Infomotions, Inc.The Autobiography of Charles Darwin / Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882



Author: Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
Title: The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): species; voyage
Contributor(s): Dakyns, Henry Graham, 1838-1911 [Translator]
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Identifier: etext2010
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The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

From The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin

Edited by Francis Darwin [Charles' son]

December, 1999 [Etext #2010]


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The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

From The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin

Edited by his Son

Francis Darwin



[My father's autobiographical recollections, given in the present
chapter, were written for his children,--and written without any
thought that they would ever be published.  To many this may seem
an impossibility; but those who knew my father will understand
how it was not only possible, but natural.  The autobiography
bears the heading, 'Recollections of the Development of my Mind
and Character,' and end with the following note:--"Aug. 3, 1876. 
This sketch of my life was begun about May 28th at Hopedene (Mr.
Hensleigh Wedgwood's house in Surrey.), and since then I have
written for nearly an hour on most afternoons."  It will easily
be understood that, in a narrative of a personal and intimate
kind written for his wife and children, passages should occur
which must here be omitted; and I have not thought it necessary
to indicate where such omissions are made.  It has been found
necessary to make a few corrections of obvious verbal slips, but
the number of such alterations has been kept down to the
minimum.--F.D.]


A German Editor having written to me for an account of the
development of my mind and character with some sketch of my
autobiography, I have thought that the attempt would amuse me,
and might possibly interest my children or their children.  I
know that it would have interested me greatly to have read even
so short and dull a sketch of the mind of my grandfather, written
by himself, and what he thought and did, and how he worked.  I
have attempted to write the following account of myself, as if I
were a dead man in another world looking back at my own life. 
Nor have I found this difficult, for life is nearly over with me. 
I have taken no pains about my style of writing.

I was born at Shrewsbury on February 12th, 1809, and my earliest
recollection goes back only to when I was a few months over four
years old, when we went to near Abergele for sea-bathing, and I
recollect some events and places there with some little
distinctness.

My mother died in July 1817, when I was a little over eight years
old, and it is odd that I can remember hardly anything about her
except her death-bed, her black velvet gown, and her curiously
constructed work-table.  In the spring of this same year I was
sent to a day-school in Shrewsbury, where I stayed a year.  I
have been told that I was much slower in learning than my younger
sister Catherine, and I believe that I was in many ways a naughty
boy.

By the time I went to this day-school (Kept by Rev. G. Case,
minister of the Unitarian Chapel in the High Street.  Mrs. Darwin
was a Unitarian and attended Mr. Case's chapel, and my father as
a little boy went there with his elder sisters.  But both he and
his brother were christened and intended to belong to the Church
of England; and after his early boyhood he seems usually to have
gone to church and not to Mr. Case's.  It appears ("St. James'
Gazette", Dec. 15, 1883) that a mural tablet has been erected to
his memory in the chapel, which is now known as the 'Free
Christian Church.') my taste for natural history, and more
especially for collecting, was well developed.  I tried to make
out the names of plants (Rev. W.A. Leighton, who was a
schoolfellow of my father's at Mr. Case's school, remembers his
bringing a flower to school and saying that his mother had taught
him how by looking at the inside of the blossom the name of the
plant could be discovered.  Mr. Leighton goes on, "This greatly
roused my attention and curiosity, and I enquired of him
repeatedly how this could be done?"--but his lesson was naturally
enough not transmissible.--F.D.), and collected all sorts of
things, shells, seals, franks, coins, and minerals.  The passion
for collecting which leads a man to be a systematic naturalist, a
virtuoso, or a miser, was very strong in me, and was clearly
innate, as none of my sisters or brother ever had this taste.

One little event during this year has fixed itself very firmly in
my mind, and I hope that it has done so from my conscience having
been afterwards sorely troubled by it; it is curious as showing
that apparently I was interested at this early age in the
variability of plants!  I told another little boy (I believe it
was Leighton, who afterwards became a well-known lichenologist
and botanist), that I could produce variously coloured
polyanthuses and primroses by watering them with certain coloured
fluids, which was of course a monstrous fable, and had never been
tried by me.  I may here also confess that as a little boy I was
much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, and this was
always done for the sake of causing excitement.  For instance, I
once gathered much valuable fruit from my father's trees and hid
it in the shrubbery, and then ran in breathless haste to spread
the news that I had discovered a hoard of stolen fruit.

I must have been a very simple little fellow when I first went to
the school.  A boy of the name of Garnett took me into a cake
shop one day, and bought some cakes for which he did not pay, as
the shopman trusted him.  When we came out I asked him why he did
not pay for them, and he instantly answered, "Why, do you not
know that my uncle left a great sum of money to the town on
condition that every tradesman should give whatever was wanted
without payment to any one who wore his old hat and moved [it] in
a particular manner?" and he then showed me how it was moved.  He
then went into another shop where he was trusted, and asked for
some small article, moving his hat in the proper manner, and of
course obtained it without payment.  When we came out he said,
"Now if you like to go by yourself into that cake-shop (how well
I remember its exact position) I will lend you my hat, and you
can get whatever you like if you move the hat on your head
properly."  I gladly accepted the generous offer, and went in and
asked for some cakes, moved the old hat and was walking out of
the shop, when the shopman made a rush at me, so I dropped the
cakes and ran for dear life, and was astonished by being greeted
with shouts of laughter by my false friend Garnett.

I can say in my own favour that I was as a boy humane, but I owed
this entirely to the instruction and example of my sisters.  I
doubt indeed whether humanity is a natural or innate quality.  I
was very fond of collecting eggs, but I never took more than a
single egg out of a bird's nest, except on one single occasion,
when I took all, not for their value, but from a sort of bravado.

I had a strong taste for angling, and would sit for any number of
hours on the bank of a river or pond watching the float; when at
Maer (The house of his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood.) I was told that I
could kill the worms with salt and water, and from that day I
never spitted a living worm, though at the expense probably of
some loss of success.

Once as a very little boy whilst at the day school, or before
that time, I acted cruelly, for I beat a puppy, I believe, simply
from enjoying the sense of power; but the beating could not have
been severe, for the puppy did not howl, of which I feel sure, as
the spot was near the house.  This act lay heavily on my
conscience, as is shown by my remembering the exact spot where
the crime was committed.  It probably lay all the heavier from my
love of dogs being then, and for a long time afterwards, a
passion.  Dogs seemed to know this, for I was an adept in robbing
their love from their masters.

I remember clearly only one other incident during this year
whilst at Mr. Case's daily school,--namely, the burial of a
dragoon soldier; and it is surprising how clearly I can still see
the horse with the man's empty boots and carbine suspended to the
saddle, and the firing over the grave.  This scene deeply stirred
whatever poetic fancy there was in me.

In the summer of 1818 I went to Dr. Butler's great school in
Shrewsbury, and remained there for seven years still Midsummer
1825, when I was sixteen years old.  I boarded at this school, so
that I had the great advantage of living the life of a true
schoolboy; but as the distance was hardly more than a mile to my
home, I very often ran there in the longer intervals between the
callings over and before locking up at night.  This, I think, was
in many ways advantageous to me by keeping up home affections and
interests.  I remember in the early part of my school life that I
often had to run very quickly to be in time, and from being a
fleet runner was generally successful; but when in doubt I prayed
earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I
attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running,
and marvelled how generally I was aided.

I have heard my father and elder sister say that I had, as a very
young boy, a strong taste for long solitary walks; but what I
thought about I know not.  I often became quite absorbed, and
once, whilst returning to school on the summit of the old
fortifications round Shrewsbury, which had been converted into a
public foot-path with no parapet on one side, I walked off and
fell to the ground, but the height was only seven or eight feet. 
Nevertheless the number of thoughts which passed through my mind
during this very short, but sudden and wholly unexpected fall,
was astonishing, and seem hardly compatible with what
physiologists have, I believe, proved about each thought
requiring quite an appreciable amount of time.

Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than
Dr. Butler's school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else
being taught, except a little ancient geography and history.  The
school as a means of education to me was simply a blank.  During
my whole life I have been singularly incapable of mastering any
language.  Especial attention was paid to verse-making, and this
I could never do well.  I had many friends, and got together a
good collection of old verses, which by patching together,
sometimes aided by other boys, I could work into any subject. 
Much attention was paid to learning by heart the lessons of the
previous day; this I could effect with great facility, learning
forty or fifty lines of Virgil or Homer, whilst I was in morning
chapel; but this exercise was utterly useless, for every verse
was forgotten in forty-eight hours.  I was not idle, and with the
exception of versification, generally worked conscientiously at
my classics, not using cribs.  The sole pleasure I ever received
from such studies, was from some of the odes of Horace, which I
admired greatly.

When I left the school I was for my age neither high nor low in
it; and I believe that I was considered by all my masters and by
my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common
standard in intellect.  To my deep mortification my father once
said to me, "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-
catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your
family."  But my father, who was the kindest man I ever knew and
whose memory I love with all my heart, must have been angry and
somewhat unjust when he used such words.

Looking back as well as I can at my character during my school
life, the only qualities which at this period promised well for
the future, were, that I had strong and diversified tastes, much
zeal for whatever interested me, and a keen pleasure in
understanding any complex subject or thing.  I was taught Euclid
by a private tutor, and I distinctly remember the intense
satisfaction which the clear geometrical proofs gave me.  I
remember, with equal distinctness, the delight which my uncle
gave me (the father of Francis Galton) by explaining the
principle of the vernier of a barometer.  with respect to
diversified tastes, independently of science, I was fond of
reading various books, and I used to sit for hours reading the
historical plays of Shakespeare, generally in an old window in
the thick walls of the school.  I read also other poetry, such as
Thomson's 'Seasons,' and the recently published poems of Byron
and Scott.  I mention this because later in life I wholly lost,
to my great regret, all pleasure from poetry of any kind,
including Shakespeare.  In connection with pleasure from poetry,
I may add that in 1822 a vivid delight in scenery was first
awakened in my mind, during a riding tour on the borders of
Wales, and this has lasted longer than any other aesthetic
pleasure.

Early in my school days a boy had a copy of the 'Wonders of the
World,' which I often read, and disputed with other boys about
the veracity of some of the statements; and I believe that this
book first gave me a wish to travel in remote countries, which
was ultimately fulfilled by the voyage of the "Beagle".  In the
latter part of my school life I became passionately fond of
shooting; I do not believe that any one could have shown more
zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds.  How
well I remember killing my first snipe, and my excitement was so
great that I had much difficulty in reloading my gun from the
trembling of my hands.  This taste long continued, and I became a
very good shot.  When at Cambridge I used to practise throwing up
my gun to my shoulder before a looking-glass to see that I threw
it up straight.  Another and better plan was to get a friend to
wave about a lighted candle, and then to fire at it with a cap on
the nipple, and if the aim was accurate the little puff of air
would blow out the candle.  The explosion of the cap caused a
sharp crack, and I was told that the tutor of the college
remarked, "What an extraordinary thing it is, Mr. Darwin seems to
spend hours in cracking a horse-whip in his room, for I often
hear the crack when I pass under his windows."

I had many friends amongst the schoolboys, whom I loved dearly,
and I think that my disposition was then very affectionate.

With respect to science, I continued collecting minerals with
much zeal, but quite unscientifically--all that I cared about was
a new-NAMED mineral, and I hardly attempted to classify them.  I
must have observed insects with some little care, for when ten
years old (1819) I went for three weeks to Plas Edwards on the
sea-coast in Wales, I was very much interested and surprised at
seeing a large black and scarlet Hemipterous insect, many moths
(Zygaena), and a Cicindela which are not found in Shropshire.  I
almost made up my mind to begin collecting all the insects which
I could find dead, for on consulting my sister I concluded that
it was not right to kill insects for the sake of making a
collection.  From reading White's 'Selborne,' I took much
pleasure in watching the habits of birds, and even made notes on
the subject.  In my simplicity I remember wondering why every
gentleman did not become an ornithologist.

Towards the close of my school life, my brother worked hard at
chemistry, and made a fair laboratory with proper apparatus in
the tool-house in the garden, and I was allowed to aid him as a
servant in most of his experiments.  He made all the gases and
many compounds, and I read with great care several books on
chemistry, such as Henry and Parkes' 'Chemical Catechism.'  The
subject interested me greatly, and we often used to go on working
till rather late at night.  This was the best part of my
education at school, for it showed me practically the meaning of
experimental science.  The fact that we worked at chemistry
somehow got known at school, and as it was an unprecedented fact,
I was nicknamed "Gas."  I was also once publicly rebuked by the
head-master, Dr. Butler, for thus wasting my time on such useless
subjects; and he called me very unjustly a "poco curante," and as
I did not understand what he meant, it seemed to me a fearful
reproach.

