CoCalc Public Fileswww / ebooks / darwin.txt
Author: William A. Stein
1Etext of The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
2by Charles Darwin
3
4
5The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
6
7From The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin
8
9Edited by his Son
10
11Francis Darwin
12
13
14
15[My father's autobiographical recollections, given in the present
16chapter, were written for his children,--and written without any
17thought that they would ever be published.  To many this may seem
18an impossibility; but those who knew my father will understand
19how it was not only possible, but natural.  The autobiography
20bears the heading, 'Recollections of the Development of my Mind
21and Character,' and end with the following note:--"Aug. 3, 1876.
22This sketch of my life was begun about May 28th at Hopedene (Mr.
23Hensleigh Wedgwood's house in Surrey.), and since then I have
24written for nearly an hour on most afternoons."  It will easily
25be understood that, in a narrative of a personal and intimate
26kind written for his wife and children, passages should occur
27which must here be omitted; and I have not thought it necessary
28to indicate where such omissions are made.  It has been found
29necessary to make a few corrections of obvious verbal slips, but
30the number of such alterations has been kept down to the
31minimum.--F.D.]
32
33
34A German Editor having written to me for an account of the
35development of my mind and character with some sketch of my
36autobiography, I have thought that the attempt would amuse me,
37and might possibly interest my children or their children.  I
38know that it would have interested me greatly to have read even
39so short and dull a sketch of the mind of my grandfather, written
40by himself, and what he thought and did, and how he worked.  I
41have attempted to write the following account of myself, as if I
42were a dead man in another world looking back at my own life.
43Nor have I found this difficult, for life is nearly over with me.
44I have taken no pains about my style of writing.
45
46I was born at Shrewsbury on February 12th, 1809, and my earliest
47recollection goes back only to when I was a few months over four
48years old, when we went to near Abergele for sea-bathing, and I
49recollect some events and places there with some little
50distinctness.
51
52My mother died in July 1817, when I was a little over eight years
53old, and it is odd that I can remember hardly anything about her
54except her death-bed, her black velvet gown, and her curiously
55constructed work-table.  In the spring of this same year I was
56sent to a day-school in Shrewsbury, where I stayed a year.  I
57have been told that I was much slower in learning than my younger
58sister Catherine, and I believe that I was in many ways a naughty
59boy.
60
61By the time I went to this day-school (Kept by Rev. G. Case,
62minister of the Unitarian Chapel in the High Street.  Mrs. Darwin
63was a Unitarian and attended Mr. Case's chapel, and my father as
64a little boy went there with his elder sisters.  But both he and
65his brother were christened and intended to belong to the Church
66of England; and after his early boyhood he seems usually to have
67gone to church and not to Mr. Case's.  It appears ("St. James'
68Gazette", Dec. 15, 1883) that a mural tablet has been erected to
69his memory in the chapel, which is now known as the 'Free
70Christian Church.') my taste for natural history, and more
71especially for collecting, was well developed.  I tried to make
72out the names of plants (Rev. W.A. Leighton, who was a
73schoolfellow of my father's at Mr. Case's school, remembers his
74bringing a flower to school and saying that his mother had taught
75him how by looking at the inside of the blossom the name of the
76plant could be discovered.  Mr. Leighton goes on, "This greatly
77roused my attention and curiosity, and I enquired of him
78repeatedly how this could be done?"--but his lesson was naturally
79enough not transmissible.--F.D.), and collected all sorts of
80things, shells, seals, franks, coins, and minerals.  The passion
81for collecting which leads a man to be a systematic naturalist, a
82virtuoso, or a miser, was very strong in me, and was clearly
83innate, as none of my sisters or brother ever had this taste.
84
85One little event during this year has fixed itself very firmly in
86my mind, and I hope that it has done so from my conscience having
87been afterwards sorely troubled by it; it is curious as showing
88that apparently I was interested at this early age in the
89variability of plants!  I told another little boy (I believe it
90was Leighton, who afterwards became a well-known lichenologist
91and botanist), that I could produce variously coloured
92polyanthuses and primroses by watering them with certain coloured
93fluids, which was of course a monstrous fable, and had never been
94tried by me.  I may here also confess that as a little boy I was
95much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, and this was
96always done for the sake of causing excitement.  For instance, I
97once gathered much valuable fruit from my father's trees and hid
98it in the shrubbery, and then ran in breathless haste to spread
99the news that I had discovered a hoard of stolen fruit.
100
101I must have been a very simple little fellow when I first went to
102the school.  A boy of the name of Garnett took me into a cake
103shop one day, and bought some cakes for which he did not pay, as
104the shopman trusted him.  When we came out I asked him why he did
105not pay for them, and he instantly answered, "Why, do you not
106know that my uncle left a great sum of money to the town on
107condition that every tradesman should give whatever was wanted
108without payment to any one who wore his old hat and moved [it] in
109a particular manner?" and he then showed me how it was moved.  He
110then went into another shop where he was trusted, and asked for
111some small article, moving his hat in the proper manner, and of
112course obtained it without payment.  When we came out he said,
113"Now if you like to go by yourself into that cake-shop (how well
114I remember its exact position) I will lend you my hat, and you
115can get whatever you like if you move the hat on your head
116properly."  I gladly accepted the generous offer, and went in and
117asked for some cakes, moved the old hat and was walking out of
118the shop, when the shopman made a rush at me, so I dropped the
119cakes and ran for dear life, and was astonished by being greeted
120with shouts of laughter by my false friend Garnett.
121
122I can say in my own favour that I was as a boy humane, but I owed
123this entirely to the instruction and example of my sisters.  I
124doubt indeed whether humanity is a natural or innate quality.  I
125was very fond of collecting eggs, but I never took more than a
126single egg out of a bird's nest, except on one single occasion,
127when I took all, not for their value, but from a sort of bravado.
128
129I had a strong taste for angling, and would sit for any number of
130hours on the bank of a river or pond watching the float; when at
131Maer (The house of his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood.) I was told that I
132could kill the worms with salt and water, and from that day I
133never spitted a living worm, though at the expense probably of
134some loss of success.
135
136Once as a very little boy whilst at the day school, or before
137that time, I acted cruelly, for I beat a puppy, I believe, simply
138from enjoying the sense of power; but the beating could not have
139been severe, for the puppy did not howl, of which I feel sure, as
140the spot was near the house.  This act lay heavily on my
141conscience, as is shown by my remembering the exact spot where
142the crime was committed.  It probably lay all the heavier from my
143love of dogs being then, and for a long time afterwards, a
144passion.  Dogs seemed to know this, for I was an adept in robbing
145their love from their masters.
146
147I remember clearly only one other incident during this year
148whilst at Mr. Case's daily school,--namely, the burial of a
149dragoon soldier; and it is surprising how clearly I can still see
150the horse with the man's empty boots and carbine suspended to the
151saddle, and the firing over the grave.  This scene deeply stirred
152whatever poetic fancy there was in me.
