abominable murky' London, to live in a rustic parish like his clerical friends, so vilified by the mob" [STRESS added] [Adrian Desmond and James Moore, 1991, Darwin: The Life Of A Tormented Evolutionist, pages xvii-xviii].
This was part of the environment in which Darwin was living. The context of the times is always important in understanding anything. Earlier I quoted from Tuchman's elegant 1966 publication entitled The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914 and now I repeat and complete her statement that mankind:
"...entered the Twentieth with his capacities in transportation, communication, production, manufacturing and weaponry multiplied a thousandfold by the energy of machines. Industrial society gave man new powers and new scope while at the same time building up new pressures in prosperity and poverty, in growth of population and crowding in cities, in antagonism of classes and groups, in separation from nature and from satisfaction in individual work. Science gave man new welfare and new horizons while it took away belief in God and certainty in a scheme of things he knew" [Barbara Tuchman, 1966, The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914 , pages xvi-xvii].
Changes were occurring in various areas while Charles Darwin was alive. Farmers were increasing their animal yields by means of selected breeding and new ideas and interpretations of the rôle of human beings were being circulated and discussed. In England, in 1844, John Henry Newman (1801-1890) began to write down his views, which were to have an influence on the Christian world and Cardinal Newman eventually published his Apologia pro Vita Sua (in 1864); Robert Chambers (1802-1883) eventually published (anonymously at first) Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, "which played a major role in introducing the British reading public to the concept of evolution" [Diana Postlethwaite, 1988, "Robert Chambers" in Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, page 130].
In addition to research in geology and the natural sciences which Darwin was well aware of (and which certainly had a bearing on his times), events were occurring in what could be called "strictly non-scientific matters" which influenced Darwin's public and private reception. In religious writing there appeared in Germany in 1835-1836 Leben Jesu by D.F. Strauss, translated into English in 1846 by the gifted author George Eliot (pseudonym of Marian Evans Cross [1819-1880]). This translation, entitled The Life of Jesus, had a tremendous impact on the times, for Strauss "treated the gospels as myth rather than history." Indeed, in his eminent publication entitled Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique Of A Heritage, Jacque Barzun has an entry from the Diary of George Eliot: "November 24 . A divine day. I walked out and Mrs. Congreve joined me. Then music, Arabian Nights, and Darwin" [Jacque Barzun, 1941, Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique Of A Heritage, page 25]. The novel Adam Bede, published in 1859 by Eliot/Evans (and still in print) was, along with many of her other books (such as Silas Marner in 1861), an outstanding success!
Not only did Darwin receive "support" or inspiration from Malthus' ideas on the struggle amongst populations, and Lyell's ideas on gradual development in geology, but the authority of the Christian Bible itself was being challenged by independent biblical scholars. It has been pointed out that Leben Jesu::
"...portrayed Jesus as a remarkable man who happened to satisfy the messianic hopes of poor and discontented Jews. His life and deeds as recorded in the New Testament, Strauss contended, did not portray the actual, historical Jesus but a mythical Christ whose nature and supernatural powers had been invented by those who passionately desired a Messiah. While Strauss did not actually state that the New Testament was untrue, he did claim that it should not be read as a factual record of events. Miracles did not happen in the nineteenth century and neither could they have taken place in the first century" [Lee E. Guegel, 1979, Society And Religion During The Age Of Industrialization: Christianity In Victorian England, page 62].
In 1863, Ernest Renan (1823-1892) published an immensely popular and important volume entitled Vie de Jésus wherein he stated in his introduction that "The whole of history is incomprehensible without him [Jesus]." This publication is very interesting because it:
"...ran into thirteen printings within a year of its appearance in 1863, followed by fifteen printing of an abridged popular edition the next year, and which has been translated into thirteen languages" [M. I. Finley, 1977, Aspects For Antiquity: Discoveries And Controversies, 2nd edition, page 173].
This work set the tone for an analysis of Christianity in an historical manner into this century. Although some will write that Darwin's Origin caused a problem with religious beliefs among various people ("body blows" is often mentioned), and in the United States in 1860 Hitchcock and Hitchcock warned readers of their "high-school textbook that the theory of evolution was 'intended and adopted to vindicate atheism" [In Edward J. Larson, 1989, Trial And Error: The American Controversy Over Creation And Evolution, page 185; citing Hitchcock and Hitchcock, 1860, Elementary Geology, pages 373-374], religious beliefs seem to have survived well into this century!
Darwin obviously had no choice for the year of his birth but one 20th Century author has written that "by curious coincidence, the year 1809 witnessed the births of more extraordinary leaders than perhaps any other single year in history" [Robert B. Downs, 1956, Books That Changed The World, page 162]. In 1809, the aforementioned President Lincoln was born, as well as Tennyson (1809-1882), Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), and Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894). Edward Fitzgerald was born in 1809 (1809-1883) as well as the composer Felix Mendelssohn (18091847), and Ludwig Beethoven (1770-1827) finished his Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major. Such were some of the intellectual activities around Darwin's time.
Darwin was eventually perceived as a leader and has been called the "Newton of Biology." It has been written that Origin "provided a unifying theory for biology in much the same way that Newton's Principia did for physics" [Fred Wilson, 1991, Empiricism And Darwin's Science, page xi]. The data that Darwin collected, the experiments he conducted, and the theories he proposed influenced a variety of disciplines from anthropology to zoology, including ecology, geology, and the general social sciences. In Washington D.C., in 1918, a leading American biologist described Darwin as that "gentlest and kindest of souls" and that World War I truly resulted from "the publication of a book called The Origin of Species" [Paul Crook, 1994, Darwinism, War And History: The Debate over The Biology Of War From The 'Origin of Species' To The First World War, page 1]. Darwin had influence!
There have been those who have written that Darwin greatly influenced those around him and that he brought forth ideas which were to revolutionize the times from 1859 until this century. On the other hand, there are those who state that Darwin was but a product of the times and that "evolutionary ideas" were in the air. Earlier I mentioned a 20th century author who declared that the "political and social temper of English life" in Darwin's times was conservative [Jay E. Greene, 1964, 100 Great Scientists, page 264]. If the truth be known, it was obviously a combination of many factors. As the 20th century anthropologist, Ashley Montagu, has stated it, Darwin grew to manhood "in a period during which wars seemed to be the natural concomitant of living" [Ashley Montagu, 1952, Darwin: Competitition & Cooperation, page 19] and recently, an impressive publication appeared which argues that "Darwinism bred an influential tradition of non-violence" and this is definitely at odds with the war-like interpretation for Darwin [Paul Crook, 1994, Darwinism, War And History: The Debate over The Biology Of War From The 'Origin of Species' To The First World War, page 200]. The debate goes on and perhaps one of the clearest statements on "context" comes from a 1990 publication by Peter Bowler entitled Charles Darwin: The Man And His Influence, wherein he points out the following:
"To visualize Darwin in his own context we must remember that his contemporaries were unable to appreciate precisely those aspects of his thinking which seem important today. He was both a product of his time and a thinker who created an idea capable of being exploited by later scientists with very different values. Any attempt to understand Darwin the man must first take into account the multiple roles that his name has played within the symbolism of both nineteenth-and twentieth-century [and soon-to-be 21 century] thought" [STRESS added].
In Darwin's youth, Britain was warring with France in Portugal and Spain (1808-1814); Napoleon had been defeated at Waterloo in 1815; there were wars in the Middle East and Far East (Singapore, Persia, China), wars in the Crimea (1854-1859), fighting in India, the American Civil War of 1861-1865, and so on; in short, some could, and have, successfully argued that it was a miserable time! The industrial revolution was upon Darwin and it would be described by one as "the best of times, it was the worst of times" as Charles Dickens wrote in his own 1859 publication entitled Tale of Two Cities.
"By the early years of Queen Victoria, the impact of the growing industrial State on the people could no longer be ignored. Information was now available in sufficient quality for the true state of [British and eventually world] affairs to be realized. because it was now becoming possible for facts and ideas to be exchanged with ease and rapidity over wide areas. Mechanical power enabled men to produce the printed word in unlimited quality. The development and improvement of road-travel by coach and chaise reached its zenith with the accession of the young Queen [in 1837], only to be superseded almost at once by the still more rapid and efficient railway system. ... The dissemination of fact and news as such was accompanied by the equally important work of the writers" [R. J. Evans, 1950, The Victorian Age: 1815-1914, page 87; also, note that "The first electric telegraph in England was set up between Paddington and Slough in 1844, and one of its earliest triumphs was to make possible the apprehension of a criminal on a train between the two stations" on page 87].
Although this is very positive, the author also pointed out the following:
"The consequences of the Industrial Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars falling on English rural life, when that life itself was undergoing fundamental change, made the twenty years after Waterloo [fought in 1815] the saddest and most miserable in the history of the countryside" [R. J. Evans, 1950, The Victorian Age: 1815-1914, page 89].