As I was doing no good at school, my father wisely took me away
at a rather earlier age than usual, and sent me (Oct. 1825) to
Edinburgh University with my brother, where I stayed for two
years or sessions.  My brother was completing his medical
studies, though I do not believe he ever really intended to
practise, and I was sent there to commence them.  But soon after
this period I became convinced from various small circumstances
that my father would leave me property enough to subsist on with
some comfort, though I never imagined that I should be so rich a
man as I am; but my belief was sufficient to check any strenuous
efforts to learn medicine.

The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and
these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on
chemistry by Hope; but to my mind there are no advantages and
many disadvantages in lectures compared with reading.  Dr.
Duncan's lectures on Materia Medica at 8 o'clock on a winter's
morning are something fearful to remember.  Dr.-- made his
lectures on human anatomy as dull as he was himself, and the
subject disgusted me.  It has proved one of the greatest evils in
my life that I was not urged to practise dissection, for I should
soon have got over my disgust; and the practice would have been
invaluable for all my future work.  This has been an irremediable
evil, as well as my incapacity to draw.  I also attended
regularly the clinical wards in the hospital.  Some of the cases
distressed me a good deal, and I still have vivid pictures before
me of some of them; but I was not so foolish as to allow this to
lessen my attendance.  I cannot understand why this part of my
medical course did not interest me in a greater degree; for
during the summer before coming to Edinburgh I began attending
some of the poor people, chiefly children and women in
Shrewsbury:  I wrote down as full an account as I could of the
case with all the symptoms, and read them aloud to my father, who
suggested further inquiries and advised me what medicines to
give, which I made up myself.  At one time I had at least a dozen
patients, and I felt a keen interest in the work.  My father, who
was by far the best judge of character whom I ever knew, declared
that I should make a successful physician,--meaning by this one
who would get many patients.  He maintained that the chief
element of success was exciting confidence; but what he saw in me
which convinced him that I should create confidence I know not. 
I also attended on two occasions the operating theatre in the
hospital at Edinburgh, and saw two very bad operations, one on a
child, but I rushed away before they were completed.  Nor did I
ever attend again, for hardly any inducement would have been
strong enough to make me do so; this being long before the
blessed days of chloroform.  The two cases fairly haunted me for
many a long year.

My brother stayed only one year at the University, so that during
the second year I was left to my own resources; and this was an
advantage, for I became well acquainted with several young men
fond of natural science.  One of these was Ainsworth, who
afterwards published his travels in Assyria; he was a Wernerian
geologist, and knew a little about many subjects.  Dr. Coldstream
was a very different young man, prim, formal, highly religious,
and most kind-hearted; he afterwards published some good
zoological articles.  A third young man was Hardie, who would, I
think, have made a good botanist, but died early in India. 
Lastly, Dr. Grant, my senior by several years, but how I became
acquainted with him I cannot remember; he published some first-
rate zoological papers, but after coming to London as Professor
in University College, he did nothing more in science, a fact
which has always been inexplicable to me.  I knew him well; he
was dry and formal in manner, with much enthusiasm beneath this
outer crust.  He one day, when we were walking together, burst
forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on evolution. 
I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I can judge
without any effect on my mind.  I had previously read the
'Zoonomia' of my grandfather, in which similar views are
maintained, but without producing any effect on me.  Nevertheless
it is probable that the hearing rather early in life such views
maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under
a different form in my 'Origin of Species.'  At this time I
admired greatly the 'Zoonomia;' but on reading it a second time
after an interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much
disappointed; the proportion of speculation being so large to the
facts given.

Drs. Grant and Coldstream attended much to marine Zoology, and I
often accompanied the former to collect animals in the tidal
pools, which I dissected as well as I could.  I also became
friends with some of the Newhaven fishermen, and sometimes
accompanied them when they trawled for oysters, and thus got many
specimens.  But from not having had any regular practice in
dissection, and from possessing only a wretched microscope, my
attempts were very poor.  Nevertheless I made one interesting
little discovery, and read, about the beginning of the year 1826,
a short paper on the subject before the Plinian Society.  This
was that the so-called ova of Flustra had the power of
independent movement by means of cilia, and were in fact larvae. 
In another short paper I showed that the little globular bodies
which had been supposed to be the young state of Fucus loreus
were the egg-cases of the wormlike Pontobdella muricata.

The Plinian Society was encouraged and, I believe, founded by
Professor Jameson:  it consisted of students and met in an
underground room in the University for the sake of reading papers
on natural science and discussing them.  I used regularly to
attend, and the meetings had a good effect on me in stimulating
my zeal and giving me new congenial acquaintances.  One evening a
poor young man got up, and after stammering for a prodigious
length of time, blushing crimson, he at last slowly got out the
words, "Mr. President, I have forgotten what I was going to say." 
The poor fellow looked quite overwhelmed, and all the members
were so surprised that no one could think of a word to say to
cover his confusion.  The papers which were read to our little
society were not printed, so that I had not the satisfaction of
seeing my paper in print; but I believe Dr. Grant noticed my
small discovery in his excellent memoir on Flustra.

I was also a member of the Royal Medical Society, and attended
pretty regularly; but as the subjects were exclusively medical, I
did not much care about them.  Much rubbish was talked there, but
there were some good speakers, of whom the best was the present
Sir J. Kay-Shuttleworth.  Dr. Grant took me occasionally to the
meetings of the Wernerian Society, where various papers on
natural history were read, discussed, and afterwards published in
the 'Transactions.'  I heard Audubon deliver there some
interesting discourses on the habits of N. American birds,
sneering somewhat unjustly at Waterton.  By the way, a negro
lived in Edinburgh, who had travelled with Waterton, and gained
his livelihood by stuffing birds, which he did excellently:  he
gave me lessons for payment, and I used often to sit with him,
for he was a very pleasant and intelligent man.

Mr. Leonard Horner also took me once to a meeting of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, where I saw Sir Walter Scott in the chair
as President, and he apologised to the meeting as not feeling
fitted for such a position.  I looked at him and at the whole
scene with some awe and reverence, and I think it was owing to
this visit during my youth, and to my having attended the Royal
Medical Society, that I felt the honour of being elected a few
years ago an honorary member of both these Societies, more than
any other similar honour.  If I had been told at that time that I
should one day have been thus honoured, I declare that I should
have thought it as ridiculous and improbable, as if I had been
told that I should be elected King of England.

During my second year at Edinburgh I attended --'s lectures on
Geology and Zoology, but they were incredibly dull.  The sole
effect they produced on me was the determination never as long as
I lived to read a book on Geology, or in any way to study the
science.  Yet I feel sure that I was prepared for a philosophical
treatment of the subject; for an old Mr. Cotton in Shropshire,
who knew a good deal about rocks, had pointed out to me two or
three years previously a well-known large erratic boulder in the
town of Shrewsbury, called the "bell-stone"; he told me that
there was no rock of the same kind nearer than Cumberland or
Scotland, and he solemnly assured me that the world would come to
an end before any one would be able to explain how this stone
came where it now lay.  This produced a deep impression on me,
and I meditated over this wonderful stone.  So that I felt the
keenest delight when I first read of the action of icebergs in
transporting boulders, and I gloried in the progress of Geology. 
Equally striking is the fact that I, though now only sixty-seven
years old, heard the Professor, in a field lecture at Salisbury
Craigs, discoursing on a trapdyke, with amygdaloidal margins and
the strata indurated on each side, with volcanic rocks all around
us, say that it was a fissure filled with sediment from above,
adding with a sneer that there were men who maintained that it
had been injected from beneath in a molten condition.  When I
think of this lecture, I do not wonder that I determined never to
attend to Geology.

>From attending --'s lectures, I became acquainted with the
curator of the museum, Mr. Macgillivray, who afterwards published
a large and excellent book on the birds of Scotland.  I had much
interesting natural-history talk with him, and he was very kind
to me.  He gave me some rare shells, for I at that time collected
marine mollusca, but with no great zeal.

My summer vacations during these two years were wholly given up
to amusements, though I always had some book in hand, which I
read with interest.  During the summer of 1826 I took a long
walking tour with two friends with knapsacks on our backs through
North wales.  We walked thirty miles most days, including one day
the ascent of Snowdon.  I also went with my sister a riding tour
in North Wales, a servant with saddle-bags carrying our clothes. 
The autumns were devoted to shooting chiefly at Mr. Owen's, at
Woodhouse, and at my Uncle Jos's (Josiah Wedgwood, the son of the
founder of the Etruria Works.) at Maer.  My zeal was so great
that I used to place my shooting-boots open by my bed-side when I
went to bed, so as not to lose half a minute in putting them on
in the morning; and on one occasion I reached a distant part of
the Maer estate, on the 20th of August for black-game shooting,
before I could see:  I then toiled on with the game-keeper the
whole day through thick heath and young Scotch firs.

I kept an exact record of every bird which I shot throughout the
whole season.  One day when shooting at Woodhouse with Captain
Owen, the eldest son, and Major Hill, his cousin, afterwards Lord
Berwick, both of whom I liked very much, I thought myself
shamefully used, for every time after I had fired and thought
that I had killed a bird, one of the two acted as if loading his
gun, and cried out, "You must not count that bird, for I fired at
the same time," and the gamekeeper, perceiving the joke, backed
them up.  After some hours they told me the joke, but it was no
joke to me, for I had shot a large number of birds, but did not
know how many, and could not add them to my list, which I used to
do by making a knot in a piece of string tied to a button-hole. 
This my wicked friends had perceived.

How I did enjoy shooting!  But I think that I must have been
half-consciously ashamed of my zeal, for I tried to persuade
myself that shooting was almost an intellectual employment; it
required so much skill to judge where to find most game and to
hunt the dogs well.

One of my autumnal visits to Maer in 1827 was memorable from
meeting there Sir J. Mackintosh, who was the best converser I
ever listened to.  I heard afterwards with a glow of pride that
he had said, "There is something in that young man that interests
me."  This must have been chiefly due to his perceiving that I
listened with much interest to everything which he said, for I
was as ignorant as a pig about his subjects of history, politics,
and moral philosophy.  To hear of praise from an eminent person,
though no doubt apt or certain to excite vanity, is, I think,
good for a young man, as it helps to keep him in the right
course.

My visits to Maer during these two or three succeeding years were
quite delightful, independently of the autumnal shooting.  Life
there was perfectly free; the country was very pleasant for
walking or riding; and in the evening there was much very
agreeable conversation, not so personal as it generally is in
large family parties, together with music.  In the summer the
whole family used often to sit on the steps of the old portico,
with the flower-garden in front, and with the steep wooded bank
opposite the house reflected in the lake, with here and there a
fish rising or a water-bird paddling about.  Nothing has left a
more vivid picture on my mind than these evenings at Maer.  I was
also attached to and greatly revered my Uncle Jos; he was silent
and reserved, so as to be a rather awful man; but he sometimes
talked openly with me.  He was the very type of an upright man,
with the clearest judgment.  I do not believe that any power on
earth could have made him swerve an inch from what he considered
the right course.  I used to apply to him in my mind the well-
known ode of Horace, now forgotten by me, in which the words "nec
vultus tyranni, etc.," come in.
(Justum et tenacem propositi virum
Non civium ardor prava jubentium
Non vultus instantis tyranni
Mente quatit solida.)

CAMBRIDGE 1828-1831.

After having spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father
perceived, or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the
thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become
a clergyman.  He was very properly vehement against my turning
into an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable
destination.  I asked for some time to consider, as from what
little I had heard or thought on the subject I had scruples about
declaring my belief in all the dogmas of the Church of England;
though otherwise I liked the thought of being a country
clergyman.  Accordingly I read with care 'Pearson on the Creed,'
and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the
least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the
Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully
accepted.

Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the orthodox, it
seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergyman.  Nor was
this intention and my father's wish ever formerly given up, but
died a natural death when, on leaving Cambridge, I joined the
"Beagle" as naturalist.  If the phrenologists are to be trusted,
I was well fitted in one respect to be a clergyman.  A few years
ago the secretaries of a German psychological society asked me
earnestly by letter for a photograph of myself; and some time
afterwards I received the proceedings of one of the meetings, in
which it seemed that the shape of my head had been the subject of
a public discussion, and one of the speakers declared that I had
the bump of reverence developed enough for ten priests.