153
154In the summer of 1818 I went to Dr. Butler's great school in
155Shrewsbury, and remained there for seven years still Midsummer
1561825, when I was sixteen years old.  I boarded at this school, so
157that I had the great advantage of living the life of a true
158schoolboy; but as the distance was hardly more than a mile to my
159home, I very often ran there in the longer intervals between the
160callings over and before locking up at night.  This, I think, was
161in many ways advantageous to me by keeping up home affections and
162interests.  I remember in the early part of my school life that I
163often had to run very quickly to be in time, and from being a
164fleet runner was generally successful; but when in doubt I prayed
165earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I
166attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running,
167and marvelled how generally I was aided.
168
169I have heard my father and elder sister say that I had, as a very
170young boy, a strong taste for long solitary walks; but what I
171thought about I know not.  I often became quite absorbed, and
172once, whilst returning to school on the summit of the old
173fortifications round Shrewsbury, which had been converted into a
174public foot-path with no parapet on one side, I walked off and
175fell to the ground, but the height was only seven or eight feet.
176Nevertheless the number of thoughts which passed through my mind
177during this very short, but sudden and wholly unexpected fall,
178was astonishing, and seem hardly compatible with what
179physiologists have, I believe, proved about each thought
180requiring quite an appreciable amount of time.
181
182Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than
183Dr. Butler's school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else
184being taught, except a little ancient geography and history.  The
185school as a means of education to me was simply a blank.  During
186my whole life I have been singularly incapable of mastering any
187language.  Especial attention was paid to verse-making, and this
188I could never do well.  I had many friends, and got together a
189good collection of old verses, which by patching together,
190sometimes aided by other boys, I could work into any subject.
191Much attention was paid to learning by heart the lessons of the
192previous day; this I could effect with great facility, learning
193forty or fifty lines of Virgil or Homer, whilst I was in morning
194chapel; but this exercise was utterly useless, for every verse
195was forgotten in forty-eight hours.  I was not idle, and with the
196exception of versification, generally worked conscientiously at
197my classics, not using cribs.  The sole pleasure I ever received
198from such studies, was from some of the odes of Horace, which I
200
201When I left the school I was for my age neither high nor low in
202it; and I believe that I was considered by all my masters and by
203my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common
204standard in intellect.  To my deep mortification my father once
205said to me, "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-
206catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your
207family."  But my father, who was the kindest man I ever knew and
208whose memory I love with all my heart, must have been angry and
209somewhat unjust when he used such words.
210
211Looking back as well as I can at my character during my school
212life, the only qualities which at this period promised well for
213the future, were, that I had strong and diversified tastes, much
214zeal for whatever interested me, and a keen pleasure in
215understanding any complex subject or thing.  I was taught Euclid
216by a private tutor, and I distinctly remember the intense
217satisfaction which the clear geometrical proofs gave me.  I
218remember, with equal distinctness, the delight which my uncle
219gave me (the father of Francis Galton) by explaining the
220principle of the vernier of a barometer.  with respect to
221diversified tastes, independently of science, I was fond of
222reading various books, and I used to sit for hours reading the
223historical plays of Shakespeare, generally in an old window in
224the thick walls of the school.  I read also other poetry, such as
225Thomson's 'Seasons,' and the recently published poems of Byron
226and Scott.  I mention this because later in life I wholly lost,
227to my great regret, all pleasure from poetry of any kind,
228including Shakespeare.  In connection with pleasure from poetry,
229I may add that in 1822 a vivid delight in scenery was first
230awakened in my mind, during a riding tour on the borders of
231Wales, and this has lasted longer than any other aesthetic
232pleasure.
233
234Early in my school days a boy had a copy of the 'Wonders of the
236the veracity of some of the statements; and I believe that this
237book first gave me a wish to travel in remote countries, which
238was ultimately fulfilled by the voyage of the "Beagle".  In the
239latter part of my school life I became passionately fond of
240shooting; I do not believe that any one could have shown more
241zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds.  How
242well I remember killing my first snipe, and my excitement was so
244trembling of my hands.  This taste long continued, and I became a
245very good shot.  When at Cambridge I used to practise throwing up
246my gun to my shoulder before a looking-glass to see that I threw
247it up straight.  Another and better plan was to get a friend to
248wave about a lighted candle, and then to fire at it with a cap on
249the nipple, and if the aim was accurate the little puff of air
250would blow out the candle.  The explosion of the cap caused a
251sharp crack, and I was told that the tutor of the college
252remarked, "What an extraordinary thing it is, Mr. Darwin seems to
253spend hours in cracking a horse-whip in his room, for I often
254hear the crack when I pass under his windows."
255
256I had many friends amongst the schoolboys, whom I loved dearly,
257and I think that my disposition was then very affectionate.
258
259With respect to science, I continued collecting minerals with
260much zeal, but quite unscientifically--all that I cared about was
261a new-NAMED mineral, and I hardly attempted to classify them.  I
262must have observed insects with some little care, for when ten
263years old (1819) I went for three weeks to Plas Edwards on the
264sea-coast in Wales, I was very much interested and surprised at
265seeing a large black and scarlet Hemipterous insect, many moths
267almost made up my mind to begin collecting all the insects which
268I could find dead, for on consulting my sister I concluded that
269it was not right to kill insects for the sake of making a
270collection.  From reading White's 'Selborne,' I took much
271pleasure in watching the habits of birds, and even made notes on
272the subject.  In my simplicity I remember wondering why every
273gentleman did not become an ornithologist.
274
275Towards the close of my school life, my brother worked hard at
276chemistry, and made a fair laboratory with proper apparatus in
277the tool-house in the garden, and I was allowed to aid him as a
278servant in most of his experiments.  He made all the gases and
279many compounds, and I read with great care several books on
280chemistry, such as Henry and Parkes' 'Chemical Catechism.'  The
281subject interested me greatly, and we often used to go on working
282till rather late at night.  This was the best part of my
283education at school, for it showed me practically the meaning of
284experimental science.  The fact that we worked at chemistry
285somehow got known at school, and as it was an unprecedented fact,
286I was nicknamed "Gas."  I was also once publicly rebuked by the
287head-master, Dr. Butler, for thus wasting my time on such useless
288subjects; and he called me very unjustly a "poco curante," and as
289I did not understand what he meant, it seemed to me a fearful
290reproach.
291
292As I was doing no good at school, my father wisely took me away
293at a rather earlier age than usual, and sent me (Oct. 1825) to
294Edinburgh University with my brother, where I stayed for two
295years or sessions.  My brother was completing his medical
296studies, though I do not believe he ever really intended to
297practise, and I was sent there to commence them.  But soon after
298this period I became convinced from various small circumstances
299that my father would leave me property enough to subsist on with
300some comfort, though I never imagined that I should be so rich a
301man as I am; but my belief was sufficient to check any strenuous
302efforts to learn medicine.