This, you will remember, is the time when Darwin was growing into a young man. The author continued:
"Everything conspired against the farmer and the labourer. Rates and taxes to pay for the war were of crushing severity, the coming of peace, however welcome in itself, brought a ruinous drop in prices, and an equally ruinous drop for the time being in the demand for wheat. Much arable land 'tumbled down' to pasture, or rather reverted to the wilderness; and the general technical level of farming dropped all over the country. These rigorous years eliminated the weaker men, those with little capital, small ability, or without the vision to look ahead and adopt new measures to meet new conditions" [R. J. Evans, 1950, The Victorian Age: 1815-1914, page 89].
The environment was changing!
"Only the vigorous and skillful survived the storm. As usual, the greatest sufferers were the labourers and farmhands. At the trials which followed the rick-burning and riotings of the early 'thirties, the better part of the nation was horrified at the picture of squalor and abject misery which was disclosed, and the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, whatever its ultimate results, had deepened and increased the suffering. The turn of the tide came about 1840. By that time control was in the hands of the survivors: intelligent, hard-working, forward looking men [and women!], who laid the foundation of the 'Golden Age" of English farming which developed between 1850 and 1875" [STRESS added] [[R. J. Evans, 1950, The Victorian Age: 1815-1914, page 105].
The phrase "Nature, red in tooth and claw" came not from Darwin's pen, but from that of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who also attended Cambridge over the period 1827-1829. In 1850, the year that Tennyson became Poet Laureate of England, In Memorium was published and this is the source of that phrase. It is interesting to read Adams who wrote in 1989:
"One can easily imagine Tennyson's satisfaction at the fate of his phrase, 'Nature, red in tooth and claw': a mere six words have been vested by historians with power to sum up nothing less than the impact of evolutionary thought on Christian humanism" [James E. Adams, 1989, "Women Red In Tooth And Claw: Nature And The Feminine in Tennyson and Darwin" in Victorian Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1, page 7].
Darwin did not coin the phrase "survival of the fittest" but he borrowed it from the social thinker and philosopher, Herbert Spencer. This phrase did not appear in the first edition of Origin in 1859 but was only incorporated for the first time in 1869 in the 5th edition of Origin. Darwin's times were exciting and Montagu has some interesting words :
"...it is often assumed that social thought after 1859 was largely the social reflection of Darwin's biology. The truth is that Darwinian biology was largely influenced by the social and political thought of the first half of the nineteenth century...."
Montagu stated that Darwin "provided the nineteenth century with a philosophy of industrial progress" and Darwin was a reflection of his times.
INTELLECTUAL INSTIGATOR: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Of all the events that occurred over this time period, perhaps the most important one which galvanized Darwin into finally publishing his Origin in 1859 was a letter he received in 1858 from another naturalist, namely Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). This letter resulted in the most important publication of Darwin over the 1836-1858 time period, the 1858 joint paper in The Linnaean Society Papers that Darwin did with Alfred Russel Wallace. This 1858 letter, however, was not the first Darwin-to-Wallace-to-Darwin interaction through the mail. They had corresponded earlier in the 1850s when Wallace was in Malaysia and upon the 1855 publication of Wallace's article entitled "On the Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species" (in The Annals And Magazine Of Natural History). Sir Charles Lyell promptly sent Darwin the article, continuing to pressure Darwin into publishing since he (along with Joseph Hooker) had been warning Darwin that someone might publish before him!
The joint Darwin and Wallace paper (with Darwin as first author) was entitled "On the tendency of species to form varieties and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection." Wallace's own paper was entitled "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type." Neither Wallace nor Darwin were present at the meeting: Wallace was still in Malaysia and Charles Darwin was in the village of Down, where Emma and Charles Darwin's child (Charles Waring [1856-1858]) had just died from scarlet fever. These joint papers were presented on their behalf by Sir Charles Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker and actually read by the Secretary to the assembled society. On this 1858 presentation Sir Gavin De Beer has written the following:
"On 1 July 1858 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace made the first public statement of their theory of evolution by natural selection before the Linnaean Society of London, and their papers were published on 20 August of the same year. The eighteen pages which they covered were among the most pregnant ever printed, and deserve to rank with those of Isaac Newton, since they provide for the realm of living beings the first general principle capable of universal application [stress added]" (Sir Gavin De Beer, 1958, Charles Darwin And Alfred Russel Wallace: Evolution By Natural Selection, page 1.)
The evidence is overwhelming that Darwin had been collecting information on changes within species for numerous years and he started his serious note-taking on the theory of evolution on September 28, 1838, "when he wrote down his first clear statement of the principle of evolution through natural selection [Howard Gruber, 1974, Darwin On Man: A Psychological Study Of Creativity, page 261]." It is also very clear that he was definitely encouraged to speed up his publication schedule because of Wallace! On Friday, the 18th of June 1858, Charles Darwin received a letter from Wallace, along with Wallace's manuscript paper entitled "On the tendency of varieties to depart infinitely from the original type."
"In the end, Darwin's hesitations [about publishing his idea on natural selection] were overcome by an unpredictable turn of events involving Alfred Russel Wallace, a self-taught naturalist whose life was as shaped by deprivation as Darwin's was by comfort. ... It was there [in 1848 in the Malay archipelago, Wallace was] lying in a malarial fever, that he was suddenly struck with the notion of survival of the fittest as the mechanism behind adaptation and evolution. He had, like Darwin, been influenced by reading Malthus, who pointed out that each species produced far more offspring than could possibly live. What Wallace saw, then, was that the fittest survived--that natural selection would benefit those with advantageous adaptations and would ruthlessly prune out those who lacked them. Thus could species change; thus could evolution occur. Wallace wrote out his ideas in a feverish hurry, on two successive evenings, and decided to send them to Darwin, with whom he had an on-again-off-again correspondence. Darwin had been kind to him, treating his with respect and friendliness despite Wallace's distance from the closely woven fabric of the British scientific community [STRESS added]" (Pat Shipman, 1994, The Evolution Of Racism: Human Differences And The Use And Abuse Of Science, page 29.)
To say that Darwin was shocked to receive this correspondence from Wallace was an understatement and that very day Darwin wrote to Lyell wherein he stated: "Your words have come true with a vengeance--that I should be forestalled." Forced into finally getting some of his ideas into print, the Darwin and Wallace joint paper of 1858 came about because of this 1858 letter from Wallace. Nonetheless, Darwin had been thinking about change since his visit to the Galápagos Islands in 1835) and when Charles Darwin was fifty years old, in 1859, the first edition of On The Origin of Species was published.
ON THE ORIGIN: 1859
In his excellent and outstanding 1967 book entitled The Language of Science, Savory documents the relationship between language and the world, tracing the development of "sciences" over several centuries. Beginning his book with the telling phrase that "language is the vehicle of ideas," of all of the numerous books of science that he discusses, Darwin's Origin "stands, of course, in a class by itself." Savory continues:
"Probably no other book and certainly no other scientific book, has produced anything like the disturbance in the minds of its readers, whether they were critics or supporters. It is difficult today, when the last of the dust of conflict has settled and the last sound controversy has died away, to recall the bitterness of that historic battle between prejudice and reason" [Theodore H. Savory, 1967, The Language of Science, page 13 and page 161].
It should be clear to the reader of the 20th Century "Web" document that the "conflict" has not been settled and the controversy still goes on after 137 years! One can speculate as to what is possibly being written that is similar to the Origin today, that might possibly be a point of discussion in the year 2030? As an academic interested in Darwin, I am definitely looking for to the year 2009: it will obviously be the Sesquicentennial of the Origin and the Bicentennial of Darwin's birth!
The 1937 Hungarian-American Nobel Prize winner for Physiology/Medicine, Albert Szent-Györgyi [von Nagyrapolt], stated that a scientist should "see what everybody else has seen and then think what nobody has thought" and it has been written that "nobody did this better than Charles Darwin, who first realized that the evolution of life took place by Natural Selection" [J. Livingston and L. Sinclair, 1967, Darwin And The Galapagos, n.p.]. Numerous other individuals had seen many similar things that Darwin had seen in his travels, but it was Charles Darwin who was to "see what everybody else has seen and then think what nobody has thought." Thomas Huxley, an eminent scientist in his own right and described at times as "Darwin's Bulldog" (and whom Darwin affectionately described as his "general agent" [Leonard Huxley, 1909, Life And Letters Of Thomas Henry Huxley, Vol. 1, page 183]) was Darwin's good friend and colleague. Just before Origin was published, Huxley penned Darwin a note stating "I think you have demonstrated a true cause for the production of species" and Darwin was greatly relieved when he received this approval [Cyril Bilby, 1972, Scientist Extraordinary: The Life And Scientific Work of Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-1895, page 38]. Darwin wrote in his own Autobiography that the Origin "is no doubt the chief work of my life" [Nora Barlow, 1958, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored Edited With An Appendix And Notes By His Grand-Daughter, page 122].
Wallace's 1858 letter, along with the urging of his scientific associates, "forced" Darwin into print with the Origin, but the evidence is clear that he had been thinking about the topic for numerous years and gathering his facts. Once again, in his Autobiography he wrote:
"The success of the Origin may, I think, be attributed in large part to my having long before written two condensed sketches [in 1842 and 1844], and to my having finally abstracted a much larger manuscript, which was itself an abstract. By this means I was enabled to select the more striking facts and conclusions. I had, also, during many years, followed a golden rule, namely that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favourable ones. Owing to this habit, very few objections were raised against my views which I had not at least noticed and attempted to answer" [Nora Barlow, 1958, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored Edited With An Appendix And Notes By His Grand-Daughter, page 123].