As it was decided that I should be a clergyman, it was necessary
that I should go to one of the English universities and take a
degree; but as I had never opened a classical book since leaving
school, I found to my dismay, that in the two intervening years I
had actually forgotten, incredible as it may appear, almost
everything which I had learnt, even to some few of the Greek
letters.  I did not therefore proceed to Cambridge at the usual
time in October, but worked with a private tutor in Shrewsbury,
and went to Cambridge after the Christmas vacation, early in
1828.  I soon recovered my school standard of knowledge, and
could translate easy Greek books, such as Homer and the Greek
Testament, with moderate facility.

During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was
wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned, as
completely as at Edinburgh and at school.  I attempted
mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a
private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth, but I got on very
slowly.  The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being
able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra.  This
impatience was very foolish, and in after years I have deeply
regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to
understand something of the great leading principles of
mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense. 
But I do not believe that I should ever have succeeded beyond a
very low grade.  With respect to Classics I did nothing except
attend a few compulsory college lectures, and the attendance was
almost nominal.  In my second year I had to work for a month or
two to pass the Little-Go, which I did easily. Again, in my last
year I worked with some earnestness for my final degree of B.A.,
and brushed up my Classics, together with a little Algebra and
Euclid, which latter gave me much pleasure, as it did at school. 
In order to pass the B.A. examination, it was also necessary to
get up Paley's 'Evidences of Christianity,' and his 'Moral
Philosophy.'  This was done in a thorough manner, and I am
convinced that I could have written out the whole of the
'Evidences' with perfect correctness, but not of course in the
clear language of Paley.  The logic of this book and, as I may
add, of his 'Natural Theology,' gave me as much delight as did
Euclid.  The careful study of these works, without attempting to
learn any part by rote, was the only part of the academical
course which, as I then felt and as I still believe, was of the
least use to me in the education of my mind.  I did not at that
time trouble myself about Paley's premises; and taking these on
trust, I was charmed and convinced by the long line of
argumentation.  By answering well the examination questions in
Paley, by doing Euclid well, and by not failing miserably in
Classics, I gained a good place among the oi polloi or crowd of
men who do not go in for honours.  Oddly enough, I cannot
remember how high I stood, and my memory fluctuates between the
fifth, tenth, or twelfth, name on the list.  (Tenth in the list
of January 1831.)

Public lectures on several branches were given in the University,
attendance being quite voluntary; but I was so sickened with
lectures at Edinburgh that I did not even attend Sedgwick's
eloquent and interesting lectures.  Had I done so I should
probably have become a geologist earlier than I did.  I attended,
however, Henslow's lectures on Botany, and liked them much for
their extreme clearness, and the admirable illustrations; but I
did not study botany.  Henslow used to take his pupils, including
several of the older members of the University, field excursions,
on foot or in coaches, to distant places, or in a barge down the
river, and lectured on the rarer plants and animals which were
observed.  These excursions were delightful.

Although, as we shall presently see, there were some redeeming
features in my life at Cambridge, my time was sadly wasted there,
and worse than wasted.  From my passion for shooting and for
hunting, and, when this failed, for riding across country, I got
into a sporting set, including some dissipated low-minded young
men.  We used often to dine together in the evening, though these
dinners often included men of a higher stamp, and we sometimes
drank too much, with jolly singing and playing at cards
afterwards.  I know that I ought to feel ashamed of days and
evenings thus spent, but as some of my friends were very
pleasant, and we were all in the highest spirits, I cannot help
looking back to these times with much pleasure.

But I am glad to think that I had many other friends of a widely
different nature.  I was very intimate with Whitley (Rev. C.
Whitley, Hon. Canon of Durham, formerly Reader in Natural
Philosophy in Durham University.), who was afterwards Senior
Wrangler, and we used continually to take long walks together. 
He inoculated me with a taste for pictures and good engravings,
of which I bought some.  I frequently went to the Fitzwilliam
Gallery, and my taste must have been fairly good, for I certainly
admired the best pictures, which I discussed with the old
curator.  I read also with much interest Sir Joshua Reynolds'
book.  This taste, though not natural to me, lasted for several
years, and many of the pictures in the National Gallery in London
gave me much pleasure; that of Sebastian del Piombo exciting in
me a sense of sublimity.

I also got into a musical set, I believe by means of my warm-
hearted friend, Herbert (The late John Maurice Herbert, County
Court Judge of Cardiff and the Monmouth Circuit.), who took a
high wrangler's degree.  From associating with these men, and
hearing them play, I acquired a strong taste for music, and used
very often to time my walks so as to hear on week days the anthem
in King's College Chapel.  This gave me intense pleasure, so that
my backbone would sometimes shiver.  I am sure that there was no
affectation or mere imitation in this taste, for I used generally
to go by myself to King's College, and I sometimes hired the
chorister boys to sing in my rooms.  Nevertheless I am so utterly
destitute of an ear, that I cannot perceive a discord, or keep
time and hum a tune correctly; and it is a mystery how I could
possibly have derived pleasure from music.

My musical friends soon perceived my state, and sometimes amused
themselves by making me pass an examination, which consisted in
ascertaining how many tunes I could recognise when they were
played rather more quickly or slowly than usual.  'God save the
King,' when thus played, was a sore puzzle.  There was another
man with almost as bad an ear as I had, and strange to say he
played a little on the flute.  Once I had the triumph of beating
him in one of our musical examinations.

But no pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so much
eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting beetles.  It
was the mere passion for collecting, for I did not dissect them,
and rarely compared their external characters with published
descriptions, but got them named anyhow.  I will give a proof of
my zeal:  one day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare
beetles, and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new
kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one
which I held in my right hand into my mouth.  Alas! it ejected
some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was
forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third
one.

I was very successful in collecting, and invented two new
methods; I employed a labourer to scrape during the winter, moss
off old trees and place it in a large bag, and likewise to
collect the rubbish at the bottom of the barges in which reeds
are brought from the fens, and thus I got some very rare species. 
No poet ever felt more delighted at seeing his first poem
published than I did at seeing, in Stephens' 'Illustrations of
British Insects,' the magic words, "captured by C. Darwin, Esq." 
I was introduced to entomology by my second cousin W. Darwin Fox,
a clever and most pleasant man, who was then at Christ's College,
and with whom I became extremely intimate.  Afterwards I became
well acquainted, and went out collecting, with Albert Way of
Trinity, who in after years became a well-known archaeologist;
also with H. Thompson of the same College, afterwards a leading
agriculturist, chairman of a great railway, and Member of
Parliament.  It seems therefore that a taste for collecting
beetles is some indication of future success in life!

I am surprised what an indelible impression many of the beetles
which I caught at Cambridge have left on my mind.  I can remember
the exact appearance of certain posts, old trees and banks where
I made a good capture.  The pretty Panagaeus crux-major was a
treasure in those days, and here at Down I saw a beetle running
across a walk, and on picking it up instantly perceived that it
differed slightly from P. crux-major, and it turned out to be P.
quadripunctatus, which is only a variety or closely allied
species, differing from it very slightly in outline.  I had never
seen in those old days Licinus alive, which to an uneducated eye
hardly differs from many of the black Carabidous beetles; but my
sons found here a specimen, and I instantly recognised that it
was new to me; yet I had not looked at a British beetle for the
last twenty years.

I have not as yet mentioned a circumstance which influenced my
whole career more than any other.  This was my friendship with
Professor Henslow.  Before coming up to Cambridge, I had heard of
him from my brother as a man who knew every branch of science,
and I was accordingly prepared to reverence him.  He kept open
house once every week when all undergraduates, and some older
members of the University, who were attached to science, used to
meet in the evening.  I soon got, through Fox, an invitation, and
went there regularly.  Before long I became well acquainted with
Henslow, and during the latter half of my time at Cambridge took
long walks with him on most days; so that I was called by some of
the dons "the man who walks with Henslow;" and in the evening I
was very often asked to join his family dinner.  His knowledge
was great in botany, entomology, chemistry, mineralogy, and
geology.  His strongest taste was to draw conclusions from long-
continued minute observations.  His judgment was excellent, and
his whole mind well balanced; but I do not suppose that any one
would say that he possessed much original genius.  He was deeply
religious, and so orthodox that he told me one day he should be
grieved if a single word of the Thirty-nine Articles were
altered.  His moral qualities were in every way admirable.  He
was free from every tinge of vanity or other petty feeling; and I
never saw a man who thought so little about himself or his own
concerns.  His temper was imperturbably good, with the most
winning and courteous manners; yet, as I have seen, he could be
roused by any bad action to the warmest indignation and prompt
action.

I once saw in his company in the streets of Cambridge almost as
horrid a scene as could have been witnessed during the French
Revolution.  Two body-snatchers had been arrested, and whilst
being taken to prison had been torn from the constable by a crowd
of the roughest men, who dragged them by their legs along the
muddy and stony road.  They were covered from head to foot with
mud, and their faces were bleeding either from having been kicked
or from the stones; they looked like corpses, but the crowd was
so dense that I got only a few momentary glimpses of the wretched
creatures.  Never in my life have I seen such wrath painted on a
man's face as was shown by Henslow at this horrid scene.  He
tried repeatedly to penetrate the mob; but it was simply
impossible.  He then rushed away to the mayor, telling me not to
follow him, but to get more policemen.  I forget the issue,
except that the two men were got into the prison without being
killed.

Henslow's benevolence was unbounded, as he proved by his many
excellent schemes for his poor parishioners, when in after years
he held the living of Hitcham.  My intimacy with such a man ought
to have been, and I hope was, an inestimable benefit.  I cannot
resist mentioning a trifling incident, which showed his kind
consideration.  Whilst examining some pollen-grains on a damp
surface, I saw the tubes exserted, and instantly rushed off to
communicate my surprising discovery to him.  Now I do not suppose
any other professor of botany could have helped laughing at my
coming in such a hurry to make such a communication.  But he
agreed how interesting the phenomenon was, and explained its
meaning, but made me clearly understand how well it was known; so
I left him not in the least mortified, but well pleased at having
discovered for myself so remarkable a fact, but determined not to
be in such a hurry again to communicate my discoveries.

Dr. Whewell was one of the older and distinguished men who
sometimes visited Henslow, and on several occasions I walked home
with him at night.  Next to Sir J. Mackintosh he was the best
converser on grave subjects to whom I ever listened.  Leonard
Jenyns (The well-known Soame Jenyns was cousin to Mr. Jenyns'
father.), who afterwards published some good essays in Natural
History (Mr. Jenyns (now Blomefield) described the fish for the
Zoology of the "Beagle"; and is author of a long series of
papers, chiefly Zoological.), often stayed with Henslow, who was
his brother-in-law.  I visited him at his parsonage on the
borders of the Fens [Swaffham Bulbeck], and had many a good walk
and talk with him about Natural History.  I became also
acquainted with several other men older than me, who did not care
much about science, but were friends of Henslow.  One was a
Scotchman, brother of Sir Alexander Ramsay, and tutor of Jesus
College:  he was a delightful man, but did not live for many
years.  Another was Mr. Dawes, afterwards Dean of Hereford, and
famous for his success in the education of the poor.  These men
and others of the same standing, together with Henslow, used
sometimes to take distant excursions into the country, which I
was allowed to join, and they were most agreeable.

Looking back, I infer that there must have been something in me a
little superior to the common run of youths, otherwise the above-
mentioned men, so much older than me and higher in academical
position, would never have allowed me to associate with them. 
Certainly I was not aware of any such superiority, and I remember
one of my sporting friends, Turner, who saw me at work with my
beetles, saying that I should some day be a Fellow of the Royal
Society, and the notion seemed to me preposterous.

During my last year at Cambridge, I read with care and profound
interest Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative.'  This work, and Sir J.
Herschel's 'Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy,'
stirred up in me a burning zeal to add even the most humble
contribution to the noble structure of Natural Science.  No one
or a dozen other books influenced me nearly so much as these two. 
I copied out from Humboldt long passages about Teneriffe, and
read them aloud on one of the above-mentioned excursions, to (I
think) Henslow, Ramsay, and Dawes, for on a previous occasion I
had talked about the glories of Teneriffe, and some of the party
declared they would endeavour to go there; but I think that they
were only half in earnest.  I was, however, quite in earnest, and
got an introduction to a merchant in London to enquire about
ships; but the scheme was, of course, knocked on the head by the
voyage of the "Beagle".