303
304The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and
305these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on
306chemistry by Hope; but to my mind there are no advantages and
308Duncan's lectures on Materia Medica at 8 o'clock on a winter's
309morning are something fearful to remember.  Dr.-- made his
310lectures on human anatomy as dull as he was himself, and the
311subject disgusted me.  It has proved one of the greatest evils in
312my life that I was not urged to practise dissection, for I should
313soon have got over my disgust; and the practice would have been
314invaluable for all my future work.  This has been an irremediable
315evil, as well as my incapacity to draw.  I also attended
316regularly the clinical wards in the hospital.  Some of the cases
317distressed me a good deal, and I still have vivid pictures before
318me of some of them; but I was not so foolish as to allow this to
319lessen my attendance.  I cannot understand why this part of my
320medical course did not interest me in a greater degree; for
321during the summer before coming to Edinburgh I began attending
322some of the poor people, chiefly children and women in
323Shrewsbury:  I wrote down as full an account as I could of the
324case with all the symptoms, and read them aloud to my father, who
325suggested further inquiries and advised me what medicines to
326give, which I made up myself.  At one time I had at least a dozen
327patients, and I felt a keen interest in the work.  My father, who
328was by far the best judge of character whom I ever knew, declared
329that I should make a successful physician,--meaning by this one
330who would get many patients.  He maintained that the chief
331element of success was exciting confidence; but what he saw in me
332which convinced him that I should create confidence I know not.
333I also attended on two occasions the operating theatre in the
334hospital at Edinburgh, and saw two very bad operations, one on a
335child, but I rushed away before they were completed.  Nor did I
336ever attend again, for hardly any inducement would have been
337strong enough to make me do so; this being long before the
338blessed days of chloroform.  The two cases fairly haunted me for
339many a long year.
340
341My brother stayed only one year at the University, so that during
342the second year I was left to my own resources; and this was an
343advantage, for I became well acquainted with several young men
344fond of natural science.  One of these was Ainsworth, who
345afterwards published his travels in Assyria; he was a Wernerian
346geologist, and knew a little about many subjects.  Dr. Coldstream
347was a very different young man, prim, formal, highly religious,
348and most kind-hearted; he afterwards published some good
349zoological articles.  A third young man was Hardie, who would, I
350think, have made a good botanist, but died early in India.
351Lastly, Dr. Grant, my senior by several years, but how I became
352acquainted with him I cannot remember; he published some first-
353rate zoological papers, but after coming to London as Professor
354in University College, he did nothing more in science, a fact
355which has always been inexplicable to me.  I knew him well; he
356was dry and formal in manner, with much enthusiasm beneath this
357outer crust.  He one day, when we were walking together, burst
358forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on evolution.
359I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I can judge
361'Zoonomia' of my grandfather, in which similar views are
362maintained, but without producing any effect on me.  Nevertheless
363it is probable that the hearing rather early in life such views
364maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under
365a different form in my 'Origin of Species.'  At this time I
367after an interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much
368disappointed; the proportion of speculation being so large to the
369facts given.
370
371Drs. Grant and Coldstream attended much to marine Zoology, and I
372often accompanied the former to collect animals in the tidal
373pools, which I dissected as well as I could.  I also became
374friends with some of the Newhaven fishermen, and sometimes
375accompanied them when they trawled for oysters, and thus got many
376specimens.  But from not having had any regular practice in
377dissection, and from possessing only a wretched microscope, my
378attempts were very poor.  Nevertheless I made one interesting
380a short paper on the subject before the Plinian Society.  This
381was that the so-called ova of Flustra had the power of
382independent movement by means of cilia, and were in fact larvae.
383In another short paper I showed that the little globular bodies
384which had been supposed to be the young state of Fucus loreus
385were the egg-cases of the wormlike Pontobdella muricata.
386
387The Plinian Society was encouraged and, I believe, founded by
388Professor Jameson:  it consisted of students and met in an
389underground room in the University for the sake of reading papers
390on natural science and discussing them.  I used regularly to
391attend, and the meetings had a good effect on me in stimulating
392my zeal and giving me new congenial acquaintances.  One evening a
393poor young man got up, and after stammering for a prodigious
394length of time, blushing crimson, he at last slowly got out the
395words, "Mr. President, I have forgotten what I was going to say."
396The poor fellow looked quite overwhelmed, and all the members
397were so surprised that no one could think of a word to say to
398cover his confusion.  The papers which were read to our little
399society were not printed, so that I had not the satisfaction of
400seeing my paper in print; but I believe Dr. Grant noticed my
401small discovery in his excellent memoir on Flustra.
402
403I was also a member of the Royal Medical Society, and attended
404pretty regularly; but as the subjects were exclusively medical, I
405did not much care about them.  Much rubbish was talked there, but
406there were some good speakers, of whom the best was the present
407Sir J. Kay-Shuttleworth.  Dr. Grant took me occasionally to the
408meetings of the Wernerian Society, where various papers on
409natural history were read, discussed, and afterwards published in
410the 'Transactions.'  I heard Audubon deliver there some
411interesting discourses on the habits of N. American birds,
412sneering somewhat unjustly at Waterton.  By the way, a negro
413lived in Edinburgh, who had travelled with Waterton, and gained
414his livelihood by stuffing birds, which he did excellently:  he
415gave me lessons for payment, and I used often to sit with him,
416for he was a very pleasant and intelligent man.
417
418Mr. Leonard Horner also took me once to a meeting of the Royal
419Society of Edinburgh, where I saw Sir Walter Scott in the chair
420as President, and he apologised to the meeting as not feeling
421fitted for such a position.  I looked at him and at the whole
422scene with some awe and reverence, and I think it was owing to
423this visit during my youth, and to my having attended the Royal
424Medical Society, that I felt the honour of being elected a few
425years ago an honorary member of both these Societies, more than
426any other similar honour.  If I had been told at that time that I
427should one day have been thus honoured, I declare that I should
428have thought it as ridiculous and improbable, as if I had been
429told that I should be elected King of England.
430
431During my second year at Edinburgh I attended --'s lectures on
432Geology and Zoology, but they were incredibly dull.  The sole
433effect they produced on me was the determination never as long as
434I lived to read a book on Geology, or in any way to study the
435science.  Yet I feel sure that I was prepared for a philosophical
436treatment of the subject; for an old Mr. Cotton in Shropshire,
437who knew a good deal about rocks, had pointed out to me two or
438three years previously a well-known large erratic boulder in the
439town of Shrewsbury, called the "bell-stone"; he told me that
440there was no rock of the same kind nearer than Cumberland or
441Scotland, and he solemnly assured me that the world would come to
442an end before any one would be able to explain how this stone
443came where it now lay.  This produced a deep impression on me,
444and I meditated over this wonderful stone.  So that I felt the
445keenest delight when I first read of the action of icebergs in
446transporting boulders, and I gloried in the progress of Geology.