Haste is the enemy of research and Charles Darwin took his time; additional mention of these "two condensed sketches" is made below in this paper.
Change is also definitely the name of the game when it comes to an understanding of the works of Charles Darwin (as well as an understanding of life itself). In 1859 Darwin published the first edition of On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life and note the following changes, based on the outstanding 1959 publication of Morse Peckham entitled The Origin Of Species By Charles Darwin: A Variorum Text, which took place over the SIX editions of the same volume, from 1859 until 1872:
As previously mentioned, in the 5th edition of 1869 Darwin utilized the somewhat famous phrase of "Survival of the Fittest" (borrowed, you will recall, from Herbert Spencer) and by the edition of 1872, and all subsequent reprints from that edition, the word "On" was dropped from the title.
It may not even be well known, but Barzun did point out more than half-a-century ago (in 1941), the following on that somewhat misinterpreted term, namely "evolution" (that Hitchcock and Hitchcock , you will recall, were so quick to condemn in the United States in 1860):
"...the word 'evolution' does not occur in the first edition of the Origin of Species and Darwin did not use it until some years afterwards. But the idea it denotes had been put forward and discussed in Europe for at least a hundred years before 1859" [Jacques Barzun, 1941, Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique Of A Heritage, page 38].
Once again, Charles Darwin took great care NOT to write about Homo sapiens in Origin in 1859 and all he had to say about "man" in the volume was:
"In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history. [Chapter XV: "Recapitulation And Conclusion"]
By the 6th edition of Origin in 1872, Darwin had re-written the above passage as the following:
"In the future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be securely based on the foundation already well laid by Mr. Herbert Spencer, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Much light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history. [Chapter XV: "Recapitulation And Conclusion"]
Charles Darwin did write about Homo sapiens in his The Descent of Man (first published in 1871) and in the "Preface" to the 2nd edition of Descent published in 1875, he commented on "the fiery ordeal through which this book has passed."
Once again, please remember, even though the term "evolution" is certainly associated with the name of Charles Darwin, but Barzun pointed out in 1941 that Darwin did not use the term "evolution" in the first edition of Origin and Freeman pointed out in 1965, Darwin actually used the term "evolution" in his The Descent of Man publication before he used it in Origin:
"The word evolution occurs for the first time in all of Darwin's works on page 2 of the first volume of the first edition [of The Descent of Man], that is to say before its appearance in the sixth edition of The Origin Of Species in the following year [STRESS added]" (R. B. Freeman, 1965, The Works Of Charles Darwin: An Annotated Bibliographic Handlist, page 29).
This is why I honestly believe dates are important in an understanding of virtually everything: who influenced whom and when was it done! In 1981, Darwin's 1871 publication of The Descent of Man, And Selection In Relation To Sex, was reissued and the following 20th century words are well worth reading:
"Descent of Man addresses an extraordinary number of problems that are, at this moment , on the minds of many biologists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and philosophers. It is the genius of Darwin that his ideas, clothed as they are in unhurried Victorian prose, are almost as modern now as they were when they were first published" [John Bonner and Robert May, "Preface" to the Princeton University Press Edition of 1981, page vii].
Prior to the 1981 reissuance of Darwin's 1871 Descent of Man, Darwin's 1872 The Expression Of The Emotions In Man And Animals was reissued in 1965 and words from that 20th century reprinted volume are also appropriate:
"Darwin had the capacity to see beyond the prejudices and ideologies of his own time and culture--more so, indeed, than many who work in these general areas today.... Like all really great scientific discoveries, Darwin possessed an almost uncanny ability to reason on the basis of hypotheses which were not only provisional and vague but also subconscious. ..... The branch of behavior study commonly called ethology, which can be defined succinctly as the biology of behavior, has a special right to claim Charles Darwin as its patron saint. ...I believe that even today we do not quite realize how much Charles Darwin knew [All STRESS added].
Darwin's various publications were powerful and the intelligent public of the day read them. Darwin carried on a tremendous amount of correspondence with various scientists of his times (perhaps akin to Internet surfing today). These scientists provided him with a great deal of information and they were clearly his intellectual supporters:
"The penny post service, introduced in 1840, was very efficient, allowing him to interact with many individuals and institutions at arm's length. He joined a number of breeder clubs and built up an unrivaled network of communication with people who could supply him with practical information on the subjects of variation and heredity" (Peter J. Bowler, 1990, Charles Darwin: The Man And His Influence, page 95).
The question should be raised, what made Origin of 1859 such a controversial (and popular) publication since Darwin did not write of human beings per se? What Darwin simply did was to (a) gather a tremendous amount of information, (b) think about his information and the implications of his research, and (c) write carefully. This is a point admirably made by Campbell, who wrote in 1974:
"One need not read far in any of Darwin's works to see that one of the most striking aspects of Darwin's emotional response is his manner of describing the natural world. The language of Darwin's descriptions betrays a relationship with the objects of his study that is personal and affective. In his earliest work his praise of nature is expectedly exuberant" (John A. Campbell, 1974, "Nature, Religion And Emotional Response: A Reconsideration of Darwin's Affective Decline" in Victorian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, pages 159-174, pages 161-162).
Darwin demonstrated (with an immense amount of data that every educated person of the times could comprehend) that while human beings consciously practice domestic selection, nature practices natural selection. Natural selection meant that the population which is best adapted to the environment, be it bird or plant or domesticated horse or cow or pig, survives. Those which survive pass on their characteristics to their offspring or the next generation; remember, Darwin did not know about genes and Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) the proof of his reasoning was not to come for many years.
Please remember that nature is neutral whereas culture is not. "Natural Selection" is a neutral phenomena but writing about natural selection is a cultural (and hence a "biased") phenomena. This is why the following statement, taken from a 1994 publication entitled Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover The Creator is such a ludicrous and judgmental (hence "biased") statement: "The final chapter in the evolution of life is the most profound of all--the origin of humankind [STRESS added]." Please note that the author did not write of a "current chapter" or the "present chapter" but of the FINAL CHAPTER! I speculate as to what anthropologists or theologians will view as their "final chapter in the evolution of life" in ten years, or 100 years, or in one-thousand years?! This 1994 statement on evolution was a culturally-biased statement whereas the 1859 Origin of Darwin is a neutral statement about natural selection.
Darwin presented evidence, in a well-written and often metaphorical manner, about natural selection and he also had statements concerning a "Creator" in Origin. You will recall, as pointed out above, that Darwin also wrote of a "God of Nature" in his 1839 The Voyage of the Beagle. Concerning a "Creator" that Darwin mentioned in the second edition (and all subsequent editions of Origin in his lifetime), if you read his words you will see that in Chapter XV of the Origin, in the chapter entitled "Recapitulation And Conclusion" that in the very last paragraph of the book he wrote:
"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved [STRESS added]." [Chapter XV: "Recapitulation And Conclusion"
This was not the sole reference to "the Creator" that Darwin made in Origin, for one may read his earlier words in Origin:
"He who believes in separate and innumerable acts of creation may say, that in these cases it has pleased the Creator to cause a being of one type to take the place of one belonging to another type; but this seems to me only re-stating the fact in dignified language. He who believes in the struggle for existence and in the principle of natural selection, will acknowledge that every organic being is constantly endeavouring to increase in numbers; and that if any one being varies ever so little, either in habits or structure, and thus gains an advantage over some other inhabitant of the same country, it will seize on the place of that inhabitant, however different that may be from its own place [STRESS added] . [Chapter VI: Difficulties of The Theory]
"It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye with a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man?" [STRESS added] [Chapter VI: Difficulties of The Theory]
"The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that many structures have been created for the sake of beauty, to delight man or the Creator (but this latter point is beyond the scope of scientific discussion), or for the sake of mere variety, a view already discussed [STRESS added]." [Chapter VI: Difficulties of The Theory]
"But many naturalists think that something more is meant by the Natural System; they believe that it reveals the plan of the Creator; but unless it be specified whether order in time or space, or both, or what else is meant by the plan of the Creator, it seems to me that nothing is thus added to our knowledge [STRESS added]." [Chapter XIV: Mutual Affinities Of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs]
"On the ordinary view of the independent creation of each being, we can only say that so it is; that it has pleased the Creator to construct all the animals and plants in each great class on a uniform plan; but this is not a scientific explanation [STRESS added]." [Chapter XIV: Mutual Affinities Of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs]
I encourage the electronic reader of this paper to go to the various sites on the web that have various texts and, after you ascertain just which "edition" of Origin you might have, please check the "Creator" references out yourselves! Please note the explicit words of Charles R. Darwin: "but this is not a scientific explanation" and the "point is beyond the scope of scientific discussion" and, initially, "Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man?" 
Charles R. Darwin was not lacking in faith; the faith that he held, however, was that of a scientist: there are some things which are simply not knowable and let us go on to what we can try and understand! Perhaps we should consider the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) who stated it well in this century: "Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control."
