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Bromley, Kent dated by Darwin June 29 postmarked July 1, 1843 - Letter in manuscript, folded and addressed to Mr. Smith (George Murray Smith) of Smith & Elder at No. 65 Cornhill, London (His publisher at the time). Stamped and postmarked. Single sheet, approximately 18 x 23 cm, now handsomely presented with a photograph of Darwin in a fine 42 x 50 cm frame, glazed. A fine letter, beautifully preserved. A HANDSOMELY PRESERVED VERY EARLY AUTOGRAPH LETTER FROM CHARLES DARWIN, THE FATHER OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY. The letter is sent from Down House, at the time, Darwin's new home. He would live there the remainder of his life. Professionally this was the time in his career when Darwin was expanding his 1842 "pencil sketch" of his theory of natural selection into the 230-page 1844 "Essay", to be expanded with his research results if he died prematurely. He was seriously engaged at the time on his work and writing related to the voyage taken on the 'Beagle'. In the letter, Darwin inquires of his publisher about having papers sent to a professor in Massachusetts in the United States. The professor in Massachusetts is most likely Harvard University Professor of Botany Asa Gray, considered the most important American botanist of the 19th century. The two had met in 1839, apparently introduced by Joseph Dalton Hooker. Both Darwin and Gray had a similar empirical approach to life sciences and had a relationship and a continuum of correspondence that lasted for decades. Gray published the collection of essays which he named DARWINIANA. The articles defended the theory of evolution from the standpoint of botany and sought reconciliation with theology by arguing theistic evolution, that natural selection is not inconsistent with Natural Theology. Concerning his work and the papers probably sent to Professor Gray, ‘Darwin’s first published book is undoubtedly the most often read and stands second only to ‘On the Origin of Species’ as the most often printed. It is an important travel book in its own right and its relation to the background of his evolutionary ideas has often been stressed.(Freeman). ‘The five years of the voyage were the most important event in Darwin’s intellectual life and in the history of biological science. Darwin sailed with no formal scientific training. He returned a hard-headed man of science, knowing the importance of evidence, almost convinced that species had not always been as they were since the creation but had undergone change. The experiences of his five years.and what they led to, built up into a process of epoch-making importance in the history of thought’ (DSB) Of the great exploratory voyages, ‘a most important place is taken by the voyage of the ‘Beagle’ in 1831-1834.Darwin’s name is so associated with the evolutionary idea through which he profoundly influenced scientific, philosophical, political, religious, and ethical thought, that certain of his other claims are often forgotten. To appreciate his distinction, it is necessary to recall that, had he never written on evolution, he would still stand in the front rank among naturalists, and would have to be included in any history of science. Thus even during the voyage in the ‘Beagle’ he reached conclusions that modified and extended the fundamental working principles of geology and geophysics. In Darwin’s record of experience in the ‘Beagle’ in the famous ‘Journal of Researches’ (1839) a special interest attaches to his observations on the highly peculiar animals and plants connected with oceanic islands. The Galapagos and St. Helena are good examples. Their extraordinary wealth of peculiar forms and the difference of these from those of the nearest neighbouring land---either continental or insular---are among the most striking phenomena in the distribution of living things. They, more perhaps than any other, suggested to Darwin his solution of the problem of the origin of species.’ (Singer)
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc. ABAA]
Last Found On: 2016-04-23           Check availability:      IberLibro    


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