447Equally striking is the fact that I, though now only sixty-seven
448years old, heard the Professor, in a field lecture at Salisbury
449Craigs, discoursing on a trapdyke, with amygdaloidal margins and
450the strata indurated on each side, with volcanic rocks all around
451us, say that it was a fissure filled with sediment from above,
452adding with a sneer that there were men who maintained that it
453had been injected from beneath in a molten condition.  When I
454think of this lecture, I do not wonder that I determined never to
455attend to Geology.
456
457>From attending --'s lectures, I became acquainted with the
458curator of the museum, Mr. Macgillivray, who afterwards published
459a large and excellent book on the birds of Scotland.  I had much
460interesting natural-history talk with him, and he was very kind
461to me.  He gave me some rare shells, for I at that time collected
462marine mollusca, but with no great zeal.
463
464My summer vacations during these two years were wholly given up
465to amusements, though I always had some book in hand, which I
466read with interest.  During the summer of 1826 I took a long
467walking tour with two friends with knapsacks on our backs through
468North wales.  We walked thirty miles most days, including one day
469the ascent of Snowdon.  I also went with my sister a riding tour
470in North Wales, a servant with saddle-bags carrying our clothes.
471The autumns were devoted to shooting chiefly at Mr. Owen's, at
472Woodhouse, and at my Uncle Jos's (Josiah Wedgwood, the son of the
473founder of the Etruria Works.) at Maer.  My zeal was so great
474that I used to place my shooting-boots open by my bed-side when I
475went to bed, so as not to lose half a minute in putting them on
476in the morning; and on one occasion I reached a distant part of
477the Maer estate, on the 20th of August for black-game shooting,
478before I could see:  I then toiled on with the game-keeper the
479whole day through thick heath and young Scotch firs.
480
481I kept an exact record of every bird which I shot throughout the
482whole season.  One day when shooting at Woodhouse with Captain
483Owen, the eldest son, and Major Hill, his cousin, afterwards Lord
484Berwick, both of whom I liked very much, I thought myself
485shamefully used, for every time after I had fired and thought
487gun, and cried out, "You must not count that bird, for I fired at
488the same time," and the gamekeeper, perceiving the joke, backed
489them up.  After some hours they told me the joke, but it was no
490joke to me, for I had shot a large number of birds, but did not
491know how many, and could not add them to my list, which I used to
492do by making a knot in a piece of string tied to a button-hole.
493This my wicked friends had perceived.
494
495How I did enjoy shooting!  But I think that I must have been
496half-consciously ashamed of my zeal, for I tried to persuade
497myself that shooting was almost an intellectual employment; it
498required so much skill to judge where to find most game and to
499hunt the dogs well.
500
501One of my autumnal visits to Maer in 1827 was memorable from
502meeting there Sir J. Mackintosh, who was the best converser I
503ever listened to.  I heard afterwards with a glow of pride that
504he had said, "There is something in that young man that interests
505me."  This must have been chiefly due to his perceiving that I
506listened with much interest to everything which he said, for I
507was as ignorant as a pig about his subjects of history, politics,
508and moral philosophy.  To hear of praise from an eminent person,
509though no doubt apt or certain to excite vanity, is, I think,
510good for a young man, as it helps to keep him in the right
511course.
512
513My visits to Maer during these two or three succeeding years were
514quite delightful, independently of the autumnal shooting.  Life
515there was perfectly free; the country was very pleasant for
516walking or riding; and in the evening there was much very
517agreeable conversation, not so personal as it generally is in
518large family parties, together with music.  In the summer the
519whole family used often to sit on the steps of the old portico,
520with the flower-garden in front, and with the steep wooded bank
521opposite the house reflected in the lake, with here and there a
523more vivid picture on my mind than these evenings at Maer.  I was
524also attached to and greatly revered my Uncle Jos; he was silent
525and reserved, so as to be a rather awful man; but he sometimes
526talked openly with me.  He was the very type of an upright man,
527with the clearest judgment.  I do not believe that any power on
528earth could have made him swerve an inch from what he considered
529the right course.  I used to apply to him in my mind the well-
530known ode of Horace, now forgotten by me, in which the words "nec
531vultus tyranni, etc.," come in.
532(Justum et tenacem propositi virum
533Non civium ardor prava jubentium
534Non vultus instantis tyranni
535Mente quatit solida.)
536
537CAMBRIDGE 1828-1831.
538
539After having spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father
540perceived, or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the
541thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become
542a clergyman.  He was very properly vehement against my turning
543into an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable
544destination.  I asked for some time to consider, as from what
546declaring my belief in all the dogmas of the Church of England;
547though otherwise I liked the thought of being a country
548clergyman.  Accordingly I read with care 'Pearson on the Creed,'
549and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the
550least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the
551Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully
552accepted.
553
554Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the orthodox, it
555seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergyman.  Nor was
556this intention and my father's wish ever formerly given up, but
557died a natural death when, on leaving Cambridge, I joined the
558"Beagle" as naturalist.  If the phrenologists are to be trusted,
559I was well fitted in one respect to be a clergyman.  A few years
560ago the secretaries of a German psychological society asked me
561earnestly by letter for a photograph of myself; and some time
562afterwards I received the proceedings of one of the meetings, in
563which it seemed that the shape of my head had been the subject of
564a public discussion, and one of the speakers declared that I had
565the bump of reverence developed enough for ten priests.
566
567As it was decided that I should be a clergyman, it was necessary
568that I should go to one of the English universities and take a
569degree; but as I had never opened a classical book since leaving
570school, I found to my dismay, that in the two intervening years I
571had actually forgotten, incredible as it may appear, almost
572everything which I had learnt, even to some few of the Greek
573letters.  I did not therefore proceed to Cambridge at the usual
574time in October, but worked with a private tutor in Shrewsbury,
575and went to Cambridge after the Christmas vacation, early in
5761828.  I soon recovered my school standard of knowledge, and
577could translate easy Greek books, such as Homer and the Greek
578Testament, with moderate facility.
579
580During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was
581wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned, as
582completely as at Edinburgh and at school.  I attempted
583mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a
584private tutor (a very dull man) to Barmouth, but I got on very
585slowly.  The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being
586able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra.  This
587impatience was very foolish, and in after years I have deeply
588regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to
589understand something of the great leading principles of
590mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.
591But I do not believe that I should ever have succeeded beyond a
592very low grade.  With respect to Classics I did nothing except
593attend a few compulsory college lectures, and the attendance was
594almost nominal.  In my second year I had to work for a month or
595two to pass the Little-Go, which I did easily. Again, in my last
596year I worked with some earnestness for my final degree of B.A.,
597and brushed up my Classics, together with a little Algebra and
598Euclid, which latter gave me much pleasure, as it did at school.