My summer vacations were given up to collecting beetles, to some
reading, and short tours.  In the autumn my whole time was
devoted to shooting, chiefly at Woodhouse and Maer, and sometimes
with young Eyton of Eyton.  Upon the whole the three years which
I spent at Cambridge were the most joyful in my happy life; for I
was then in excellent health, and almost always in high spirits.

As I had at first come up to Cambridge at Christmas, I was forced
to keep two terms after passing my final examination, at the
commencement of 1831; and Henslow then persuaded me to begin the
study of geology.  Therefore on my return to Shropshire I
examined sections, and coloured a map of parts round Shrewsbury. 
Professor Sedgwick intended to visit North Wales in the beginning
of August to pursue his famous geological investigations amongst
the older rocks, and Henslow asked him to allow me to accompany
him.  (In connection with this tour my father used to tell a
story about Sedgwick:  they had started from their inn one
morning, and had walked a mile or two, when Sedgwick suddenly
stopped, and vowed that he would return, being certain "that
damned scoundrel" (the waiter) had not given the chambermaid the
sixpence intrusted to him for the purpose.  He was ultimately
persuaded to give up the project, seeing that there was no reason
for suspecting the waiter of especial perfidy.--F.D.) 
Accordingly he came and slept at my father's house.

A short conversation with him during this evening produced a
strong impression on my mind.  Whilst examining an old gravel-pit
near Shrewsbury, a labourer told me that he had found in it a
large worn tropical Volute shell, such as may be seen on the
chimney-pieces of cottages; and as he would not sell the shell, I
was convinced that he had really found it in the pit.  I told
Sedgwick of the fact, and he at once said (no doubt truly) that
it must have been thrown away by some one into the pit; but then
added, if really embedded there it would be the greatest
misfortune to geology, as it would overthrow all that we know
about the superficial deposits of the Midland Counties.  These
gravel-beds belong in fact to the glacial period, and in after
years I found in them broken arctic shells.  But I was then
utterly astonished at Sedgwick not being delighted at so
wonderful a fact as a tropical shell being found near the surface
in the middle of England.  Nothing before had ever made me
thoroughly realise, though I had read various scientific books,
that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or
conclusions may be drawn from them.

Next morning we started for Llangollen, Conway, Bangor, and Capel
Curig.  This tour was of decided use in teaching me a little how
to make out the geology of a country.  Sedgwick often sent me on
a line parallel to his, telling me to bring back specimens of the
rocks and to mark the stratification on a map.  I have little
doubt that he did this for my good, as I was too ignorant to have
aided him.  On this tour I had a striking instance of how easy it
is to overlook phenomena, however conspicuous, before they have
been observed by any one.  We spent many hours in Cwm Idwal,
examining all the rocks with extreme care, as Sedgwick was
anxious to find fossils in them; but neither of us saw a trace of
the wonderful glacial phenomena all around us; we did not notice
the plainly scored rocks, the perched boulders, the lateral and
terminal moraines.  Yet these phenomena are so conspicuous that,
as I declared in a paper published many years afterwards in the
'Philosophical Magazine' ('Philosophical Magazine,' 1842.), a
house burnt down by fire did not tell its story more plainly than
did this valley.  If it had still been filled by a glacier, the
phenomena would have been less distinct than they now are.

At Capel Curig I left Sedgwick and went in a straight line by
compass and map across the mountains to Barmouth, never following
any track unless it coincided with my course.  I thus came on
some strange wild places, and enjoyed much this manner of
travelling.  I visited Barmouth to see some Cambridge friends who
were reading there, and thence returned to Shrewsbury and to Maer
for shooting; for at that time I should have thought myself mad
to give up the first days of partridge-shooting for geology or
any other science.

"VOYAGE OF THE 'BEAGLE' FROM DECEMBER 27, 1831, TO OCTOBER 2,
1836."

On returning home from my short geological tour in North Wales, I
found a letter from Henslow, informing me that Captain Fitz-Roy
was willing to give up part of his own cabin to any young man who
would volunteer to go with him without pay as naturalist to the
Voyage of the "Beagle".  I have given, as I believe, in my MS.
Journal an account of all the circumstances which then occurred;
I will here only say that I was instantly eager to accept the
offer, but my father strongly objected, adding the words,
fortunate for me, "If you can find any man of common sense who
advises you to go I will give my consent."  So I wrote that
evening and refused the offer.  On the next morning I went to
Maer to be ready for September 1st, and, whilst out shooting, my
uncle (Josiah Wedgwood.) sent for me, offering to drive me over
to Shrewsbury and talk with my father, as my uncle thought it
would be wise in me to accept the offer.  My father always
maintained that he was one of the most sensible men in the world,
and he at once consented in the kindest manner.  I had been
rather extravagant at Cambridge, and to console my father, said,
"that I should be deuced clever to spend more than my allowance
whilst on board the 'Beagle';" but he answered with a smile, "But
they tell me you are very clever."

Next day I started for Cambridge to see Henslow, and thence to
London to see Fitz-Roy, and all was soon arranged.  Afterwards,
on becoming very intimate with Fitz-Roy, I heard that I had run a
very narrow risk of being rejected, on account of the shape of my
nose!  He was an ardent disciple of Lavater, and was convinced
that he could judge of a man's character by the outline of his
features; and he doubted whether any one with my nose could
possess sufficient energy and determination for the voyage.  But
I think he was afterwards well satisfied that my nose had spoken
falsely.

Fitz-Roy's character was a singular one, with very many noble
features:  he was devoted to his duty, generous to a fault, bold,
determined, and indomitably energetic, and an ardent friend to
all under his sway.  He would undertake any sort of trouble to
assist those whom he thought deserved assistance.  He was a
handsome man, strikingly like a gentleman, with highly courteous
manners, which resembled those of his maternal uncle, the famous
Lord Castlereagh, as I was told by the Minister at Rio. 
Nevertheless he must have inherited much in his appearance from
Charles II., for Dr. Wallich gave me a collection of photographs
which he had made, and I was struck with the resemblance of one
to Fitz-Roy; and on looking at the name, I found it Ch. E.
Sobieski Stuart, Count d'Albanie, a descendant of the same
monarch.

Fitz-Roy's temper was a most unfortunate one.  It was usually
worst in the early morning, and with his eagle eye he could
generally detect something amiss about the ship, and was then
unsparing in his blame.  He was very kind to me, but was a man
very difficult to live with on the intimate terms which
necessarily followed from our messing by ourselves in the same
cabin.  We had several quarrels; for instance, early in the
voyage at Bahia, in Brazil, he defended and praised slavery,
which I abominated, and told me that he had just visited a great
slave-owner, who had called up many of his slaves and asked them
whether they were happy, and whether they wished to be free, and
all answered "No."  I then asked him, perhaps with a sneer,
whether he thought that the answer of slaves in the presence of
their master was worth anything?  This made him excessively
angry, and he said that as I doubted his word we could not live
any longer together.  I thought that I should have been compelled
to leave the ship; but as soon as the news spread, which it did
quickly, as the captain sent for the first lieutenant to assuage
his anger by abusing me, I was deeply gratified by receiving an
invitation from all the gun-room officers to mess with them. But
after a few hours Fitz-Roy showed his usual magnanimity by
sending an officer to me with an apology and a request that I
would continue to live with him.

His character was in several respects one of the most noble which
I have ever known.

The voyage of the "Beagle" has been by far the most important
event in my life, and has determined my whole career; yet it
depended on so small a circumstance as my uncle offering to drive
me thirty miles to Shrewsbury, which few uncles would have done,
and on such a trifle as the shape of my nose.  I have always felt
that I owe to the voyage the first real training or education of
my mind; I was led to attend closely to several branches of
natural history, and thus my powers of observation were improved,
though they were always fairly developed.

The investigation of the geology of all the places visited was
far more important, as reasoning here comes into play.  On first
examining a new district nothing can appear more hopeless than
the chaos of rocks; but by recording the stratification and
nature of the rocks and fossils at many points, always reasoning
and predicting what will be found elsewhere, light soon begins to
dawn on the district, and the structure of the whole becomes more
or less intelligible.  I had brought with me the first volume of
Lyell's 'Principles of Geology,' which I studied attentively; and
the book was of the highest service to me in many ways.  The very
first place which I examined, namely St. Jago in the Cape de
Verde islands, showed me clearly the wonderful superiority of
Lyell's manner of treating geology, compared with that of any
other author, whose works I had with me or ever afterwards read.

Another of my occupations was collecting animals of all classes,
briefly describing and roughly dissecting many of the marine
ones; but from not being able to draw, and from not having
sufficient anatomical knowledge, a great pile of MS. which I made
during the voyage has proved almost useless.  I thus lost much
time, with the exception of that spent in acquiring some
knowledge of the Crustaceans, as this was of service when in
after years I undertook a monograph of the Cirripedia.

During some part of the day I wrote my Journal, and took much
pains in describing carefully and vividly all that I had seen;
and this was good practice.  My Journal served also, in part, as
letters to my home, and portions were sent to England whenever
there was an opportunity.

The above various special studies were, however, of no importance
compared with the habit of energetic industry and of concentrated
attention to whatever I was engaged in, which I then acquired. 
Everything about which I thought or read was made to bear
directly on what I had seen or was likely to see; and this habit
of mind was continued during the five years of the voyage.  I
feel sure that it was this training which has enabled me to do
whatever I have done in science.

Looking backwards, I can now perceive how my love for science
gradually preponderated over every other taste.  During the first
two years my old passion for shooting survived in nearly full
force, and I shot myself all the birds and animals for my
collection; but gradually I gave up my gun more and more, and
finally altogether, to my servant, as shooting interfered with my
work, more especially with making out the geological structure of
a country.  I discovered, though unconsciously and insensibly,
that the pleasure of observing and reasoning was a much higher
one than that of skill and sport.  That my mind became developed
through my pursuits during the voyage is rendered probable by a
remark made by my father, who was the most acute observer whom I
ever saw, of a sceptical disposition, and far from being a
believer in phrenology; for on first seeing me after the voyage,
he turned round to my sisters, and exclaimed, "Why, the shape of
his head is quite altered."

To return to the voyage.  On September 11th (1831), I paid a
flying visit with Fitz-Roy to the "Beagle" at Plymouth.  Thence
to Shrewsbury to wish my father and sisters a long farewell.  On
October 24th I took up my residence at Plymouth, and remained
there until December 27th, when the "Beagle" finally left the
shores of England for her circumnavigation of the world.  We made
two earlier attempts to sail, but were driven back each time by
heavy gales.  These two months at Plymouth were the most
miserable which I ever spent, though I exerted myself in various
ways.  I was out of spirits at the thought of leaving all my
family and friends for so long a time, and the weather seemed to
me inexpressibly gloomy.  I was also troubled with palpitation
and pain about the heart, and like many a young ignorant man,
especially one with a smattering of medical knowledge, was
convinced that I had heart disease.  I did not consult any
doctor, as I fully expected to hear the verdict that I was not
fit for the voyage, and I was resolved to go at all hazards.

I need not here refer to the events of the voyage--where we went
and what we did--as I have given a sufficiently full account in
my published Journal.  The glories of the vegetation of the
Tropics rise before my mind at the present time more vividly than
anything else; though the sense of sublimity, which the great
deserts of Patagonia and the forest-clad mountains of Tierra del
Fuego excited in me, has left an indelible impression on my mind. 
The sight of a naked savage in his native land is an event which
can never be forgotten.  Many of my excursions on horseback
through wild countries, or in the boats, some of which lasted
several weeks, were deeply interesting:  their discomfort and
some degree of danger were at that time hardly a drawback, and
none at all afterwards.  I also reflect with high satisfaction on
some of my scientific work, such as solving the problem of coral
islands, and making out the geological structure of certain
islands, for instance, St. Helena.  Nor must I pass over the
discovery of the singular relations of the animals and plants
inhabiting the several islands of the Galapagos archipelago, and
of all of them to the inhabitants of South America.

As far as I can judge of myself, I worked to the utmost during
the voyage from the mere pleasure of investigation, and from my
strong desire to add a few facts to the great mass of facts in
Natural Science.  But I was also ambitious to take a fair place
among scientific men,--whether more ambitious or less so than
most of my fellow-workers, I can form no opinion.