Darwin was not an atheist who rejected all religious beliefs and denied the existence of God; he was, however, unwilling to accept supernatural (culturally biased) explanations for the natural (neutral) world of nature that observed all around him and he wrote that "this is not a scientific explanation." Perhaps Darwin should have quoted the words of the Scottish historian and essayist, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881): "I don't pretend to understand the Universe - it's a great deal bigger than I am . . . People ought to be modester" or Darwin could have chosen a philosophy from elsewhere in the world, for it is written that a Shinto saying is "belief is for mortals, proof is for the Gods." In his 1876 Autobiography, Darwin wrote that at the time of Origin he could be viewed as a theist, or one who had the conviction of the existence of God. Ideas and perspectives change over time and in 1876 Darwin stated:
"It has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker. ... I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems [as the existence of God]. The mystery of the beginning of all things is impossible by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic (S.E. Hyman, 1963, Darwin For Today, page 371).
Darwin was not an atheist but an agnostic, a term coined in 1869 by his aforementioned good friend and scientific associate, Thomas Henry Huxley. An agnostic is defined as "a person who believes that the human mind cannot know whether there is a God or an ultimate cause, or anything beyond material phenomena" and Darwin's philosophy was a problem for his wife Emma, who maintained a deep orthodox religious conviction throughout her life; his agnostic beliefs did "make her sad" and uneasy for his sake (G. De Beer, 1964, Charles Darwin: Evolution By Natural Selection, page 269).
It is unfortunate to read others who quote Darwin and (who at times) quote him so badly for their own purposes. Consider an article which appeared in 1982 (in the now defunct) Science magazine entitled "On the Life of Mr. Darwin," written by a "Contributing Editor." After presenting an interesting "interview" with Darwin, the "editor" concluded with the following quote:
"There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed laws [sic.] of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
Not only did Bingham not cite Darwin's specific reference to the "Creator" but he also pluralized the "law" of gravity into many laws! If one is familiar with Darwin, one notes the difference. In a 1993 publication, even the indefatigable Stephen Jay Gould saw fit to quote Darwin's Origin as follows:
"And I remembered that Charles Darwin had drawn the very same contrast in the final lines of the Origin of Species. When asking himself, in one climactic paragraph, to define the essence of the differences between life and the inanimate cosmos, Darwin chose the directional character of evolution vs. the cyclic repeatability of our clockwork solar system [and Gould then quotes the following from Darwin]: 'There is a grandeur in this view of life.... [these "...." are placed by Gould in his quote, which continues as follows] Whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.'" (Stephen J. Gould, 1993, Shoemaker And Morning Star. Eight Little Piggies: Reflections In Natural History , pp. 206-217, pages 216-217.)
Gould must have had a reason for not mentioning Darwin's reference to the "Creator" (remember, added by Darwin himself in the second edition of 1860), but it is not obvious to the casual reader. Throughout this paper, I have attempted to stress the basic humanity of Darwin, a point others have also noted; I also stress the importance of reading items for yourself and forming your own opinions! Do your own research and go back to the "original" whenever possible and not to what some "commentator" says about the "original" (even though that commentator be Gould or Urbanowicz or ....). Darwin was human and was:
"...very sensitive to criticism, and tried hard to satisfy all his critics by making appropriate alterations and accommodating conflicting points of view. This process is far more evident in Origin, where the first edition nowadays seems much superior to the sixth and last edition" (John Bonner and Robert May, 1981, "Preface" in Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man And Selection In Relatiuon To Sex, page xxxv).
In reading Darwin, which "Darwin are you reading?" Origin is readily available, but what edition of Origin do you have? Darwin took his critics to heart and the various revisions in Origin (for example) have been documented above:
"...in response to numerous criticisms Darwin undertook constant revisions between the book's first appearance in 1859 and the sixth edition of 1872. The later editions thus differ considerably from the first, and the last edition contains an additional chapter (chapter 7) dealing with objections to the theory. These changes tend to obscure the original argument and the first edition is thus by far the clearest expression of Darwin's insight [STRESS added] (Peter J. Bowler, 1990, Charles Darwin: The Man And His Influence, page 144).
Please read and think carefully.
At the beginning of this section, reference was made to the two sketches of 1842 and 1844 which had been read by individuals at the time they were first written (thus proving Darwin's precedence over Wallace by some sixteen years). Such "sketches" in their own right were massive publications and, concerning the second sketch, Darwin wrote to Emma on 5 July 1844: "I have just finished my sketch of my species theory. If, as I believe, my theory in time be accepted by even one competent judge, it will be a considerable step in scienc" (Nora Barlow, 1958, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored Edited With An Appendix And Notes By His Grand-Daughter, page 35). The first edition of Origin was published relatively quickly in 1859, after the Wallace letter of 1858, because Darwin had already accomplished most of the writing! The purpose of this current WWW paper is not to compare line-by-line various publications of Darwin, but to get the reader to (a) think about various things (and antecedents to Charles Darwin) and (b) please consider the following "Conclusion" to the 1842 sketch:
"Such are my reasons for believing that specific forms are not immutable. ... There is a simple grandeur in this view of life with its powers of growth, assimilation and reproduction, being originally breathed into matter under one or a few forms, and that whilst this planet has gone circling on according to fixed laws, and land and water, in a cycle of change, have gone on replacing each other, that from so simple an origin, through the process of gradual selection of infinitesimal changes, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been evolved [STRESS added]."
Sound familiar? Or consider the concluding words from 1844 and compare some of them with the Origin of 1859:
"My reasons have now been assigned for believing that specific forms are not immutable creations. ... From death, famine, and the struggle for existence, we see that the most exalted end which we are capable of conceiving, namely the creation of the higher animals, has directly proceeded. Doubtless, our first impression is to disbelieve that any secondary law could produce infinitely numerous organic beings, each characterized by the most exquisite workmanship and widely extended adaptations: it at first accords better with our faculties to suppose that each required the fiat of a Creator. There is a [simple] grandeur in this view of life with its several powers of growth, reproduction and of sensation, having been originally breathed into matter under a few forms, perhaps into only one, and that whilst this planet has gone cycling onwards according to the fixed laws of gravity and whilst land and water have gone on replacing each other--from so simple an origin, through the selection of infinitesimal varieties, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been evolved [STRESS added]. (Sir Gavin De Beer, 1958, Charles Darwin And Alfreed Russel Wallace: Evolution By Natural Selection, pages 253-254. Please note that in the extensive quote above, the bracketed "[simple]" appeared which meant that "words so enclosed are erased in the original MS" (De Beer, 1958, page 41).
Charles R. Darwin did his research and thought about what he was writing. As Campbell has written:
"By conveying a sense of wonder in the language of his scientific observations, Darwin humanizes knowledge through emotion. Though his purpose is to communicate scientific observations and not affective response, his language nevertheless is a vehicle through which he affirms the claims of our humanity on our knowledge" (John A. Campbell, 1974, "Nature, Religion And Emotional Response: A Reconsideration of Darwin's Affective Decline" in Victorian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, pages 159-174, page 173; also see Walker Gibson, 1958, "Behind The Veil: A Distinction Between Poetic And Scientific Language In Tennyson, Lyell, And Darwin" in Victorian Studies, pages 60-68, page 68, as he writes about Darwin's "wonderful piece of writing" in his Voyage publication.
THE GREAT DEBATE
It is clear from numerous accounts that "both Huxley and Darwin knew the animosity and vehemence that Darwin's theory might--and did--arouse" (Pat Shipman, 1994, The Evolution of Racism: Human Differences And The Use And Abuse Of Science, page 53). Darwin was essentially confined to his home at Down as a result of his illness from his South American research and he really did not take part in the great public and scientific debates that came about with the publication of Origin. In June of 1860, the British Association for the Advancement of Science held its annual meeting at Oxford University. At the meeting, in addition to numerous scholarly papers, Professor Daubney (Botany) presented a paper with the title of "On the Final Causes of the Sexuality of Plants, With Particular Reference to Mr. Darwin's Work on Origin of Species" and it was well-received, but a debate was due.
Huxley was in attendance at the meetings and was all set to leave, but he was encouraged by Robert Chambers, 1844 author of The Vestiges of Creation, to stay until Saturday, June 30th, when a paper was to be presented by Dr. Draper (from New York, USA) entitled "On the Intellectual Development of Europe Considered With Reference to the Views of Mr. Darwin." Described as being "duly and dully delivered" to an audience of over 700 individuals in the West Room of the Oxford Museum, the paper was politely received, but more discussion was desired. In attendance in this crowd of 700, in addition to Thomas Huxley, was none other than the Reverend Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873), who was the Bishop of Oxford.