599In order to pass the B.A. examination, it was also necessary to
600get up Paley's 'Evidences of Christianity,' and his 'Moral
601Philosophy.'  This was done in a thorough manner, and I am
602convinced that I could have written out the whole of the
603'Evidences' with perfect correctness, but not of course in the
604clear language of Paley.  The logic of this book and, as I may
605add, of his 'Natural Theology,' gave me as much delight as did
606Euclid.  The careful study of these works, without attempting to
607learn any part by rote, was the only part of the academical
608course which, as I then felt and as I still believe, was of the
609least use to me in the education of my mind.  I did not at that
610time trouble myself about Paley's premises; and taking these on
611trust, I was charmed and convinced by the long line of
612argumentation.  By answering well the examination questions in
613Paley, by doing Euclid well, and by not failing miserably in
614Classics, I gained a good place among the oi polloi or crowd of
615men who do not go in for honours.  Oddly enough, I cannot
616remember how high I stood, and my memory fluctuates between the
617fifth, tenth, or twelfth, name on the list.  (Tenth in the list
618of January 1831.)
619
620Public lectures on several branches were given in the University,
621attendance being quite voluntary; but I was so sickened with
622lectures at Edinburgh that I did not even attend Sedgwick's
623eloquent and interesting lectures.  Had I done so I should
624probably have become a geologist earlier than I did.  I attended,
625however, Henslow's lectures on Botany, and liked them much for
626their extreme clearness, and the admirable illustrations; but I
627did not study botany.  Henslow used to take his pupils, including
628several of the older members of the University, field excursions,
629on foot or in coaches, to distant places, or in a barge down the
630river, and lectured on the rarer plants and animals which were
631observed.  These excursions were delightful.
632
633Although, as we shall presently see, there were some redeeming
634features in my life at Cambridge, my time was sadly wasted there,
635and worse than wasted.  From my passion for shooting and for
636hunting, and, when this failed, for riding across country, I got
637into a sporting set, including some dissipated low-minded young
638men.  We used often to dine together in the evening, though these
639dinners often included men of a higher stamp, and we sometimes
640drank too much, with jolly singing and playing at cards
641afterwards.  I know that I ought to feel ashamed of days and
642evenings thus spent, but as some of my friends were very
643pleasant, and we were all in the highest spirits, I cannot help
644looking back to these times with much pleasure.
645
646But I am glad to think that I had many other friends of a widely
647different nature.  I was very intimate with Whitley (Rev. C.
648Whitley, Hon. Canon of Durham, formerly Reader in Natural
649Philosophy in Durham University.), who was afterwards Senior
650Wrangler, and we used continually to take long walks together.
651He inoculated me with a taste for pictures and good engravings,
652of which I bought some.  I frequently went to the Fitzwilliam
653Gallery, and my taste must have been fairly good, for I certainly
654admired the best pictures, which I discussed with the old
655curator.  I read also with much interest Sir Joshua Reynolds'
656book.  This taste, though not natural to me, lasted for several
657years, and many of the pictures in the National Gallery in London
658gave me much pleasure; that of Sebastian del Piombo exciting in
659me a sense of sublimity.
660
661I also got into a musical set, I believe by means of my warm-
662hearted friend, Herbert (The late John Maurice Herbert, County
663Court Judge of Cardiff and the Monmouth Circuit.), who took a
664high wrangler's degree.  From associating with these men, and
665hearing them play, I acquired a strong taste for music, and used
666very often to time my walks so as to hear on week days the anthem
667in King's College Chapel.  This gave me intense pleasure, so that
668my backbone would sometimes shiver.  I am sure that there was no
669affectation or mere imitation in this taste, for I used generally
670to go by myself to King's College, and I sometimes hired the
671chorister boys to sing in my rooms.  Nevertheless I am so utterly
672destitute of an ear, that I cannot perceive a discord, or keep
673time and hum a tune correctly; and it is a mystery how I could
674possibly have derived pleasure from music.
675
676My musical friends soon perceived my state, and sometimes amused
677themselves by making me pass an examination, which consisted in
678ascertaining how many tunes I could recognise when they were
679played rather more quickly or slowly than usual.  'God save the
680King,' when thus played, was a sore puzzle.  There was another
681man with almost as bad an ear as I had, and strange to say he
682played a little on the flute.  Once I had the triumph of beating
683him in one of our musical examinations.
684
685But no pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so much
686eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting beetles.  It
687was the mere passion for collecting, for I did not dissect them,
688and rarely compared their external characters with published
689descriptions, but got them named anyhow.  I will give a proof of
690my zeal:  one day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare
691beetles, and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new
692kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one
693which I held in my right hand into my mouth.  Alas! it ejected
694some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was
695forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third
696one.
697
698I was very successful in collecting, and invented two new
699methods; I employed a labourer to scrape during the winter, moss
700off old trees and place it in a large bag, and likewise to
701collect the rubbish at the bottom of the barges in which reeds
702are brought from the fens, and thus I got some very rare species.
703No poet ever felt more delighted at seeing his first poem
704published than I did at seeing, in Stephens' 'Illustrations of
705British Insects,' the magic words, "captured by C. Darwin, Esq."
706I was introduced to entomology by my second cousin W. Darwin Fox,
707a clever and most pleasant man, who was then at Christ's College,
708and with whom I became extremely intimate.  Afterwards I became
709well acquainted, and went out collecting, with Albert Way of
710Trinity, who in after years became a well-known archaeologist;
711also with H. Thompson of the same College, afterwards a leading
712agriculturist, chairman of a great railway, and Member of
713Parliament.  It seems therefore that a taste for collecting
714beetles is some indication of future success in life!
715
716I am surprised what an indelible impression many of the beetles
717which I caught at Cambridge have left on my mind.  I can remember
718the exact appearance of certain posts, old trees and banks where
719I made a good capture.  The pretty Panagaeus crux-major was a
720treasure in those days, and here at Down I saw a beetle running
721across a walk, and on picking it up instantly perceived that it
722differed slightly from P. crux-major, and it turned out to be P.
723quadripunctatus, which is only a variety or closely allied
724species, differing from it very slightly in outline.  I had never
725seen in those old days Licinus alive, which to an uneducated eye
726hardly differs from many of the black Carabidous beetles; but my
727sons found here a specimen, and I instantly recognised that it
728was new to me; yet I had not looked at a British beetle for the
729last twenty years.