The geology of St. Jago is very striking, yet simple:  a stream
of lava formerly flowed over the bed of the sea, formed of
triturated recent shells and corals, which it has baked into a
hard white rock.  Since then the whole island has been upheaved. 
But the line of white rock revealed to me a new and important
fact, namely, that there had been afterwards subsidence round the
craters, which had since been in action, and had poured forth
lava.  It then first dawned on me that I might perhaps write a
book on the geology of the various countries visited, and this
made me thrill with delight.  That was a memorable hour to me,
and how distinctly I can call to mind the low cliff of lava
beneath which I rested, with the sun glaring hot, a few strange
desert plants growing near, and with living corals in the tidal
pools at my feet.  Later in the voyage, Fitz-Roy asked me to read
some of my Journal, and declared it would be worth publishing; so
here was a second book in prospect!

Towards the close of our voyage I received a letter whilst at
Ascension, in which my sisters told me that Sedgwick had called
on my father, and said that I should take a place among the
leading scientific men.  I could not at the time understand how
he could have learnt anything of my proceedings, but I heard (I
believe afterwards) that Henslow had read some of the letters
which I wrote to him before the Philosophical Society of
Cambridge (Read at the meeting held November 16, 1835, and
printed in a pamphlet of 31 pages for distribution among the
members of the Society.), and had printed them for private
distribution.  My collection of fossil bones, which had been sent
to Henslow, also excited considerable attention amongst
palaeontologists.  After reading this letter, I clambered over
the mountains of Ascension with a bounding step, and made the
volcanic rocks resound under my geological hammer.  All this
shows how ambitious I was; but I think that I can say with truth
that in after years, though I cared in the highest degree for the
approbation of such men as Lyell and Hooker, who were my friends,
I did not care much about the general public.  I do not mean to
say that a favourable review or a large sale of my books did not
please me greatly, but the pleasure was a fleeting one, and I am
sure that I have never turned one inch out of my course to gain
fame.

FROM MY RETURN TO ENGLAND (OCTOBER 2, 1836) TO MY MARRIAGE
(JANUARY 29, 1839.)

These two years and three months were the most active ones which
I ever spent, though I was occasionally unwell, and so lost some
time.  After going backwards and forwards several times between
Shrewsbury, Maer, Cambridge, and London, I settled in lodgings at
Cambridge (In Fitzwilliam Street.) on December 13th, where all my
collections were under the care of Henslow.  I stayed here three
months, and got my minerals and rocks examined by the aid of
Professor Miller.

I began preparing my 'Journal of Travels,' which was not hard
work, as my MS. Journal had been written with care, and my chief
labour was making an abstract of my more interesting scientific
results.  I sent also, at the request of Lyell, a short account
of my observations on the elevation of the coast of Chile to the
Geological Society.  ('Geolog. Soc. Proc. ii. 1838, pages 446-
449.)

On March 7th, 1837, I took lodgings in Great Marlborough Street
in London, and remained there for nearly two years, until I was
married.  During these two years I finished my Journal, read
several papers before the Geological Society, began preparing the
MS. for my 'Geological Observations,' and arranged for the
publication of the 'Zoology of the Voyage of the "Beagle".'  In
July I opened my first note-book for facts in relation to the
Origin of Species, about which I had long reflected, and never
ceased working for the next twenty years.

During these two years I also went a little into society, and
acted as one of the honorary secretaries of the Geological
Society.  I saw a great deal of Lyell.  One of his chief
characteristics was his sympathy with the work of others, and I
was as much astonished as delighted at the interest which he
showed when, on my return to England, I explained to him my views
on coral reefs.  This encouraged me greatly, and his advice and
example had much influence on me.  During this time I saw also a
good deal of Robert Brown; I used often to call and sit with him
during his breakfast on Sunday mornings, and he poured forth a
rich treasure of curious observations and acute remarks, but they
almost always related to minute points, and he never with me
discussed large or general questions in science.

During these two years I took several short excursions as a
relaxation, and one longer one to the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy,
an account of which was published in the 'Philosophical
Transactions.'  (1839, pages 39-82.)  This paper was a great
failure, and I am ashamed of it.  Having been deeply impressed
with what I had seen of the elevation of the land of South
America, I attributed the parallel lines to the action of the
sea; but I had to give up this view when Agassiz propounded his
glacier-lake theory.  Because no other explanation was possible
under our then state of knowledge, I argued in favour of sea-
action; and my error has been a good lesson to me never to trust
in science to the principle of exclusion.

As I was not able to work all day at science, I read a good deal
during these two years on various subjects, including some
metaphysical books; but I was not well fitted for such studies. 
About this time I took much delight in Wordsworth's and
Coleridge's poetry; and can boast that I read the 'Excursion'
twice through.  Formerly Milton's 'Paradise Lost' had been my
chief favourite, and in my excursions during the voyage of the
"Beagle", when I could take only a single volume, I always chose
Milton.

FROM MY MARRIAGE, JANUARY 29, 1839, AND RESIDENCE IN UPPER GOWER
STREET, TO OUR LEAVING LONDON AND SETTLING AT DOWN, SEPTEMBER 14,
1842.

(After speaking of his happy married life, and of his children,
he continues:--)

During the three years and eight months whilst we resided in
London, I did less scientific work, though I worked as hard as I
possibly could, than during any other equal length of time in my
life.  This was owing to frequently recurring unwellness, and to
one long and serious illness.  The greater part of my time, when
I could do anything, was devoted to my work on 'Coral Reefs,'
which I had begun before my marriage, and of which the last
proof-sheet was corrected on May 6th, 1842.  This book, though a
small one, cost me twenty months of hard work, as I had to read
every work on the islands of the Pacific and to consult many
charts.  It was thought highly of by scientific men, and the
theory therein given is, I think, now well established.

No other work of mine was begun in so deductive a spirit as this,
for the whole theory was thought out on the west coast of South
America, before I had seen a true coral reef.  I had therefore
only to verify and extend my views by a careful examination of
living reefs.  But it should be observed that I had during the
two previous years been incessantly attending to the effects on
the shores of South America of the intermittent elevation of the
land, together with denudation and the deposition of sediment. 
This necessarily led me to reflect much on the effects of
subsidence, and it was easy to replace in imagination the
continued deposition of sediment by the upward growth of corals. 
To do this was to form my theory of the formation of barrier-
reefs and atolls.

Besides my work on coral-reefs, during my residence in London, I
read before the Geological Society papers on the Erratic Boulders
of South America ('Geolog. Soc. Proc.' iii. 1842.), on
Earthquakes ('Geolog. Trans. v. 1840.), and on the Formation by
the Agency of Earth-worms of Mould.  ('Geolog. Soc. Proc. ii.
1838.)  I also continued to superintend the publication of the
'Zoology of the Voyage of the "Beagle".'  Nor did I ever intermit
collecting facts bearing on the origin of species; and I could
sometimes do this when I could do nothing else from illness.

In the summer of 1842 I was stronger than I had been for some
time, and took a little tour by myself in North Wales, for the
sake of observing the effects of the old glaciers which formerly
filled all the larger valleys.  I published a short account of
what I saw in the 'Philosophical Magazine.'  ('Philosophical
Magazine,' 1842.)  This excursion interested me greatly, and it
was the last time I was ever strong enough to climb mountains or
to take long walks such as are necessary for geological work.

During the early part of our life in London, I was strong enough
to go into general society, and saw a good deal of several
scientific men, and other more or less distinguished men.  I will
give my impressions with respect to some of them, though I have
little to say worth saying.

I saw more of Lyell than of any other man, both before and after
my marriage.  His mind was characterised, as it appeared to me,
by clearness, caution, sound judgment, and a good deal of
originality.  When I made any remark to him on Geology, he never
rested until he saw the whole case clearly, and often made me see
it more clearly than I had done before.  He would advance all
possible objections to my suggestion, and even after these were
exhausted would long remain dubious.  A second characteristic was
his hearty sympathy with the work of other scientific men.  (The
slight repetition here observable is accounted for by the notes
on Lyell, etc., having been added in April, 1881, a few years
after the rest of the 'Recollections' were written.)

On my return from the voyage of the "Beagle", I explained to him
my views on coral-reefs, which differed from his, and I was
greatly surprised and encouraged by the vivid interest which he
showed.  His delight in science was ardent, and he felt the
keenest interest in the future progress of mankind.  He was very
kind-hearted, and thoroughly liberal in his religious beliefs, or
rather disbeliefs; but he was a strong theist.  His candour was
highly remarkable.  He exhibited this by becoming a convert to
the Descent theory, though he had gained much fame by opposing
Lamarck's views, and this after he had grown old.  He reminded me
that I had many years before said to him, when discussing the
opposition of the old school of geologists to his new views,
"What a good thing it would be if every scientific man was to die
when sixty years old, as afterwards he would be sure to oppose
all new doctrines."  But he hoped that now he might be allowed to
live.

The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell--more so,
as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived.  When [I was]
starting on the voyage of the "Beagle", the sagacious Henslow,
who, like all other geologists, believed at that time in
successive cataclysms, advised me to get and study the first
volume of the 'Principles,' which had then just been published,
but on no account to accept the views therein advocated.  How
differently would anyone now speak of the 'Principles'!  I am
proud to remember that the first place, namely, St. Jago, in the
Cape de Verde archipelago, in which I geologised, convinced me of
the infinite superiority of Lyell's views over those advocated in
any other work known to me.

The powerful effects of Lyell's works could formerly be plainly
seen in the different progress of the science in France and
England.  The present total oblivion of Elie de Beaumont's wild
hypotheses, such as his 'Craters of Elevation' and 'Lines of
Elevation' (which latter hypothesis I heard Sedgwick at the
Geological Society lauding to the skies), may be largely
attributed to Lyell.

I saw a good deal of Robert Brown, "facile Princeps Botanicorum,"
as he was called by Humboldt.  He seemed to me to be chiefly
remarkable for the minuteness of his observations, and their
perfect accuracy.  His knowledge was extraordinarily great, and
much died with him, owing to his excessive fear of ever making a
mistake.  He poured out his knowledge to me in the most
unreserved manner, yet was strangely jealous on some points.  I
called on him two or three times before the voyage of the
"Beagle", and on one occasion he asked me to look through a
microscope and describe what I saw.  This I did, and believe now
that it was the marvellous currents of protoplasm in some
vegetable cell.  I then asked him what I had seen; but he
answered me, "That is my little secret."

He was capable of the most generous actions.  When old, much out
of health, and quite unfit for any exertion, he daily visited (as
Hooker told me) an old man-servant, who lived at a distance (and
whom he supported), and read aloud to him.  This is enough to
make up for any degree of scientific penuriousness or jealousy.

I may here mention a few other eminent men, whom I have
occasionally seen, but I have little to say about them worth
saying.  I felt a high reverence for Sir J. Herschel, and was
delighted to dine with him at his charming house at the Cape of
Good Hope, and afterwards at his London house.  I saw him, also,
on a few other occasions.  He never talked much, but every word
which he uttered was worth listening to.

I once met at breakfast at Sir R. Murchison's house the
illustrious Humboldt, who honoured me by expressing a wish to see
me.  I was a little disappointed with the great man, but my
anticipations probably were too high.  I can remember nothing
distinctly about our interview, except that Humboldt was very
cheerful and talked much.

-- reminds me of Buckle whom I once met at Hensleigh Wedgwood's. 
I was very glad to learn from him his system of collecting facts. 
He told me that he bought all the books which he read, and made a
full index, to each, of the facts which he thought might prove
serviceable to him, and that he could always remember in what
book he had read anything, for his memory was wonderful.  I asked
him how at first he could judge what facts would be serviceable,
and he answered that he did not know, but that a sort of instinct
guided him.  From this habit of making indices, he was enabled to
give the astonishing number of references on all sorts of
subjects, which may be found in his 'History of Civilisation.' 
This book I thought most interesting, and read it twice, but I
doubt whether his generalisations are worth anything.  Buckle was
a great talker, and I listened to him saying hardly a word, nor
indeed could I have done so for he left no gaps.  When Mrs.
Farrer began to sing, I jumped up and said that I must listen to
her; after I had moved away he turned around to a friend and said
(as was overheard by my brother), "Well, Mr. Darwin's books are
much better than his conversation."