The Reverend Wilberforce was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a knowledgeable individual in his own right. He had reviewed Origin for the London Quarterly Review in 1860 and while he began the review by writing about Darwin's scientific attainments, his insight and carefulness as an observer, and his clear and lively writing style, Wilberforce ultimately described the 1859 Origin as "the most illogical book ever written" and, on another occasion, "the most unphilosophical work he ever read" (R.B. Freeman, 1978, Charles Darwin: A Companion, page 303; also see S. Wilbeforce, "Review" in Darwinism: Critical Reviews...., pages 93-132, Edited by Daniel N. Robinson), page 93). On the 30th of June, after Dr. Draper's presentation, the Reverend Samuel Wilberforce was invited to speak to the crowd and for thirty minutes he spoke his opinion about the foolishness of Darwin's approach. Wilberforce was well-received by the crowd but unfortunately for the good Prelate, he ended his presentation with a fatal error by making a personal inquiry into Huxley's ancestry: turning to face Huxley, and with apparent smiling insolence Wilberforce asked "was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he [Huxley] claimed descent from a monkey?" (Ashely Montagu, Editor, 1974, Frontiers of Anthropology, page 178). An observer present at that meeting wrote how the Reverend Wilberforce spoke for his thirty minutes "with inimitable spirit, emptiness and unfairness" and when Huxley heard Wilberforce's insolent question, he turned to his companion next to him and stated "The Lord hath delivered him into mine hands." Huxley waited until he was invited to speak, and he rose and gave his statement. Nine weeks after the event, Thomas Huxley wrote to a colleague about the event:
"It was great fun--I had said that I could not see what difference it would make to my moral responsibility if I had an ape for a grandfather, and saponaceous Samuel thought it was a fine opportunity for chaffing a savan. However he performed the operation vulgarly & I determined to punish him--partly on that account & partly because he talked pretentious nonsense. So when I got up I spoke pretty much to the effect--that I had listened with great attention to the Lord Bishop's speech but had been unable to discover either a new fact or a new argument in it--except indeed, the question raised as to my personal predilections in the matter of ancestry--that it would not have occurred to me to bring forward such a topic as that for discussion myself, but that I was quite ready to meet the Right Rev. prelate even on that ground--If then, said I, the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means & influence & yet who employs those faculties & that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion--I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape. Whereupon there was inextinguishable laughter among the people--and they listened to the rest of my argument with the greatest of attention. Lubbock & Hooker spoke after me with great force . . [STRESS added]" (Cyril Bibby, 1972, Scientist Extraordinary: The Life And Scientific Work Of Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-1895, page 40).
Huxley was well-received and the public debate on evolution of species went on for years and continues to this date. It should be pointed out, however, that not everyone was pleased with Huxley's remarks for it was reported:
"...when the Bishop of Worcester told his wife what had happened [at Oxford that day], she is said...to have replied, 'Descended from the apes! My dear, let us hope that it is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known" (Cyril Bibby, 1972, Scientist Extraordinary: The Life And Scientific Work Of Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-1895, page 41).
Remember, once again, that Charles R. Darwin did not write about Homo sapiens per se in the 1859 publication of Origin, but the implications were clearly there:
"The idea that evolution by natural selection could account for the origin of man was taken up by others as a direct result of Darwin's ideas. The respected T.H. Huxley did this explicitly in 1863 in his Evidence As To Man's Place In Nature " (John Bonner and Robert May, 1981, "Preface" in Charles Darwin, The Descent Of Man And Selection In Relation To Sex [0riginal in 1871], page xi).
Prior to Origin, Darwin learned that the distinguished anatomist Richard Owen (1804-1892), an individual who become a staunch anti-Darwinist (and supporter of Bishop Wilberforce), had "raised Man to a distinct subclass at the head of creation," Darwin had this to say: "I wonder what a chimpanzee would say to this? [5 July 1857]" (In Adrian Desmond, 1979, The Ape's Reflexion, page 11).
"In the Origin Darwin tried to avoid extending his biological explanations into social and moral questions, but the extension was unavoidable and he made it himself in The Descent of Man. From the start Darwinism made the human a part of the natural world and subject to scientific analysis" (George Levin, 1988, Darwin And The Novelists: Patterns Of Science In Victorian Fiction, pages 85-86).
Change was definitely the name of the game in Origin, change as well as the accumulation of data. Earlier it had pointed that some 25,500 copies of Origin had been published in Britain by the time of Darwin's death in 1882. Darwin himself wrote the following, that by 1876, Origin had been:
"...translated into almost every European tongue, even into such languages as Spanish, Bohemian, Polish, and Russian. ... Even an essay in Hebrew has appeared on it, showing that the theory is contained in the Old Testament! The reviews were very numerous; for a time I collected all that appeared on the Origin and on my related books, and these amount (excluding newspaper reviews) to two hundred and sixty-five; but after a time I gave up the attempt in despair. ... The success of the Origin may, I think, be attributed in large to my having long before written two condensed sketches and to my finally having abstracted a much larger manuscript, which was itself an abstract. By this means I was enabled to select the more striking facts and conclusions. I had also, during many years, followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a new observation, or thought came across me which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fault and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were fare more apt to escape from the memory than favorable ones. Owing to this habit, very few objections were raised against my views which I had not at least noticed and attempted to answer" (Stanley E. Hyman, 1963, Darwin For Today, pages 389-390).
Change, or the willingness to accept changes and deal with changes in interpretations was also evident in the individuals that Darwin associated with: from Lyell's geological changes to Huxley's ability to deal with change. Consider the following words from Huxley's now classic "Evolution and Ethics" lecture delivered on May 18, 1893:
"And the more we learn of the nature of things, the more evident is it that what we call rest is only unperceived activity; that seeming peace is silent but strenuous battle. In every part, at every moment, the state of the cosmos is the expression of a transitory adjustment of contending forces; a scene of strife, in which all the combatants fall in turn. What is true of each of the parts, is true of the whole. Natural knowledge tends more and more to the conclusion that 'all the choirs of heaven and furniture of the earth' are the transitory forms of parcels of cosmic substance wending along the road of evolution, from nebulous potentiality, through endless growths of sun and planet and satellite; through all varieties of matter; through infinite diversities of life and thought; possibly, through modes of being which we have neither a conception, nor are competent to form any, back to the indefinable latency from which they arose. Thus the most obvious attribute of the cosmos is its impermanence. It assumes the aspect not so much of a permanent entity as of a changeful process, in which naught endures save the flow of energy and the rational order which pervades it " [STRESS added] (Thomas Henry Huxley, reprinted in James Paradis and Georger C. Williams, 1989, Evolution & Ethics: T.H. Huxley's Evolution And Ethics With New Essays On Its Victorian And Sociobiological Context, pages 104-177, pages 107-108).
Please note that the authors of this book point out that Huxley wrote the essays for Evolution And Ethics" "in imitation of Malthus for precisely the reasons that Malthus had written An Essay On The Principles Of Population (1978)--to refute...." (pages 6-7). Nothing develops out of nothing and all intellectual events are cumulative!
This is similar to the point introduced earlier which I will re-state here: in the 1990s, what we suffer from is not the "feeling" that "change is occurring too rapidly" but we suffer from failing to make changes in our interpretations of change! I believe that change is a constant but our ability to deal with change can fall further and further behind unless we work at keeping our interpretations current and flexible; we must avoid "hardening of our categories!" Change is the natural order of things and as stated above, we should re-consider the 1991 words of Richard Lee Marks (writing in Three Men Of The Beagle) who had the following:
"Nowadays, when you can jet from New York to Buenos Aires to Ushuaia with a stop-over in Comodoro Rivadavia, all within twenty-four hours (if your connections are excellent), you may still stand there on the shore looking across the gray-green water of the Beagle Channel at Navarin Island--but you may be less respectful of the strangeness and your mind-set may be more intractable, less susceptible to the great question of human existence [STRESS added]" [R.L. Marks, 1991, Three Men Of The Beagle, pages 5-6].
How would Darwin change if he were to publish Origin right now? What would he do the same? I think that Darwin would still advocate traveling and getting wide experiences in a variety of areas and obtaining a liberal and broad-ranging education. I also think that Darwin would strongly advocate a word processor! I think that he would stress the importance of thinking in terms of populations and in thinking in terms of the range of variation within a given population. I believe that Darwin would continue to stress the environment and adaptation to the environment. As the 20th century anthropologist Gregory Bateson once remarked: "The unit of survival [or adaptation] is organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself" (Gregory Bateson, 1972, Steps To An Ecology Of Mind, page 483).
Darwin would probably do some things differently and some things the same but he would definitely incorporate information on genetics and Deoxyribonucleic research into a 1990s Origin. A 20th century jazz musician made the following statement which is interesting to consider in light of Darwin: Charlie Mingus said "Anybody can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple." I, and numerous others, believe that Darwin was creative; and he also came up with a simple principle to deal with observable data: evolution by natural selection. In 1958, Loren Eisely wrote a book entitled Darwin's Century: Evolution And The Men Who Discovered It and he had an intriguing chapter entitled "The Priest Who Held The Key To Evolution (pages 205-231)" pointing out the 1865 work of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) that Darwin (nor anyone else!) knew about, but that is another story! Trying to summarize pre-1859 and post-1859 opinions of biology, the following chart (after W.S. Laughlin and R.H. Osborn, Editors, 1967, Human Variation And Origins: An Introduction To Biology And Evolution) is useful:
COMMENTS AND SEMI-CONCLUDING REMARKS
Jacques Barzun (1907-) gave his 1941 publication the title of Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of A Heritage. Origin, of course, was first published in 1859, but also in that year the German composer Wagner completed the score for his Tristan And Isolde and the German author Karl Marx (living in England) published his Critique of Political Economy (January 1859) and began his first words for Das Kapital (subsequently published in 1867). One has written that Karl Marx "venerated" Darwin and called himself a "sincere admirer" of his work; Marx wished to dedicate the English translation of Volume two of Das Kapital to Darwin, but this was a request which Darwin "courteously refused" since Charles Darwin did not wish to imply approval of a work he had not read (Julian Huxley and H.B.D, Kettlewell, 1965, Charles Darwin And His World, poage 80). In fact, in 1880, Darwin wrote the following to Marx:
"It seems to me (rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and Theism hardly have any effect on the public; and that freedom of thought will best be promoted by that gradual enlightening of human understanding which follows the progress of science. I have therefore always avoided writing about religion and have confined myself to science" [STRESS added] (cited in S.J. Gould, 1977, Ever Since Darwin: Reflections In Natural History, pages 26-27).