730
731I have not as yet mentioned a circumstance which influenced my
732whole career more than any other.  This was my friendship with
733Professor Henslow.  Before coming up to Cambridge, I had heard of
734him from my brother as a man who knew every branch of science,
735and I was accordingly prepared to reverence him.  He kept open
736house once every week when all undergraduates, and some older
737members of the University, who were attached to science, used to
738meet in the evening.  I soon got, through Fox, an invitation, and
739went there regularly.  Before long I became well acquainted with
740Henslow, and during the latter half of my time at Cambridge took
741long walks with him on most days; so that I was called by some of
742the dons "the man who walks with Henslow;" and in the evening I
743was very often asked to join his family dinner.  His knowledge
744was great in botany, entomology, chemistry, mineralogy, and
745geology.  His strongest taste was to draw conclusions from long-
746continued minute observations.  His judgment was excellent, and
747his whole mind well balanced; but I do not suppose that any one
748would say that he possessed much original genius.  He was deeply
749religious, and so orthodox that he told me one day he should be
750grieved if a single word of the Thirty-nine Articles were
751altered.  His moral qualities were in every way admirable.  He
752was free from every tinge of vanity or other petty feeling; and I
753never saw a man who thought so little about himself or his own
754concerns.  His temper was imperturbably good, with the most
755winning and courteous manners; yet, as I have seen, he could be
756roused by any bad action to the warmest indignation and prompt
757action.
758
759I once saw in his company in the streets of Cambridge almost as
760horrid a scene as could have been witnessed during the French
761Revolution.  Two body-snatchers had been arrested, and whilst
762being taken to prison had been torn from the constable by a crowd
763of the roughest men, who dragged them by their legs along the
764muddy and stony road.  They were covered from head to foot with
765mud, and their faces were bleeding either from having been kicked
766or from the stones; they looked like corpses, but the crowd was
767so dense that I got only a few momentary glimpses of the wretched
768creatures.  Never in my life have I seen such wrath painted on a
769man's face as was shown by Henslow at this horrid scene.  He
770tried repeatedly to penetrate the mob; but it was simply
771impossible.  He then rushed away to the mayor, telling me not to
772follow him, but to get more policemen.  I forget the issue,
773except that the two men were got into the prison without being
774killed.
775
776Henslow's benevolence was unbounded, as he proved by his many
777excellent schemes for his poor parishioners, when in after years
778he held the living of Hitcham.  My intimacy with such a man ought
779to have been, and I hope was, an inestimable benefit.  I cannot
780resist mentioning a trifling incident, which showed his kind
781consideration.  Whilst examining some pollen-grains on a damp
782surface, I saw the tubes exserted, and instantly rushed off to
783communicate my surprising discovery to him.  Now I do not suppose
784any other professor of botany could have helped laughing at my
785coming in such a hurry to make such a communication.  But he
786agreed how interesting the phenomenon was, and explained its
787meaning, but made me clearly understand how well it was known; so
788I left him not in the least mortified, but well pleased at having
789discovered for myself so remarkable a fact, but determined not to
790be in such a hurry again to communicate my discoveries.
791
792Dr. Whewell was one of the older and distinguished men who
793sometimes visited Henslow, and on several occasions I walked home
794with him at night.  Next to Sir J. Mackintosh he was the best
795converser on grave subjects to whom I ever listened.  Leonard
796Jenyns (The well-known Soame Jenyns was cousin to Mr. Jenyns'
797father.), who afterwards published some good essays in Natural
798History (Mr. Jenyns (now Blomefield) described the fish for the
799Zoology of the "Beagle"; and is author of a long series of
800papers, chiefly Zoological.), often stayed with Henslow, who was
801his brother-in-law.  I visited him at his parsonage on the
802borders of the Fens [Swaffham Bulbeck], and had many a good walk
803and talk with him about Natural History.  I became also
804acquainted with several other men older than me, who did not care
805much about science, but were friends of Henslow.  One was a
806Scotchman, brother of Sir Alexander Ramsay, and tutor of Jesus
807College:  he was a delightful man, but did not live for many
808years.  Another was Mr. Dawes, afterwards Dean of Hereford, and
809famous for his success in the education of the poor.  These men
810and others of the same standing, together with Henslow, used
811sometimes to take distant excursions into the country, which I
812was allowed to join, and they were most agreeable.
813
814Looking back, I infer that there must have been something in me a
815little superior to the common run of youths, otherwise the above-
816mentioned men, so much older than me and higher in academical
817position, would never have allowed me to associate with them.
818Certainly I was not aware of any such superiority, and I remember
819one of my sporting friends, Turner, who saw me at work with my
820beetles, saying that I should some day be a Fellow of the Royal
821Society, and the notion seemed to me preposterous.
822
823During my last year at Cambridge, I read with care and profound
824interest Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative.'  This work, and Sir J.
825Herschel's 'Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy,'
826stirred up in me a burning zeal to add even the most humble
827contribution to the noble structure of Natural Science.  No one
828or a dozen other books influenced me nearly so much as these two.
829I copied out from Humboldt long passages about Teneriffe, and
830read them aloud on one of the above-mentioned excursions, to (I
831think) Henslow, Ramsay, and Dawes, for on a previous occasion I
832had talked about the glories of Teneriffe, and some of the party
833declared they would endeavour to go there; but I think that they
834were only half in earnest.  I was, however, quite in earnest, and
835got an introduction to a merchant in London to enquire about
836ships; but the scheme was, of course, knocked on the head by the
837voyage of the "Beagle".
838
839My summer vacations were given up to collecting beetles, to some
840reading, and short tours.  In the autumn my whole time was
841devoted to shooting, chiefly at Woodhouse and Maer, and sometimes
842with young Eyton of Eyton.  Upon the whole the three years which
843I spent at Cambridge were the most joyful in my happy life; for I
844was then in excellent health, and almost always in high spirits.
845
846As I had at first come up to Cambridge at Christmas, I was forced
847to keep two terms after passing my final examination, at the
848commencement of 1831; and Henslow then persuaded me to begin the
850examined sections, and coloured a map of parts round Shrewsbury.
851Professor Sedgwick intended to visit North Wales in the beginning
852of August to pursue his famous geological investigations amongst
853the older rocks, and Henslow asked him to allow me to accompany
854him.  (In connection with this tour my father used to tell a
856morning, and had walked a mile or two, when Sedgwick suddenly
857stopped, and vowed that he would return, being certain "that
858damned scoundrel" (the waiter) had not given the chambermaid the
859sixpence intrusted to him for the purpose.  He was ultimately
860persuaded to give up the project, seeing that there was no reason
861for suspecting the waiter of especial perfidy.--F.D.)
862Accordingly he came and slept at my father's house.