Of other great literary men, I once met Sydney Smith at Dean
Milman's house.  There was something inexplicably amusing in
every word which he uttered.  Perhaps this was partly due to the
expectation of being amused.  He was talking about Lady Cork, who
was then extremely old.  This was the lady who, as he said, was
once so much affected by one of his charity sermons, that she
BORROWED a guinea from a friend to put in the plate.  He now said
"It is generally believed that my dear old friend Lady Cork has
been overlooked," and he said this in such a manner that no one
could for a moment doubt that he meant that his dear old friend
had been overlooked by the devil.  How he managed to express this
I know not.

I likewise once met Macaulay at Lord Stanhope's (the historian's)
house, and as there was only one other man at dinner, I had a
grand opportunity of hearing him converse, and he was very
agreeable.  He did not talk at all too much; nor indeed could
such a man talk too much, as long as he allowed others to turn
the stream of his conversation, and this he did allow.

Lord Stanhope once gave me a curious little proof of the accuracy
and fulness of Macaulay's memory:  many historians used often to
meet at Lord Stanhope's house, and in discussing various subjects
they would sometimes differ from Macaulay, and formerly they
often referred to some book to see who was right; but latterly,
as Lord Stanhope noticed, no historian ever took this trouble,
and whatever Macaulay said was final.

On another occasion I met at Lord Stanhope's house, one of his
parties of historians and other literary men, and amongst them
were Motley and Grote.  After luncheon I walked about Chevening
Park for nearly an hour with Grote, and was much interested by
his conversation and pleased by the simplicity and absence of all
pretension in his manners.

Long ago I dined occasionally with the old Earl, the father of
the historian; he was a strange man, but what little I knew of
him I liked much.  He was frank, genial, and pleasant.  He had
strongly marked features, with a brown complexion, and his
clothes, when I saw him, were all brown.  He seemed to believe in
everything which was to others utterly incredible.  He said one
day to me, "Why don't you give up your fiddle-faddle of geology
and zoology, and turn to the occult sciences!"  The historian,
then Lord Mahon, seemed shocked at such a speech to me, and his
charming wife much amused.

The last man whom I will mention is Carlyle, seen by me several
times at my brother's house, and two or three times at my own
house.  His talk was very racy and interesting, just like his
writings, but he sometimes went on too long on the same subject. 
I remember a funny dinner at my brother's, where, amongst a few
others, were Babbage and Lyell, both of whom liked to talk. 
Carlyle, however, silenced every one by haranguing during the
whole dinner on the advantages of silence.  After dinner Babbage,
in his grimmest manner, thanked Carlyle for his very interesting
lecture on silence.

Carlyle sneered at almost every one:  one day in my house he
called Grote's 'History' "a fetid quagmire, with nothing
spiritual about it."  I always thought, until his 'Reminiscences'
appeared, that his sneers were partly jokes, but this now seems
rather doubtful.  His expression was that of a depressed, almost
despondent yet benevolent man; and it is notorious how heartily
he laughed.  I believe that his benevolence was real, though
stained by not a little jealousy.  No one can doubt about his
extraordinary power of drawing pictures of things and men--far
more vivid, as it appears to me, than any drawn by Macaulay. 
Whether his pictures of men were true ones is another question.

He has been all-powerful in impressing some grand moral truths on
the minds of men.  On the other hand, his views about slavery
were revolting.  In his eyes might was right.  His mind seemed to
me a very narrow one; even if all branches of science, which he
despised, are excluded.  It is astonishing to me that Kingsley
should have spoken of him as a man well fitted to advance
science.  He laughed to scorn the idea that a mathematician, such
as Whewell, could judge, as I maintained he could, of Goethe's
views on light.  He thought it a most ridiculous thing that any
one should care whether a glacier moved a little quicker or a
little slower, or moved at all.  As far as I could judge, I never
met a man with a mind so ill adapted for scientific research.

Whilst living in London, I attended as regularly as I could the
meetings of several scientific societies, and acted as secretary
to the Geological Society.  But such attendance, and ordinary
society, suited my health so badly that we resolved to live in
the country, which we both preferred and have never repented of.

RESIDENCE AT DOWN FROM SEPTEMBER 14, 1842, TO THE PRESENT TIME,
1876.

After several fruitless searches in Surrey and elsewhere, we
found this house and purchased it.  I was pleased with the
diversified appearance of vegetation proper to a chalk district,
and so unlike what I had been accustomed to in the Midland
counties; and still more pleased with the extreme quietness and
rusticity of the place.  It is not, however, quite so retired a
place as a writer in a German periodical makes it, who says that
my house can be approached only by a mule-track!  Our fixing
ourselves here has answered admirably in one way, which we did
not anticipate, namely, by being very convenient for frequent
visits from our children.

Few persons can have lived a more retired life than we have done. 
Besides short visits to the houses of relations, and occasionally
to the seaside or elsewhere, we have gone nowhere.  During the
first part of our residence we went a little into society, and
received a few friends here; but my health almost always suffered
from the excitement, violent shivering and vomiting attacks being
thus brought on.  I have therefore been compelled for many years
to give up all dinner-parties; and this has been somewhat of a
deprivation to me, as such parties always put me into high
spirits.  From the same cause I have been able to invite here
very few scientific acquaintances.

My chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life has been
scientific work; and the excitement from such work makes me for
the time forget, or drives quite away, my daily discomfort.  I
have therefore nothing to record during the rest of my life,
except the publication of my several books.  Perhaps a few
details how they arose may be worth giving.

MY SEVERAL PUBLICATIONS.

In the early part of 1844, my observations on the volcanic
islands visited during the voyage of the "Beagle" were published. 
In 1845, I took much pains in correcting a new edition of my
'Journal of Researches,' which was originally published in 1839
as part of Fitz-Roy's work.  The success of this, my first
literary child, always tickles my vanity more than that of any of
my other books.  Even to this day it sells steadily in England
and the United States, and has been translated for the second
time into German, and into French and other languages.  This
success of a book of travels, especially of a scientific one, so
many years after its first publication, is surprising.  Ten
thousand copies have been sold in England of the second edition. 
In 1846 my 'Geological Observations on South America' were
published.  I record in a little diary, which I have always kept,
that my three geological books ('Coral Reefs' included) consumed
four and a half years' steady work; "and now it is ten years
since my return to England.  How much time have I lost by
illness?"  I have nothing to say about these three books except
that to my surprise new editions have lately been called for. 
('Geological Observations,' 2nd Edit.1876.  'Coral Reefs,' 2nd
Edit. 1874.)

In October, 1846, I began to work on 'Cirripedia.'  When on the
coast of Chile, I found a most curious form, which burrowed into
the shells of Concholepas, and which differed so much from all
other Cirripedes that I had to form a new sub-order for its sole
reception.  Lately an allied burrowing genus has been found on
the shores of Portugal.  To understand the structure of my new
Cirripede I had to examine and dissect many of the common forms;
and this gradually led me on to take up the whole group.  I
worked steadily on this subject for the next eight years, and
ultimately published two thick volumes (Published by the Ray
Society.), describing all the known living species, and two thin
quartos on the extinct species.  I do not doubt that Sir E.
Lytton Bulwer had me in his mind when he introduced in one of his
novels a Professor Long, who had written two huge volumes on
limpets.

Although I was employed during eight years on this work, yet I
record in my diary that about two years out of this time was lost
by illness.  On this account I went in 1848 for some months to
Malvern for hydropathic treatment, which did me much good, so
that on my return home I was able to resume work.  So much was I
out of health that when my dear father died on November 13th,
1848, I was unable to attend his funeral or to act as one of his
executors.

My work on the Cirripedia possesses, I think, considerable value,
as besides describing several new and remarkable forms, I made
out the homologies of the various parts--I discovered the
cementing apparatus, though I blundered dreadfully about the
cement glands--and lastly I proved the existence in certain
genera of minute males complemental to and parasitic on the
hermaphrodites.  This latter discovery has at last been fully
confirmed; though at one time a German writer was pleased to
attribute the whole account to my fertile imagination.  The
Cirripedes form a highly varying and difficult group of species
to class; and my work was of considerable use to me, when I had
to discuss in the 'Origin of Species' the principles of a natural
classification.  Nevertheless, I doubt whether the work was worth
the consumption of so much time.

>From September 1854 I devoted my whole time to arranging my huge
pile of notes, to observing, and to experimenting in relation to
the transmutation of species.  During the voyage of the "Beagle"
I had been deeply impressed by discovering in the Pampean
formation great fossil animals covered with armour like that on
the existing armadillos; secondly, by the manner in which closely
allied animals replace one another in proceeding southwards over
the Continent; and thirdly, by the South American character of
most of the productions of the Galapagos archipelago, and more
especially by the manner in which they differ slightly on each
island of the group; none of the islands appearing to be very
ancient in a geological sense.

It was evident that such facts as these, as well as many others,
could only be explained on the supposition that species gradually
become modified; and the subject haunted me.  But it was equally
evident that neither the action of the surrounding conditions,
nor the will of the organisms (especially in the case of plants)
could account for the innumerable cases in which organisms of
every kind are beautifully adapted to their habits of life--for
instance, a woodpecker or a tree-frog to climb trees, or a seed
for dispersal by hooks or plumes.  I had always been much struck
by such adaptations, and until these could be explained it seemed
to me almost useless to endeavour to prove by indirect evidence
that species have been modified.

After my return to England it appeared to me that by following
the example of Lyell in Geology, and by collecting all facts
which bore in any way on the variation of animals and plants
under domestication and nature, some light might perhaps be
thrown on the whole subject.  My first note-book was opened in
July 1837.  I worked on true Baconian principles, and without any
theory collected facts on a wholesale scale, more especially with
respect to domesticated productions, by printed enquiries, by
conversation with skilful breeders and gardeners, and by
extensive reading.  When I see the list of books of all kinds
which I read and abstracted, including whole series of Journals
and Transactions, I am surprised at my industry.  I soon
perceived that selection was the keystone of man's success in
making useful races of animals and plants.  But how selection
could be applied to organisms living in a state of nature
remained for some time a mystery to me.

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 unfavourable ones to be
destroyed.  The result of this would be the formation of new
species.  Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work;
but I was so anxious to avoid prejudice, that I determined not
for some time to write even the briefest sketch of it.  In June
1842 I first allowed myself the satisfaction of writing a very
brief abstract of my theory in pencil in 35 pages; and this was
enlarged during the summer of 1844 into one of 230 pages, which I
had fairly copied out and still possess.

But at that time I overlooked one problem of great importance;
and it is astonishing to me, except on the principle of Columbus
and his egg, how I could have overlooked it and its solution. 
This problem is the tendency in organic beings descended from the
same stock to diverge in character as they become modified.  That
they have diverged greatly is obvious from the manner in which
species of all kinds can be classed under genera, genera under
families, families under sub-orders and so forth; and I can
remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when
to my joy the solution occurred to me; and this was long after I
had come to Down.  The solution, as I believe, is that the
modified offspring of all dominant and increasing forms tend to
become adapted to many and highly diversified places in the
economy of nature.

Early in 1856 Lyell advised me to write out my views pretty
fully, and I began at once to do so on a scale three or four
times as extensive as that which was afterwards followed in my
'Origin of Species;' yet it was only an abstract of the materials
which I had collected, and I got through about half the work on
this scale.  But my plans were overthrown, for early in the
summer of 1858 Mr. Wallace, who was then in the Malay
archipelago, sent me an essay "On the Tendency of Varieties to
depart indefinitely from the Original Type;" and this essay
contained exactly the same theory as mine.  Mr. Wallace expressed
the wish that if I thought well of his essay, I should sent it to
Lyell for perusal.

The circumstances under which I consented at the request of Lyell
and Hooker to allow of an abstract from my MS., together with a
letter to Asa Gray, dated September 5, 1857, to be published at
the same time with Wallace's Essay, are given in the 'Journal of
the Proceedings of the Linnean Society,' 1858, page 45.  I was at
first very unwilling to consent, as I thought Mr. Wallace might
consider my doing so unjustifiable, for I did not then know how
generous and noble was his disposition.  The extract from my MS.
and the letter to Asa Gray had neither been intended for
publication, and were badly written.  Mr. Wallace's essay, on the
other hand, was admirably expressed and quite clear. 
Nevertheless, our joint productions excited very little
attention, and the only published notice of them which I can
remember was by Professor Haughton of Dublin, whose verdict was
that all that was new in them was false, and what was true was
old.  This shows how necessary it is that any new view should be
explained at considerable length in order to arouse public
attention.