Why do we do what we do? How do we come to do it? Darwin's friend, Thomas Huxley, wrote upon the occasion of the 1859 publication of Origin that "How exceedingly stupid not to have thought of that" (in Cyril Bibby, 1972, Scientist Extraordinary: The Life And Scientific Work Of Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-1895, page 38); and someone else (Samuel Butler [1835-1902]), in perhaps a less kindly manner, wrote the following: "Buffon planted, Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck watered, but it was Mr. Darwin who said 'That fruit is ripe,' and shook it into his lap" (Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 448).
Perhaps Loren Eiseley (1907-1977) has stated it with less bias: "Charles Darwin, like every other worker in the field of science, used the knowledge and the accumulated stores of information of his predecessors" (Loren Eiseley, 1979, Darwin And The Mysterious Mr. X, page 74). Eiseley continued with the following: "To their efforts he added his own vast resources and the originality of a powerful, far-reaching mind." Darwin approached his world with an open mind and with his training and experience, he searched for answers to questions. Other individuals of his time were experiencing "not the shock of discovery but rather the shock of recognition" (Gertrude Himmelfarb, 1959, Darwin And The Darwinian Revolution, page 448).
So much data was being gathered, so many other individuals were thinking along similar lines, that Darwin's work fit quite right in with the current intellectual and scientific discussions and debates of the day. Indeed, one may examine publications such as Eiseley's own 1958 publication as well as a 1959 volume edited by Bentley Glass et al., entitled Forerunners of Darwin: 1745-1859, to see the amount of information and interpretations that preceded the Origin of 1859. Individuals such as Wallace, Lamarck, Buffon, and Lyell are discussed, as well as Erasmus Darwin, Cuvier, Diderot (of Encyclopédie fame), Robert Chambers, Kant, and others! After Darwin, we see Mendel, as well as theories of Social Darwinism, Eugenics, and much more! In an book published in 1991, entitled In Search Of Human Nature: The Decline And Revival Of Darwinism in American Social Thought, Degler has the following:
"The concept of evolution, which seems so obvious to us today, emerged only in the eighteenth century. Immanuel Kant's assertion that the universe was the product of slow change over eons of time was among the earliest examples of an evolutionary outlook. Another was the recognition by geologists that the earth, too, had a history, that it had not always been as it appeared. Once there had been mountains where there were plains, seas where deserts now stood. Others applied the idea of slow change over time to living nature, seeing an evolution of animals from simple to complex forms. Among such proponents was Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles. In more way than one, in short, Charles Darwin's work is best seen as the culmination rather than the initiation of a line of thought that saw evolutionary change in man and nature. Yet simply because Darwin was the culmination, he shaped men's thinking about evolution and man's relations to animals. He rephrased, as no one before him, what it meant to be human" [STRESS added] (Carl N. Degler, 1991, Search Of Human Nature: The Decline And Revival Of Darwinism In American Social Thought, pages 5-6).
As previously mentioned, by 1876, Origin had been: "translated into almost every European tongue, even into such languages as Spanish, Bohemian, Polish, and Russian" and as the title of the aforementioned 1991 Degler publication pointed out (Search Of Human Nature: The Decline And Revival Of Darwinism In American Social Thought), Darwin influenced American social thought: he "set the framework within which American social scientists of the late nineteenth century pursued their effort to understand human behavior" (Carl N. Degler, 1991, Search Of Human Nature: The Decline And Revival Of Darwinism In American Social Thought, pages 5-6). An American reaction to Origin of 1859 did not develop as rapidly as the European reaction (primarily since the Huxley-Wilberforce debate of 1860 focussed the discussions in Europe), but it did develop. Cynthia Eagle Russett points out this eventual development in her 1976 publication entitled Darwin In America: The Intellectual Response 1865-1912. Certainly Darwin (or was it Herbert Spencer?) influenced a wide range of American thinkers, such as William James (1842-1910) and Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), but that is yet another story! In 1944, Richard Hofstadter published Social Darwinism In American Thought and his fifty-two year old statement is as true and relevant today as it was in 1944:
"When Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species dawned upon the world it aroused no such immediate furor in the United States as it did in England. A public sensation comparable to that stirred up in England by Huxley's famous clash with Wilberforce in June 1860 was impossible in America, where a critical election was beginning whose results would disrupt the Union and bring about a terrible Civil War. Although the first American edition of The Origin of Species was widely reviewed in 1860, the coming of the war obscured new developments in scientific thought for all but professional scientists and a few hardy intellectuals" (Richard Hofstadter, 1944, Social Darwinism In American Thought, page 13).
The debate continues to this date on a wide range of "Darwin-related" matters, and this brief paper certainly cannot cover everything that is currently going on; however, your attention is called to the following statement from Norman Macbeth's interesting 1971 repudiation of "Classical Darwinism" entitled Darwin Retried: An Appeal To Reason, and Macbeth's extremely cogent and important words:
"One who makes a close study of almost any branch of science soon discovers the great illusion of the monolith. When he [or she] stood outside as an uninformed layman, he got a vague impression of the unanimity among the professionals. He tended to think of science as supporting an Establishment with fixed and approved views. All this dissolves as he works his way into the living concerns of practicing scientists. He finds lively personalities who indulge in disagreement, disorder, and disrespect. He [and she!] must sort out conflicting opinions and make up his own mind as to what is correct and who is sound" [STRESS added] ((Norman Macbeth, 1971, Darwin Retried: An Appeal To Reason, page 18).
I have come to certain conclusions pertaining to Darwin's intellectual history, his thought patterns, his "feelings" at the time, and his influence on our times. Et tu dear reader? 
Between Darwin's publication of Origin in 1859 and the five revisions of Origin, and the publication of his Descent of Man in 1871(and other publications by Charles Darwin), numerous events occurred which had an influence on the intellectual reception of Darwin; indeed, the 1859 translated words of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám might apply to Charles Darwin's 1859 publication of the Origin:
The 1860 meeting at Oxford has already been mentioned but note also that in that year, seven English Churchmen also published an item entitled Essays and Reviews, wherein certain orthodox religious doctrines were questioned. In addition, in the 1860s and 1870s other events occurred to almost make Darwin's ideas almost passéwhile he was still alive!
"In 1862 Bishop Colenso started to publish his doubts about the Pentateuch. In 1863 Sir Charles Lyell produced his evidence on the antiquity of man, which seemed to be inconsistent with the account of creation in the Bible. In 1863 Renan's humanizing Vie de Jésus appeared. In 1865 J. R. Seeley of Cambridge published another humanizing work on Christ called Ecce Homo. In 1870 the British Association at Exeter generally accepted evolution. [AND] In 1871 Darwin published his Descent of Man. Thus in these ten to twelve years orthodox religion received a series of body blows, which seemed to be aimed at its existence" (G. Kitson Clark, 1967, An Expanding Society: Britain In 1830-1900, pp. 95-96).
When Descent of Man was published in 1871, the "controversy" was almost over in Darwin's time! A 1984 author had a nice summary statement of Darwin's 1871 publication:
"Despite its more explicitly materialistic interpretation of man's essence, Descent was not met with the rancor that earlier had engulfed Origin . In barely more than a decade the concept of evolution--even human evolution--had become installed as a familiar feature on the landscape of popular ideas. If the scientific community's judgment of the work did not always convey unbridled admiration, rarely did it concede less than sober respect. The reviews of Descent were for the most part favorable (Mivart's aside, of course), and the tone of criticism politely muted. A number of reviewers took the occasion to deliver the satisfying news that science posed no threat to religion after all [STRESS added] (Kenneth Korey, 1984, The Essential Darwin, page 286).
Orthodox religion did not receive a series of body blows as a result of Darwin's publications but religious interpretations were changing; Colenso was excommunicated by his Archbishop; Ecce Homo was described as "the most pestilential book ever vomited from the jaws of hell,' and you have already been apprised of Bishop Wilberforce's opinion of Darwin's work.
