Charles Darwin

Darwin ALS, While Revising Origin of The Species, And Deflecting Social & Religious Adversity



Darwin ALS, While Revising Origin of The Species, And Deflecting Social and Religious Adversity

 

The period in history of this Darwin signed and autographed letter requires an understanding of England in 1860. Darwin had just lived through a time when seditious atheists were using evolution as part of their weaponry again Anglican oppression and were jailed for blasphemy. Yet Darwin persevered in his scientific studies and was developing his theory on the Origin of Man. These events were not accomplished in a peaceful state, as his outstanding theory wrought complete havoc with the societal beliefs of God and Religion, and all chaos erupted …

 

1859: On The Origin of Species by Means Of Natural Selection, or the Presevation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life is published in London on 24 November by John Murray

 

1860: Publishes 2nd Edition of Origin. Foreign editions appear. Begins work on Variation book

 

1861: Continued work on Variation book. Published 3rd edition of Origin

 

 

Condition: Bi-fold autograph letter signed, 4.75" x 8". Penned extensively  on all four sides. Dated to the front in Darwin's hand "Feb 9th", and docketed to verso "9th Feby, 1861". Signed by Darwin on bottom of the third page as "Chas R Darwin". Near fine with expected folds and strong contrasting ink.

 

Darwin’s theory of evolution was ground-breaking and came with controversy, from fellow scientific peers and the public, it wasn’t until 1859 that he publicly introduced his theory. This period was one of intense conflict over religious morality in England. Were his secret discovered, he would stand accused of social abandon. Censorship was the norm during that era,  and other materialists were being publicly disgraced. And to this concern, Darwin said that believing in evolution was “like confessing a murder.” Yet under this immense pressure with concerns over being accused of social abandon,  Darwin stayed on course, and in November 1859, published the first edition of his ground breaking theory "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection". For the following 3 plus years he continued to revise and edit it and continued experimenting and revamping the "Origin" through six editions. He still feared the worst and sent copies to the experts with self-effacing letters (“how you will long to crucify me alive”). It was like “living in Hell,” he said about those months. He received criticism for the implication that humans were descended from apes and drew opposition from religious groups. During the period of this letter, much Public debates and confrontations arose as the result of his ground breaking theory on the Origin of Man. The most famous confrontation took place at the public 1860 Oxford evolution debate during a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, when the Bishop of Oxford Samuel Wilberforce  argued against Darwin's explanation. In the ensuing debate arguments were strongly in favor of Darwinian evolution. Thomas Huxley's  support of evolution was so intense that the media and public nicknamed him "Darwin's bulldog". Huxley became the fiercest defender of the evolutionary theory on the Victorian stage. Both sides came away feeling victorious, but Huxley went on to depict the debate as pivotal in a struggle between religion and science and used Darwinism to campaign against the authority of the clergy in education, as well as daringly advocating the "Ape Origin of Man".

 

While Darwin was researching, studying and devising his theory, he also had become quite wealthy, and by the 1850 the Darwin's had £80,000 invested; and were absentee landlords of two large Lincolnshire farms.

 

This superb letter written by Darwin in the middle of this intense period of his life while writing and editing his masterpiece, discusses his financial investments, including his mortgages as an absentee landlord. He writes in part:

 

" You may perhaps remember that my Trustees lent Major Owen a mortgage £20,000, on August 19th, 1850 for five years at 3 3/4 per cent. I believe I agreed on August 1855 to lend on to … interest for a second five years… if my memory is correct, this term was up last August.- Now if you would be so good as to give me your advice firstly whether 3 3/4 is a fair and sufficient with interest to ask, and secondly where I might not to ask for a fresh agreement for a certain period of years- Otherwise whenever the general rate of interest falls, I may be suddenly asked to reduce it for a new term. I will however be guided by your advice …"

 

An incredible letter from perhaps the most climatic point in Darwin's life. Darwin’s theory has been the basis for modern theory of evolution since its publication.

 
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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
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