863
864A short conversation with him during this evening produced a
865strong impression on my mind.  Whilst examining an old gravel-pit
866near Shrewsbury, a labourer told me that he had found in it a
867large worn tropical Volute shell, such as may be seen on the
868chimney-pieces of cottages; and as he would not sell the shell, I
869was convinced that he had really found it in the pit.  I told
870Sedgwick of the fact, and he at once said (no doubt truly) that
871it must have been thrown away by some one into the pit; but then
872added, if really embedded there it would be the greatest
873misfortune to geology, as it would overthrow all that we know
874about the superficial deposits of the Midland Counties.  These
875gravel-beds belong in fact to the glacial period, and in after
876years I found in them broken arctic shells.  But I was then
877utterly astonished at Sedgwick not being delighted at so
878wonderful a fact as a tropical shell being found near the surface
881that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or
882conclusions may be drawn from them.
883
884Next morning we started for Llangollen, Conway, Bangor, and Capel
885Curig.  This tour was of decided use in teaching me a little how
886to make out the geology of a country.  Sedgwick often sent me on
887a line parallel to his, telling me to bring back specimens of the
888rocks and to mark the stratification on a map.  I have little
889doubt that he did this for my good, as I was too ignorant to have
890aided him.  On this tour I had a striking instance of how easy it
891is to overlook phenomena, however conspicuous, before they have
892been observed by any one.  We spent many hours in Cwm Idwal,
893examining all the rocks with extreme care, as Sedgwick was
894anxious to find fossils in them; but neither of us saw a trace of
895the wonderful glacial phenomena all around us; we did not notice
896the plainly scored rocks, the perched boulders, the lateral and
897terminal moraines.  Yet these phenomena are so conspicuous that,
898as I declared in a paper published many years afterwards in the
899'Philosophical Magazine' ('Philosophical Magazine,' 1842.), a
900house burnt down by fire did not tell its story more plainly than
901did this valley.  If it had still been filled by a glacier, the
902phenomena would have been less distinct than they now are.
903
904At Capel Curig I left Sedgwick and went in a straight line by
905compass and map across the mountains to Barmouth, never following
906any track unless it coincided with my course.  I thus came on
907some strange wild places, and enjoyed much this manner of
908travelling.  I visited Barmouth to see some Cambridge friends who
909were reading there, and thence returned to Shrewsbury and to Maer
910for shooting; for at that time I should have thought myself mad
911to give up the first days of partridge-shooting for geology or
912any other science.
913
914"VOYAGE OF THE 'BEAGLE' FROM DECEMBER 27, 1831, TO OCTOBER 2,
9151836."
916
917On returning home from my short geological tour in North Wales, I
918found a letter from Henslow, informing me that Captain Fitz-Roy
919was willing to give up part of his own cabin to any young man who
920would volunteer to go with him without pay as naturalist to the
921Voyage of the "Beagle".  I have given, as I believe, in my MS.
922Journal an account of all the circumstances which then occurred;
923I will here only say that I was instantly eager to accept the
924offer, but my father strongly objected, adding the words,
925fortunate for me, "If you can find any man of common sense who
926advises you to go I will give my consent."  So I wrote that
927evening and refused the offer.  On the next morning I went to
928Maer to be ready for September 1st, and, whilst out shooting, my
929uncle (Josiah Wedgwood.) sent for me, offering to drive me over
930to Shrewsbury and talk with my father, as my uncle thought it
931would be wise in me to accept the offer.  My father always
932maintained that he was one of the most sensible men in the world,
933and he at once consented in the kindest manner.  I had been
934rather extravagant at Cambridge, and to console my father, said,
935"that I should be deuced clever to spend more than my allowance
936whilst on board the 'Beagle';" but he answered with a smile, "But
937they tell me you are very clever."
938
939Next day I started for Cambridge to see Henslow, and thence to
940London to see Fitz-Roy, and all was soon arranged.  Afterwards,
941on becoming very intimate with Fitz-Roy, I heard that I had run a
942very narrow risk of being rejected, on account of the shape of my
943nose!  He was an ardent disciple of Lavater, and was convinced
944that he could judge of a man's character by the outline of his
945features; and he doubted whether any one with my nose could
946possess sufficient energy and determination for the voyage.  But
947I think he was afterwards well satisfied that my nose had spoken
948falsely.
949
950Fitz-Roy's character was a singular one, with very many noble
951features:  he was devoted to his duty, generous to a fault, bold,
952determined, and indomitably energetic, and an ardent friend to
953all under his sway.  He would undertake any sort of trouble to
954assist those whom he thought deserved assistance.  He was a
955handsome man, strikingly like a gentleman, with highly courteous
956manners, which resembled those of his maternal uncle, the famous
957Lord Castlereagh, as I was told by the Minister at Rio.
958Nevertheless he must have inherited much in his appearance from
959Charles II., for Dr. Wallich gave me a collection of photographs
960which he had made, and I was struck with the resemblance of one
961to Fitz-Roy; and on looking at the name, I found it Ch. E.
962Sobieski Stuart, Count d'Albanie, a descendant of the same
963monarch.
964
965Fitz-Roy's temper was a most unfortunate one.  It was usually
966worst in the early morning, and with his eagle eye he could
967generally detect something amiss about the ship, and was then
968unsparing in his blame.  He was very kind to me, but was a man
969very difficult to live with on the intimate terms which
970necessarily followed from our messing by ourselves in the same
971cabin.  We had several quarrels; for instance, early in the
972voyage at Bahia, in Brazil, he defended and praised slavery,
973which I abominated, and told me that he had just visited a great
974slave-owner, who had called up many of his slaves and asked them
975whether they were happy, and whether they wished to be free, and
977whether he thought that the answer of slaves in the presence of
978their master was worth anything?  This made him excessively
979angry, and he said that as I doubted his word we could not live
980any longer together.  I thought that I should have been compelled
981to leave the ship; but as soon as the news spread, which it did
982quickly, as the captain sent for the first lieutenant to assuage
983his anger by abusing me, I was deeply gratified by receiving an
984invitation from all the gun-room officers to mess with them. But
985after a few hours Fitz-Roy showed his usual magnanimity by
986sending an officer to me with an apology and a request that I
987would continue to live with him.
988
989His character was in several respects one of the most noble which
990I have ever known.
991
992The voyage of the "Beagle" has been by far the most important
993event in my life, and has determined my whole career; yet it
994depended on so small a circumstance as my uncle offering to drive
995me thirty miles to Shrewsbury, which few uncles would have done,
996and on such a trifle as the shape of my nose.  I have always felt
997that I owe to the voyage the first real training or education of
998my mind; I was led to attend closely to several branches of
999natural history, and thus my powers of observation were improved,
1000though they were always fairly developed.
1001
1002The investigation of the geology of all the places visited was
1003far more important, as reasoning here comes into play.  On first
1004examining a new district nothing can appear more hopeless than
1005the chaos of rocks; but by recording the stratification and
1006nature of the rocks and fossils at many points, always reasoning
1007and predicting what will be found elsewhere, light soon begins to
1008dawn on the district, and the structure of the whole becomes more
1009or less intelligible.  I had brought with me the first volume of
1010Lyell's 'Principles of Geology,' which I studied attentively; and
1011the book was of the highest service to me in many ways.  The very
1012first place which I examined, namely St. Jago in the Cape de
1013Verde islands, showed me clearly the wonderful superiority of
1014Lyell's manner of treating geology, compared with that of any
1015other author, whose works I had with me or ever afterwards read.