In addition to research and publications in geology and the natural sciences which occurred after 1859, the specific (yet generalizing) discipline of "Anthropology" was also changing. Although the term anthropology itself (a combination of Anthropos + logos) appeared as early as 1573 (and please Urbanowicz 1992, "Four Field Comentary" in Anthropology Newsletter, Vol. 3, No 9, page 3 ) in a work by Magnus Hundt, the following should be noted (from a 1964 publication):
"Anthropology existed before Darwin, but he provided it with its central theme. Meanwhile some anthropologists, jurists, historians, and philosophers did not wait for [the 1871] Descent of Man to act on the cue that Darwin had given them in the Origin [of 1859], and the following pioneer studies in evolutionary cultural anthropology reflect the effect of his work: Sir Henry Maine's Ancient Laws (1861), N. D. Fustel de Coulange's La cite antique (1865), J. F. MacLennan's Primitive Marriage (1865), Sir Edward Tylor's Researches into the Primitive History of Mankind (1865), Sir John Lubbock's aOrigins of Civilization and the Primitive Condition of Man (1870), all of which were published after the first edition of the Origin in 1859 and before the Descent of Man in 1871" (Gavin De Beer, 1964, Charles Darwin: Evolution By Natural Selection, page 217).
Information on "non-Western" individuals and cultures came in at a rapid pace in both the 18th and 19th centuries: from the Pacific, we received the early ethnographic accounts from Captain James Cook (1728-1779) and in the Valley of the Neander, in Germany, prior to Origin, a fossil skull was found. In 1861, Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg published his edition of Popul Vuh: Le Livre Sacre et des mythes de l'antiquite americaine, and this excited the scholarly world about Mesoamerican civilization. Research from individuals all over the globe was being distributed and discussed at a record-breaking pace and the science of anthropology was expanding! Remember that the fossilized remains of what would eventually be called "Neanderthal" were actually discovered in Germany in 1856, prior to publication of Origin. Fossil finds were being discovered an interpreted by intelligent individuals of the day and in 1863 Thomas Huxley published his own book entitled Man's Place In Nature and this also had a tremendous impact on the intellectual climate of the times:
"Though Huxley's book was not universally admired, it was widely influential because of its clarity, brevity, and focus--three attributes rarely allotted to Darwin's [Origin] book. Man's Place In Nature is often cited as the beginning of physical anthropology, which encompasses the study of bodily variation and evolution of humans. Yet Huxley's book would have been robbed of significance, then as now, without the broader theoretical context already established by Darwin" [STRESS added] (Pat Shipman, 1994, The Evolution Of Racism: Human Differences And The Use And Abuse Of Science, page 67).
Certain intellectual events are cumulative and we are all products of our times, a point that I tried to make in the beginning of this paper when I wrote that Darwin was just as human as the writer (and reader) of this paper, burdened with all of the biases and paradoxes of the times and limited by the known (and unknown) information of the times. This is certainly a simpler phrase, I believe, than what may be viewed as a "reflexive" statement made by Rosemary Jann in writing about "Darwin And The Anthropologists: Sexual Selection And Its Discontents" in 1994:
"By recognizing the way our own ideological assumptions help to write the narratives that explain order in our world--and our interpretations of those written in the past--we can perhaps begin to take more responsibility for the role we play in constructing that order in the first place" (Rosemary Jann, 1994, "Darwin And The Anthropologists: Sexual Selection And Its Discontents" in Victorian Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2, pages 287-306, page 304).
This is certainly what Levine meant when he quoted Robert Young's 1985 publication entitled Darwin's Metaphor: Nature's Place In Victorian Culture; in 1987, Levine reiterated the following: "At the heart of a science we find a culture's values" (George Levine, 1987, "Darwin Among The Critics" in Victorian Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2, pages 253-260, page 260).
SELECTIVE INTERPRETATIONS AGAIN
When this paper was presented in the "first person" on October 4, 1990 (with the speaker in costume and character of Darwin) a question was raised from the audience as to "why did you (Urbanowicz) place so much emphasis on Darwin's use of the term Creator" in his writings?" The answer given then was the same one I hold today: at times, people discuss Darwin without ever having read Darwin or if they have read something by Darwin, "they" interpret his writings for their own purposes. Darwin wrote of a "Creator" and was not an atheist. Charles Darwin also wrote with clarity and he presented a tremendous amount of information over numerous years and he also re-wrote numerous items, resulting in the six editions of Origin in his lifetime.
Earlier in this paper reference was made to Stephen J. Gould's 1993 selective quotation from Darwin as well as a 1982 "interview" which included a quotation in reference to Darwin's Origin, without reference to the Creator. This current electronic version of a traditional "paper" was completed in September 1996 and virtually everything I read indicates a debate concerning Darwin (and his ideas as expressed in his writings) still continues and selective interpretations still continue. I must also admit, that in beginning to read Gould's 1995 publication entitled Dinosaur In A Haystack: Reflections In Natural History, I am still somewhat dismayed to see Gould quoting from Darwin's Origin and, for some reason, choosing to omit Darwin's obvious reference to "the Creator" in editions two through six. (See Stephen J. Gould, 1995, Dinosaur In A Haystack: Reflections In Natural History, page 37).
The social sciences, including "anthropology" are not a "hard science" like physics and chemistry, because the social sciences are not as cumulative as the hard sciences. Within anthropology, or "story-telling" in general, individuals select what to include in their writings and these selections may often be skewed, for one reason or another, as the earlier Gould quote illustrated. Consider, if you will, the 1994 collection of essays entitled Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover Creativity which includes several references to Darwin's Origin from several contributors. Consider the words of Owen Gingerich, described as a "professor of astronomy and the history of science at Harvard University, and a senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory." Gingerich's chapter is entitled "Dare A Scientist Believe In Design" and he cites a 1990 statement by "the evolutionary biologist and historian of science William B. Provine, who has recently written" the following:
"When Darwin deduced the theory of natural selection to explain the adaptations in which he had previously seen the handiwork of God, he knew that he was committing cultural murder. He understood immediately that if natural selection explained adaptations, and evolution by descent were true, then the argument from design was dead and all that went with it, namely the existence of a personal god, free will, life after death, immutable moral laws, and ultimate meaning in life. The immediate reactions to Darwin's On the Origin of Species exhibit, in addition to favorable and admiring responses from a relatively few scientists, an understandable fear and disgust that has never disappeared from Western culture" [stress added] (Owen Gingerich, 1994, "Dare A Scientist Believe In Design" in Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover Creativity, pages 21-32, page 30).
One should wonder how much "projection" is taking place in this interpretation of Darwin and the "fear and disgust" mentioned? I would also argue that many more than a "relatively few scientists" viewed Origin in a favorable light, not to mention the intelligent public! I am definitely not sure what the statement "cultural murder" refers to and as for doing away with "the existence of a personal god" I must once again refer the reader of this paper to Darwin writing of a "God of Nature" in his 1839 The Voyage of the Beagle and then the "Creator" that Darwin mentioned in the second edition (and all subsequent editions of Origin in his lifetime):
"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved" [stress added]. [Chapter XV: "Recapitulation And Conclusion"]
For some who only reads the Gingerich chapter without being aware of the "real" words of Charles Darwin, one gets a "different" (i.e., WRONG) interpretation of Charles Darwin! In another chapter entitled "A Potent Universe" by John Polkinghorne, "elected the chair of mathematical physics at Cambridge University in 1968," the author cites Darwin, but does not inform the reader that this came from the oft-criticized Origin:
"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that ... [these "..." are exactly as Polkinghorne has them] from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved" (John Polkinghorne, 1994, "The Potent Universe" Evidence of Purpose: Scientists Discover Creativity, pages 105-115, page 106).
The reader who has earlier read of "cultural murder" as a result
of the Origin might now think this was a death-bed statement
or a recanting statement by Darwin, not something which appeared in
the Origin! The contributors to that particular volume have
their opinions, I have mine, and you must make up your own mind on
Darwin. You must also make up your own mind on everything!
Why do scientists or authors or anthropologists write and communicate as they do? In 1974, Howard Gruber published a 260+ page book entitled Darwin On Man: A Psychological Study of Creativity. The first edition had an important introduction by Jean Piaget [1896-1980] wherein he mentioned the "reflective process" necessary for thinking and how new ideas are created. Gruber can not be paraphrased in a few lines, but I do appreciate his closing words to the volume:
"Each person makes a different set of decisions about the use of his [or her] personal resources, thereby setting the scene for the fortunate accidents of thought that occur and choosing among them when they do. Thus, Darwin could notice behavioral variations in pigeons and use them in a theory of the evolution of mind because he was at once the pigeon fancier, the evolutionist, and the materialist."
"The fact that he was all these things at once meant that a unique and productive intersection of many enterprises could occur in his thinking. At the same time, the existence of this ensemble was not an accident but the deliberately cultivated fruit of Darwin's work. He organized his life in order to construct a new point of view, one that would deal with adaptation in a changing world without any recourse to supernatural forces."