In September 1858 I set to work by the strong advice of Lyell and
Hooker to prepare a volume on the transmutation of species, but
was often interrupted by ill-health, and short visits to Dr.
Lane's delightful hydropathic establishment at Moor Park.  I
abstracted the MS. begun on a much larger scale in 1856, and
completed the volume on the same reduced scale.  It cost me
thirteen months and ten days' hard labour.  It was published
under the title of the 'Origin of Species,' in November 1859. 
Though considerably added to and corrected in the later editions,
it has remained substantially the same book.

It is no doubt the chief work of my life.  It was from the first
highly successful.  The first small edition of 1250 copies was
sold on the day of publication, and a second edition of 3000
copies soon afterwards.  Sixteen thousand copies have now (1876)
been sold in England; and considering how stiff a book it is,
this is a large sale.  It has been translated into almost every
European tongue, even into such languages as Spanish, Bohemian,
Polish, and Russian.  It has also, according to Miss Bird, been
translated into Japanese (Miss Bird is mistaken, as I learn from
Prof. Mitsukuri.--F.D.), and is there much studied.  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 some time I collected all that appeared on the 'Origin' and
on my related books, and these amount (excluding newspaper
reviews) to 265; but after a time I gave up the attempt in
despair.  Many separate essays and books on the subject have
appeared; and in Germany a catalogue or bibliography on
"Darwinismus" has appeared every year or two.

The success of the 'Origin' may, I think, be attributed in large
part to my having long before written two condensed sketches, 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.

It has sometimes been said that the success of the 'Origin'
proved "that the subject was in the air," or "that men's minds
were prepared for it."  I do not think that this is strictly
true, for I occasionally sounded not a few naturalists, and never
happened to come across a single one who seemed to doubt about
the permanence of species.  Even Lyell and Hooker, though they
would listen with interest to me, never seemed to agree.  I tried
once or twice to explain to able men what I meant by Natural
Selection, but signally failed.  What I believe was strictly true
is that innumerable well-observed facts were stored in the minds
of naturalists ready to take their proper places as soon as any
theory which would receive them was sufficiently explained. 
Another element in the success of the book was its moderate size;
and this I owe to the appearance of Mr. Wallace's essay; had I
published on the scale in which I began to write in 1856, the
book would have been four or five times as large as the 'Origin,'
and very few would have had the patience to read it.

I gained much by my delay in publishing from about 1839, when the
theory was clearly conceived, to 1859; and I lost nothing by it,
for I cared very little whether men attributed most originality
to me or Wallace; and his essay no doubt aided in the reception
of the theory.  I was forestalled in only one important point,
which my vanity has always made me regret, namely, the
explanation by means of the Glacial period of the presence of the
same species of plants and of some few animals on distant
mountain summits and in the arctic regions.  This view pleased me
so much that I wrote it out in extenso, and I believe that it was
read by Hooker some years before E. Forbes published his
celebrated memoir ('Geolog. Survey Mem.,' 1846.) on the subject. 
In the very few points in which we differed, I still think that I
was in the right.  I have never, of course, alluded in print to
my having independently worked out this view.

Hardly any point gave me so much satisfaction when I was at work
on the 'Origin,' as the explanation of the wide difference in
many classes between the embryo and the adult animal, and of the
close resemblance of the embryos within the same class.  No
notice of this point was taken, as far as I remember, in the
early reviews of the 'Origin,' and I recollect expressing my
surprise on this head in a letter to Asa Gray.  Within late years
several reviewers have given the whole credit to Fritz Muller and
Hackel, who undoubtedly have worked it out much more fully, and
in some respects more correctly than I did.  I had materials for
a whole chapter on the subject, and I ought to have made the
discussion longer; for it is clear that I failed to impress my
readers; and he who succeeds in doing so deserves, in my opinion,
all the credit.

This leads me to remark that I have almost always been treated
honestly by my reviewers, passing over those without scientific
knowledge as not worthy of notice.  My views have often been
grossly misrepresented, bitterly opposed and ridiculed, but this
has been generally done, as I believe, in good faith.  On the
whole I do not doubt that my works have been over and over again
greatly overpraised.  I rejoice that I have avoided
controversies, and this I owe to Lyell, who many years ago, in
reference to my geological works, strongly advised me never to
get entangled in a controversy, as it rarely did any good and
caused a miserable loss of time and temper.

Whenever I have found out that I have blundered, or that my work
has been imperfect, and when I have been contemptuously
criticised, and even when I have been overpraised, so that I have
felt mortified, it has been my greatest comfort to say hundreds
of times to myself that "I have worked as hard and as well as I
could, and no man can do more than this."  I remember when in
Good Success Bay, in Tierra del Fuego, thinking (and, I believe,
that I wrote home to the effect) that I could not employ my life
better than in adding a little to Natural Science.  This I have
done to the best of my abilities, and critics may say what they
like, but they cannot destroy this conviction.

During the two last months of 1859 I was fully occupied in
preparing a second edition of the 'Origin,' and by an enormous
correspondence.  On January 1st, 1860, I began arranging my notes
for my work on the 'Variation of Animals and Plants under
Domestication;' but it was not published until the beginning of
1868; the delay having been caused partly by frequent illnesses,
one of which lasted seven months, and partly by being tempted to
publish on other subjects which at the time interested me more.

On May 15th, 1862, my little book on the 'Fertilisation of
Orchids,' which cost me ten months' work, was published:  most of
the facts had been slowly accumulated during several previous
years.  During the summer of 1839, and, I believe, during the
previous summer, I was led to attend to the cross-fertilisation
of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come to the
conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, that
crossing played an important part in keeping specific forms
constant.  I attended to the subject more or less during every
subsequent summer; and my interest in it was greatly enhanced by
having procured and read in November 1841, through the advice of
Robert Brown, a copy of C.K. Sprengel's wonderful book, 'Das
entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur.'  For some years before 1862 I
had specially attended to the fertilisation of our British
orchids; and it seemed to me the best plan to prepare as complete
a treatise on this group of plants as well as I could, rather
than to utilise the great mass of matter which I had slowly
collected with respect to other plants.

My resolve proved a wise one; for since the appearance of my
book, a surprising number of papers and separate works on the
fertilisation of all kinds of flowers have appeared:  and these
are far better done than I could possibly have effected.  The
merits of poor old Sprengel, so long overlooked, are now fully
recognised many years after his death.

During the same year I published in the 'Journal of the Linnean
Society' a paper "On the Two Forms, or Dimorphic Condition of
Primula," and during the next five years, five other papers on
dimorphic and trimorphic plants.  I do not think anything in my
scientific life has given me so much satisfaction as making out
the meaning of the structure of these plants.  I had noticed in
1838 or 1839 the dimorphism of Linum flavum, and had at first
thought that it was merely a case of unmeaning variability.  But
on examining the common species of Primula I found that the two
forms were much too regular and constant to be thus viewed.  I
therefore became almost convinced that the common cowslip and
primrose were on the high road to become dioecious;--that the
short pistil in the one form, and the short stamens in the other
form were tending towards abortion.  The plants were therefore
subjected under this point of view to trial; but as soon as the
flowers with short pistils fertilised with pollen from the short
stamens, were found to yield more seeds than any other of the
four possible unions, the abortion-theory was knocked on the
head.  After some additional experiment, it became evident that
the two forms, though both were perfect hermaphrodites, bore
almost the same relation to one another as do the two sexes of an
ordinary animal.  With Lythrum we have the still more wonderful
case of three forms standing in a similar relation to one
another.  I afterwards found that the offspring from the union of
two plants belonging to the same forms presented a close and
curious analogy with hybrids from the union of two distinct
species.

In the autumn of 1864 I finished a long paper on 'Climbing
Plants,' and sent it to the Linnean Society.  The writing of this
paper cost me four months; but I was so unwell when I received
the proof-sheets that I was forced to leave them very badly and
often obscurely expressed.  The paper was little noticed, but
when in 1875 it was corrected and published as a separate book it
sold well.  I was led to take up this subject by reading a short
paper by Asa Gray, published in 1858.  He sent me seeds, and on
raising some plants I was so much fascinated and perplexed by the
revolving movements of the tendrils and stems, which movements
are really very simple, though appearing at first sight very
complex, that I procured various other kinds of climbing plants,
and studied the whole subject.  I was all the more attracted to
it, from not being at all satisfied with the explanation which
Henslow gave us in his lectures, about twining plants, namely,
that they had a natural tendency to grow up in a spire.  This
explanation proved quite erroneous.  Some of the adaptations
displayed by Climbing Plants are as beautiful as those of Orchids
for ensuring cross-fertilisation.

My 'Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication' was
begun, as already stated, in the beginning of 1860, but was not
published until the beginning of 1868.  It was a big book, and
cost me four years and two months' hard labour.  It gives all my
observations and an immense number of facts collected from
various sources, about our domestic productions.  In the second
volume the causes and laws of variation, inheritance, etc., are
discussed as far as our present state of knowledge permits. 
Towards the end of the work I give my well-abused hypothesis of
Pangenesis.  An unverified hypothesis is of little or no value;
but if anyone should hereafter be led to make observations by
which some such hypothesis could be established, I shall have
done good service, as an astonishing number of isolated facts can
be thus connected together and rendered intelligible.  In 1875 a
second and largely corrected edition, which cost me a good deal
of labour, was brought out.

My 'Descent of Man' was published in February, 1871.  As soon as
I had become, in the year 1837 or 1838, convinced that species
were mutable productions, I could not avoid the belief that man
must come under the same law.  Accordingly I collected notes on
the subject for my own satisfaction, and not for a long time with
any intention of publishing.  Although in the 'Origin of Species'
the derivation of any particular species is never discussed, yet
I thought it best, in order that no honourable man should accuse
me of concealing my views, to add that by the work "light would
be thrown on the origin of man and his history."  It would have
been useless and injurious to the success of the book to have
paraded, without giving any evidence, my conviction with respect
to his origin.

But when I found that many naturalists fully accepted the
doctrine of the evolution of species, it seemed to me advisable
to work up such notes as I possessed, and to publish a special
treatise on the origin of man.  I was the more glad to do so, as
it gave me an opportunity of fully discussing sexual selection--a
subject which had always greatly interested me.  This subject,
and that of the variation of our domestic productions, together
with the causes and laws of variation, inheritance, and the
intercrossing of plants, are the sole subjects which I have been
able to write about in full, so as to use all the materials which
I have collected.  The 'Descent of Man' took me three years to
write, but then as usual some of this time was lost by ill
health, and some was consumed by preparing new editions and other
minor works.  A second and largely corrected edition of the
'Descent' appeared in 1874.

My book on the 'Expression of the Emotions in Men and Animals'
was published in the autumn of 1872.  I had intended to give only
a chapter on the subject in the 'Descent of Man,' but as soon as
I began to put my notes together, I saw that it would require a
separate treatise.

My first child was born on December 27th, 1839, and I at once
commenced to make notes on the first dawn of the various
expressions which he exhibited, for I felt convinced, even at
this early period, that the most complex and fine shades of
expression must all have had a gradual and natural origin. 
During the summer of the following year, 1840, I read Sir C.
Bell's admirable work on expression, and this greatly increased
the interest which I felt in the subject, though I could not at
all agree with his belief that various muscles had been specially
created for the sake of expression.  From this time forward I
occasionally attended to the subject, both with respect to man
and our domesticated animals.  My book sold largely; 5267 copies
having been disposed of on the day of publication.

In the summer of 1860 I was idling and resting near Hartfield,
where two species of Drosera abound; and I noticed that numerous
insects had been entrapped by the leaves.  I carried home some
plants, and on giving them insects saw the movements of the
tentacles, and this made me think it probable that the insects
were caught for some special purpose.  Fortunately a crucial test
occurred to me, that of placing a large number of leaves in
various nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous fluids of equal density;
and as soon as I found that the former alone excited energetic
movements, it was obvious that here was a fine new field for
investigation.

During subsequent years, whenever I had leisure, I pursued my
experiments, and my book on 'Insectivorous Plants' was published
in July 1875--that is, sixteen years after my first observations. 
The delay in this case, as with all my other books, has been a
great advantage to me; for a man after a long interval can
criticise his own work, almost as well as if it were that of
another person.  The fact that a plant should secrete, when
properly excited, a fluid containing an acid and ferment, closely
analogous to the digestive fluid of an animal, was certainly a
remarkable discovery.

During this autumn of 1876 I shall publish on the 'Effects of
Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom.'  This
book will form a complement to that on the 'Fertilisation of
Orchids,' in which I showed how perfect were the means for cross-
fertilisation, and here I shall show how important are the
results.  I was led to make, during eleven years, the numerous
experiments recorded in this volume, by a mere accidental
observation; and indeed it required the accident to be repeated
before my attention was thoroughly aroused to the remarkable fact
that seedlings of self-fertilised parentage are inferior, even in
the first generation, in height and vigour to seedlings of cross-
fertilised parentage.  I hope also to republish a revised edition
of my book on Orchids, and hereafter my papers on dimorphic and
trimorphic plants, together with some additional observations on
allied points which I never have had time to arrange.  My
strength will then probably be exhausted, and I shall be ready to
exclaim "Nunc dimittis."

WRITTEN MAY 1ST, 1881.

'The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation' was published in
the autumn of 1876; and the results there arrived at explain, as
I believe, the endless and wonderful contrivances for the
transportal of pollen from one plant to another of the same
species.  I now believe, however, chiefly from the observations
of Hermann Muller, that I ought to have insisted more strongly
than I did on the many adaptations for self-fertilisation; though
I was well aware of many such adaptations.  A much enlarged
edition of my 'Fertilisation of Orchids' was published in 1877.

In this same year 'The Different Forms of Flowers, etc.,'
appeared, and in 1880 a second edition.  This book consists
chiefly of the several papers on Heterostyled flowers originally
published by the Linnean Society, corrected, with much new matter
added, together with observations on some other cases in which
the same plant bears two kinds of flowers.  As before remarked,
no little discovery of mine ever gave me so much pleasure as the
making out the meaning of heterostyled flowers.  The results of
crossing such flowers in an illegitimate manner, I believe to be
very important, as bearing on the sterility of hybrids; although
these results have been noticed by only a few persons.

In 1879, I had a translation of Dr. Ernst Krause's 'Life of
Erasmus Darwin' published, and I added a sketch of his character
and habits from material in my possession.  Many persons have
been much interested by this little life, and I am surprised that
only 800 or 900 copies were sold.

In 1880 I published, with [my son] Frank's assistance, our 'Power
of Movement in Plants.'  This was a tough piece of work.  The
book bears somewhat the same relation to my little book on
'Climbing Plants,' which 'Cross-Fertilisation' did to the
'Fertilisation of Orchids;' for in accordance with the principle
of evolution it was impossible to account for climbing plants
having been developed in so many widely different groups unless
all kinds of plants possess some slight power of movement of an
analogous kind.  This I proved to be the case; and I was further
led to a rather wide generalisation, viz. that the great and
important classes of movements, excited by light, the attraction
of gravity, etc., are all modified forms of the fundamental
movement of circumnutation.  It has always pleased me to exalt
plants in the scale of organised beings; and I therefore felt an
especial pleasure in showing how many and what admirably well
adapted movements the tip of a root possesses.

I have now (May 1, 1881) sent to the printers the MS. of a little
book on 'The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of
Worms.'  This is a subject of but small importance; and I know
not whether it will interest any readers (Between November 1881
and February 1884, 8500 copies have been sold.), but it has
interested me.  It is the completion of a short paper read before
the Geological Society more than forty years ago, and has revived
old geological thoughts.

I have now mentioned all the books which I have published, and
these have been the milestones in my life, so that little remains
to be said.  I am not conscious of any change in my mind during
the last thirty years, excepting in one point presently to be
mentioned; nor, indeed, could any change have been expected
unless one of general deterioration.  But my father lived to his
eighty-third year with his mind as lively as ever it was, and all
his faculties undimmed; and I hope that I may die before my mind
fails to a sensible extent.  I think that I have become a little
more skilful in guessing right explanations and in devising
experimental tests; but this may probably be the result of mere
practice, and of a larger store of knowledge.  I have as much
difficulty as ever in expressing myself clearly and concisely;
and this difficulty has caused me a very great loss of time; but
it has had the compensating advantage of forcing me to think long
and intently about every sentence, and thus I have been led to
see errors in reasoning and in my own observations or those of
others.

There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind leading me to put
at first my statement or proposition in a wrong or awkward form. 
Formerly I used to think about my sentences before writing them
down; but for several years I have found that it saves time to
scribble in a vile hand whole pages as quickly as I possibly can,
contracting half the words; and then correct deliberately. 
Sentences thus scribbled down are often better ones than I could
have written deliberately.

Having said thus much about my manner of writing, I will add that
with my large books I spend a good deal of time over the general
arrangement of the matter.  I first make the rudest outline in
two or three pages, and then a larger one in several pages, a few
words or one word standing for a whole discussion or series of
facts.  Each one of these headings is again enlarged and often
transferred before I begin to write in extenso.  As in several of
my books facts observed by others have been very extensively
used, and as I have always had several quite distinct subjects in
hand at the same time, I may mention that I keep from thirty to
forty large portfolios, in cabinets with labelled shelves, into
which I can at once put a detached reference or memorandum.  I
have bought many books, and at their ends I make an index of all
the facts that concern my work; or, if the book is not my own,
write out a separate abstract, and of such abstracts I have a
large drawer full.  Before beginning on any subject I look to all
the short indexes and make a general and classified index, and by
taking the one or more proper portfolios I have all the
information collected during my life ready for use.

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the
last twenty or thirty years.  Up to the age of thirty, or beyond
it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray,
Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great
pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in
Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays.  I have also
said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very
great delight.  But now for many years I cannot endure to read a
line of poetry:  I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and
found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.  I have also
almost lost my taste for pictures or music.  Music generally sets
me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on,
instead of giving me pleasure.  I retain some taste for fine
scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it
formerly did.  On the other hand, novels which are works of the
imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years
a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all
novelists.  A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I
like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily--
against which a law ought to be passed.  A novel, according to my
taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some
person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all
the better.

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes
is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels
(independently of any scientific facts which they may contain),
and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever
they did.  My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for
grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why
this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain
alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive.  A
man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than
mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to
live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry
and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps
the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept
active through use.  The loss of these tastes is a loss of
happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and
more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional
part of our nature.

My books have sold largely in England, have been translated into
many languages, and passed through several editions in foreign
countries.  I have heard it said that the success of a work
abroad is the best test of its enduring value.  I doubt whether
this is at all trustworthy; but judged by this standard my name
ought to last for a few years.  Therefore it may be worth while
to try to analyse the mental qualities and the conditions on
which my success has depended; though I am aware that no man can
do this correctly.

I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so
remarkable in some clever men, for instance, Huxley.  I am
therefore a poor critic:  a paper or book, when first read,
generally excites my admiration, and it is only after
considerable reflection that I perceive the weak points.  My
power to follow a long and purely abstract train of thought is
very limited; and therefore I could never have succeeded with
metaphysics or mathematics.  My memory is extensive, yet hazy: 
it suffices to make me cautious by vaguely telling me that I have
observed or read something opposed to the conclusion which I am
drawing, or on the other hand in favour of it; and after a time I
can generally recollect where to search for my authority.  So
poor in one sense is my memory, that I have never been able to
remember for more than a few days a single date or a line of
poetry.

Some of my critics have said, "Oh, he is a good observer, but he
has no power of reasoning!"  I do not think that this can be
true, for the 'Origin of Species' is one long argument from the
beginning to the end, and it has convinced not a few able men. 
No one could have written it without having some power of
reasoning.  I have a fair share of invention, and of common sense
or judgment, such as every fairly successful lawyer or doctor
must have, but not, I believe, in any higher degree.

On the favourable side of the balance, I think that I am superior
to the common run of men in noticing things which easily escape
attention, and in observing them carefully.  My industry has been
nearly as great as it could have been in the observation and
collection of facts.  What is far more important, my love of
natural science has been steady and ardent.

This pure love has, however, been much aided by the ambition to
be esteemed by my fellow naturalists.  From my early youth I have
had the strongest desire to understand or explain whatever I
observed,--that is, to group all facts under some general laws. 
These causes combined have given me the patience to reflect or
ponder for any number of years over any unexplained problem.  As
far as I can judge, I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of
other men.  I have steadily endeavoured to keep my mind free so
as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot
resist forming one on every subject), as soon as facts are shown
to be opposed to it.  Indeed, I have had no choice but to act in
this manner, for with the exception of the Coral Reefs, I cannot
remember a single first-formed hypothesis which had not after a
time to be given up or greatly modified.  This has naturally led
me to distrust greatly deductive reasoning in the mixed sciences. 
On the other hand, I am not very sceptical,--a frame of mind
which I believe to be injurious to the progress of science.  A
good deal of scepticism in a scientific man is advisable to avoid
much loss of time, but I have met with not a few men, who, I feel
sure, have often thus been deterred from experiment or
observations, which would have proved directly or indirectly
serviceable.

In illustration, I will give the oddest case which I have known. 
A gentleman (who, as I afterwards heard, is a good local
botanist) wrote to me from the Eastern counties that the seed or
beans of the common field-bean had this year everywhere grown on
the wrong side of the pod.  I wrote back, asking for further
information, as I did not understand what was meant; but I did
not receive any answer for a very long time.  I then saw in two
newspapers, one published in Kent and the other in Yorkshire,
paragraphs stating that it was a most remarkable fact that "the
beans this year had all grown on the wrong side."  So I thought
there must be some foundation for so general a statement. 
Accordingly, I went to my gardener, an old Kentish man, and asked
him whether he had heard anything about it, and he answered, "Oh,
no, sir, it must be a mistake, for the beans grow on the wrong
side only on leap-year, and this is not leap-year."  I then asked
him how they grew in common years and how on leap-years, but soon
found that he knew absolutely nothing of how they grew at any
time, but he stuck to his belief.

After a time I heard from my first informant, who, with many
apologies, said that he should not have written to me had he not
heard the statement from several intelligent farmers; but that he
had since spoken again to every one of them, and not one knew in
the least what he had himself meant.  So that here a belief--if
indeed a statement with no definite idea attached to it can be
called a belief--had spread over almost the whole of England
without any vestige of evidence.

I have known in the course of my life only three intentionally
falsified statements, and one of these may have been a hoax (and
there have been several scientific hoaxes) which, however, took
in an American Agricultural Journal.  It related to the formation
in Holland of a new breed of oxen by the crossing of distinct
species of Bos (some of which I happen to know are sterile
together), and the author had the impudence to state that he had
corresponded with me, and that I had been deeply impressed with
the importance of his result.  The article was sent to me by the
editor of an English Agricultural Journal, asking for my opinion
before republishing it.

A second case was an account of several varieties, raised by the
author from several species of Primula, which had spontaneously
yielded a full complement of seed, although the parent plants had
been carefully protected from the access of insects.  This
account was published before I had discovered the meaning of
heterostylism, and the whole statement must have been fraudulent,
or there was neglect in excluding insects so gross as to be
scarcely credible.

The third case was more curious:  Mr. Huth published in his book
on 'Consanguineous Marriage' some long extracts from a Belgian
author, who stated that he had interbred rabbits in the closest
manner for very many generations, without the least injurious
effects.  The account was published in a most respectable
Journal, that of the Royal Society of Belgium; but I could not
avoid feeling doubts--I hardly know why, except that there were
no accidents of any kind, and my experience in breeding animals
made me think this very improbable.

So with much hesitation I wrote to Professor Van Beneden, asking
him whether the author was a trustworthy man.  I soon heard in
answer that the Society had been greatly shocked by discovering
that the whole account was a fraud.  (The falseness of the
published statements on which Mr. Huth relied has been pointed
out by himself in a slip inserted in all the copies of his book
which then remained unsold.)  The writer had been publicly
challenged in the Journal to say where he had resided and kept
his large stock of rabbits while carrying on his experiments,
which must have consumed several years, and no answer could be
extracted from him.

My habits are methodical, and this has been of not a little use
for my particular line of work.  Lastly, I have had ample leisure
from not having to earn my own bread.  Even ill-health, though it
has annihilated several years of my life, has saved me from the
distractions of society and amusement.

Therefore my success as a man of science, whatever this may have
amounted to, has been determined, as far as I can judge, by
complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions.  Of
these, the most important have been--the love of science--
unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject--industry
in observing and collecting facts--and a fair share of invention
as well as of common sense.  With such moderate abilities as I
possess, it is truly surprising that I should have influenced to
a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on some
important points.





End of The Project Gutenberg Etext The Autobiography of Charles Darwin


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