"In his [or her, I must add] exploration of the world, the individual finds out what needs doing. In his attempts to do some of it, he finds out what needs doing. In his attempts to do some of it, he finds out what he can do and what he cannot. He also comes to see what he need not do. From the intersection of these possibilities there emerges a new imperative, his sense of what he must do. How "It needs" and "I can" give birth to "I must" remains enigmatic [ALL STRESS added]" (Howard E. Gruber, 1974, 1981 2nd edition, Darwin On Man: A Psychological Study of Creativity, page 257)
Darwin was indeed fortunate in many respects and Peter Brent made an interesting comment on Darwin in his 1981 publication, Charles Darwin: A Man of Enlarged Curiosity, describing him as an intellectual and pointing out that he had neither a prescribed social rôle nor an on-going working position: Darwin simply applied himself to those problems which he found intriguing. Darwin was not a dilettante aristocrat, and he "was not an academic, established by title upon the intellectual scene" (Peter Brent, 1981, Charles Darwin: A Man of Enlarged Curiosity, page 335). There was never a personnel committee Darwin had to sit upon nor an academic affairs committee to meet with to justify his somewhat unorthodox ideas! As the distinguished George Gaylord Simpson wrote in 1982, in the volume entitled (perhaps somewhat facetiously, or for the purchasing public in mind) The Book Of Darwin:
"Almost all humans meditate on the nature of the world in which they live, on their place in it and on their relationships to it. That may be the most distinct characteristic of Homo sapiens as compared with other species. ... This book [Simpson wrote, and I say this paper] is partly by and partly about Charles Darwin, one of those exceptional persons who have revolutionized both the scientific and the philosophical aspects of thought about those matters" (George Gaylord Simpson, 1982, The Book Of Darwin, page 13).
How should one remember Charles Robert Darwin? He has been described in a contemporary encyclopedia as "an affectionate husband and father . . . and a steadfast friend to several eminent scientists" of his time (Ralph Colp, Jr., 1988, Darwin, Robert Charles (1809-1882)" in Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, edited by Sally Mitchell, pp. 208-210, page 209). Emma Darwin once described him as "the most transparent man" she ever saw and Darwin wrote a note to himself, wherein he carefully weighed the pro's & cons of marriage and he ended the note with the following: "Marry - Marry - Marry Q.E.D." The words that Charles Darwin wrote to Emma in a letter nine days before they were married in 1839 held true for all of their years: "I think you will humanize me, and soon teach me there is greater happiness than building theories and accumulating facts in silence and solitude" (C. Darwin to Emma , dated Jan 20th 1839 in More Letters of Charles Darwin: A Record of His Work In A Series of Hitherto Unpublished Letters, Francis Darwin, Editor, 1903, page 29).
Emma Darwin was a very religious woman: she attended church on a regular basis and one of their daughters wrote that in Emma's youth "religion must have largely filled her life, and there is evidence in the papers she left that it distressed her in her early married life to know" that Charles Darwin did not share her faith (Nora Barlow, 1958, Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, page 239). Emma expressed her concerns to her husband and in a letter she sent his shortly after they were married in 1839, Emma wrote that "everything that concerns you concerns me and I should be most unhappy if I thought we did not belong to each other forever." It was a known fact that Darwin was deeply moved by this and Emma found her letter to Charles among his notes after he died and she read his following words: "When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cryed over this" (Nora Barlow, 1958, Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882, page 237).
As Emma Darwin and Charles Darwin grew older, so did their children: William became a wealthy banker, Horace an engineer, and George went into astronomy. One day, simply because there was no holding back the passage of time, Darwin recalled that the boys decided that they were too old to call him "Papa" anymore and would call me "Father" instead and he wrote that "I would sooner be called Dog" but time does serve as a great equalizer (Walter Karp, 1968, Charles Darwin And The Origin Of Species, page 139). When Darwin had his final and fatal heart attack on the 19th of April 1882, he made no deathbed statement as to his faith, but had he been asked the question by someone: "Darwin, have you made peace with God?" perhaps he would have chosen to respond with the words attributed to Thoreau on his deathbed, who is said to have responded to that question as follows: "I didn't know we had quarreled" (Huston Smith, 1958, The Religions of Man, page 328). After Darwin's death, perhaps it was his daughter who summarized his life the best:
"My first remembrances of my father are of the delights of his playing with us. He was passionately attached to his own children, although he was not an indiscriminate child-lover. ... He cared for all our pursuits and interests, and lived our lives with us in a way that very few fathers do. But I am certain that none of us felt that this intimacy interfered the least with our respect and obedience. ... Another characteristic of his treatment of his children was his respect for their liberty, and for their personality. Our father and mother would not even wish to know what we were doing or thinking unless we wished to tell. He always made us feel that we were each of us creatures whose opinions and thoughts were valuable to him, so that whatever there was best in us came out in the sunshine of his presence" (Francis Darwin, 1950, Charles Darwin's Autobiography: With His Notes And Letters Depicting The Growth of The Origin of Species, pp. 96-98).
This is an honored way to be remembered and it has been verified by professional colleagues as well:
"Charles Darwin, whose life spanned much of the nineteenth century, is the most influential biologist to have lived. Not only did he change the course of biological science but he changed for ever how philosophers and theologians conceive of man's place in nature. An outstanding scientist who excelled first as an observer and later as a theorist and experimenter, he was also a singularly attractive character beloved by family and colleagues alike" (John Bowlby, 1990, Charles Darwin: A New Life, page 1).
Darwin was a prolific writer and it has been estimated that in his lifetime, he published some "seven thousand pages, about three million words" (John Bowlby, 1990, Charles Darwin: A New Life, page 5). This is impressive, is it not? Darwin was never a teacher, per se, and he had no legions of graduates or undergraduate students to listen to his presentations. However, should Darwin have been fortunate enough to be in any classroom, I think he would have wished to convey the vital importance of individuals finding their own patterns in the data, looking for the patterns of nature or for the patterns of human behavior. Someone once wrote about a leading 20th century Californian, Frank Oppenheimer of the San Francisco Exploratorium: "Letting people find the patterns in nature, Oppenheimer believed, empowered them and helped them make informed decisions in an increasingly technical age." If our world is not knowable, it is "at least understandable" (as cited by Gerald George in a book review of The Exploratorium: The Museum As Laboratory, by Hild Hein  in The San Francisco Chronicle Review, July 15, 1990, page 11).
Thomas Huxley wrote Darwin's obituary for the April 27, 1882 issue of Nature (London). In addition to pointing out many things about Darwin, Huxley ended by writing that the words applied to Socrates "Apology" are appropriate for Charles Darwin and as Huxley wrote the words ring:
"...in our ears as if it were Charles Darwin's farewell:--'The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways--I to die and you to live. Which is the better, God only knows.'" (Thomas H. Huxley, 1986, "Charles Darwin" in Darwiniana Essays, pages 244-247, page 247).
EPILOGUE: C. F. URBANOWICZ
The idea to present Darwin in the first person on October 4, 1990, make a 70 minute videotape in February 1993, and again portray Charles Darwin for several houra for another videotape series in April 1996, was not an original idea. (The April 1996 videotapes are being edited this year by Ms. Donna Crowe of the Instructional Media Center at California State University, Chico.) Years ago I came across a 1975 book by UC Berkeley Professor of Zoology Richard M. Eakin entitled Great Scientists Speak Again. Darwin, as well as Mendel, Pasteur (1822-1895), and several others were portrayed by Eakin for his Zoology 10 class. You are invited to consult his volume to compare his Darwin with my Darwin. Charles R. Darwin was an interesting individual and it is wonderful to read about his influence in so many areas; one intriguing parallel concerned John Muir (1838-1914), of Yosemite fame, and Charles Darwin:
"In 1837, at the age of twenty-eight, Darwin jotted in his notes, 'animals . . . may partake of our origin in one common ancestor--we may all be melted together.' At twenty-nine, Muir left home to explore the natural world and eventually to express himself even more expansively: 'When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.' Yosemite became to Muir what the Galapagos Islands were to Darwin: a place where personal experience and visionary thought came together to influence broader concepts pursued for decades thereafter in other parts of the world. Both men looked closely at the primordial struggle for existence long observed by others; both saw not something life-threatening and destructive, but a creative, life-giving process. Darwin liberated biologists from looking at a species a fixed entities. Muir freed first himself, then generations of his disciples, from the venerated tradition of adapting land to human needs, urging instead a new ethic of adapting human behavior toward preserving the natural state of the earth" [STRESS added] (Galen Rowell [Editor], 1989, The Yosemite [The original John Muir text], page 19.
Finally, two final statements for this paper: one has already been used, but it is still quite appropriate:
"Darwin taught us all to see more clearly what everyone had seen, and Darwin also taught us to think, along with him, what no one else had thought. No branch of science is more dominated by a single theory, by a single great idea, than is the whole of biology by the idea of evolution by Natural Selection" (J. Livingston and L. Sinclair, 1967, Darwin And The Galapagos, n.p.).
The second closing comment comes from my "inspiration" to perform as Darwin, in costume, in October 1990 and I cite the words of Richard M. Eakin who is making a statement as Charles Darwin:
"If I had any advice to you it is just this: love science but do not worship it. Put science in its proper place, ranking it along with philosophy and history, music and religion, literature and art. If I had my life to live again [Darwin says], I would make it a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week" (Richard M. Eakin, 1975, Great Scientists Speak Again, page 107).
"Only beginners are awed by their ability to collate monumental bibliographies which the readers of the original articles rarely consult anyway." (Hans Seyle, 1964, From Dream To Discovery, page 344.)
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[~32,156 words]} 21 October 2004
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