1016
1017Another of my occupations was collecting animals of all classes,
1018briefly describing and roughly dissecting many of the marine
1019ones; but from not being able to draw, and from not having
1020sufficient anatomical knowledge, a great pile of MS. which I made
1021during the voyage has proved almost useless.  I thus lost much
1022time, with the exception of that spent in acquiring some
1023knowledge of the Crustaceans, as this was of service when in
1024after years I undertook a monograph of the Cirripedia.
1025
1026During some part of the day I wrote my Journal, and took much
1027pains in describing carefully and vividly all that I had seen;
1028and this was good practice.  My Journal served also, in part, as
1029letters to my home, and portions were sent to England whenever
1030there was an opportunity.
1031
1032The above various special studies were, however, of no importance
1033compared with the habit of energetic industry and of concentrated
1034attention to whatever I was engaged in, which I then acquired.
1036directly on what I had seen or was likely to see; and this habit
1037of mind was continued during the five years of the voyage.  I
1038feel sure that it was this training which has enabled me to do
1039whatever I have done in science.
1040
1041Looking backwards, I can now perceive how my love for science
1042gradually preponderated over every other taste.  During the first
1043two years my old passion for shooting survived in nearly full
1044force, and I shot myself all the birds and animals for my
1045collection; but gradually I gave up my gun more and more, and
1046finally altogether, to my servant, as shooting interfered with my
1047work, more especially with making out the geological structure of
1048a country.  I discovered, though unconsciously and insensibly,
1049that the pleasure of observing and reasoning was a much higher
1050one than that of skill and sport.  That my mind became developed
1051through my pursuits during the voyage is rendered probable by a
1052remark made by my father, who was the most acute observer whom I
1053ever saw, of a sceptical disposition, and far from being a
1054believer in phrenology; for on first seeing me after the voyage,
1055he turned round to my sisters, and exclaimed, "Why, the shape of
1057
1058To return to the voyage.  On September 11th (1831), I paid a
1059flying visit with Fitz-Roy to the "Beagle" at Plymouth.  Thence
1060to Shrewsbury to wish my father and sisters a long farewell.  On
1061October 24th I took up my residence at Plymouth, and remained
1062there until December 27th, when the "Beagle" finally left the
1064two earlier attempts to sail, but were driven back each time by
1065heavy gales.  These two months at Plymouth were the most
1066miserable which I ever spent, though I exerted myself in various
1067ways.  I was out of spirits at the thought of leaving all my
1068family and friends for so long a time, and the weather seemed to
1069me inexpressibly gloomy.  I was also troubled with palpitation
1070and pain about the heart, and like many a young ignorant man,
1071especially one with a smattering of medical knowledge, was
1072convinced that I had heart disease.  I did not consult any
1073doctor, as I fully expected to hear the verdict that I was not
1074fit for the voyage, and I was resolved to go at all hazards.
1075
1076I need not here refer to the events of the voyage--where we went
1077and what we did--as I have given a sufficiently full account in
1078my published Journal.  The glories of the vegetation of the
1079Tropics rise before my mind at the present time more vividly than
1080anything else; though the sense of sublimity, which the great
1081deserts of Patagonia and the forest-clad mountains of Tierra del
1082Fuego excited in me, has left an indelible impression on my mind.
1083The sight of a naked savage in his native land is an event which
1084can never be forgotten.  Many of my excursions on horseback
1085through wild countries, or in the boats, some of which lasted
1086several weeks, were deeply interesting:  their discomfort and
1087some degree of danger were at that time hardly a drawback, and
1088none at all afterwards.  I also reflect with high satisfaction on
1089some of my scientific work, such as solving the problem of coral
1090islands, and making out the geological structure of certain
1091islands, for instance, St. Helena.  Nor must I pass over the
1092discovery of the singular relations of the animals and plants
1093inhabiting the several islands of the Galapagos archipelago, and
1094of all of them to the inhabitants of South America.
1095
1096As far as I can judge of myself, I worked to the utmost during
1097the voyage from the mere pleasure of investigation, and from my
1098strong desire to add a few facts to the great mass of facts in
1099Natural Science.  But I was also ambitious to take a fair place
1100among scientific men,--whether more ambitious or less so than
1101most of my fellow-workers, I can form no opinion.
1102
1103The geology of St. Jago is very striking, yet simple:  a stream
1104of lava formerly flowed over the bed of the sea, formed of
1105triturated recent shells and corals, which it has baked into a
1106hard white rock.  Since then the whole island has been upheaved.
1107But the line of white rock revealed to me a new and important
1108fact, namely, that there had been afterwards subsidence round the
1110lava.  It then first dawned on me that I might perhaps write a
1111book on the geology of the various countries visited, and this
1112made me thrill with delight.  That was a memorable hour to me,
1113and how distinctly I can call to mind the low cliff of lava
1114beneath which I rested, with the sun glaring hot, a few strange
1115desert plants growing near, and with living corals in the tidal
1116pools at my feet.  Later in the voyage, Fitz-Roy asked me to read
1117some of my Journal, and declared it would be worth publishing; so
1118here was a second book in prospect!
1119
1120Towards the close of our voyage I received a letter whilst at
1121Ascension, in which my sisters told me that Sedgwick had called
1122on my father, and said that I should take a place among the
1123leading scientific men.  I could not at the time understand how
1124he could have learnt anything of my proceedings, but I heard (I
1126which I wrote to him before the Philosophical Society of
1127Cambridge (Read at the meeting held November 16, 1835, and
1128printed in a pamphlet of 31 pages for distribution among the
1129members of the Society.), and had printed them for private
1130distribution.  My collection of fossil bones, which had been sent
1131to Henslow, also excited considerable attention amongst
1132palaeontologists.  After reading this letter, I clambered over
1133the mountains of Ascension with a bounding step, and made the
1134volcanic rocks resound under my geological hammer.  All this
1135shows how ambitious I was; but I think that I can say with truth
1136that in after years, though I cared in the highest degree for the
1137approbation of such men as Lyell and Hooker, who were my friends,
1138I did not care much about the general public.  I do not mean to
1139say that a favourable review or a large sale of my books did not
1140please me greatly, but the pleasure was a fleeting one, and I am
1141sure that I have never turned one inch out of my course to gain
1142fame.
1143
1145(JANUARY 29, 1839.)
1146
1147These two years and three months were the most active ones which
1148I ever spent, though I was occasionally unwell, and so lost some
1149time.  After going backwards and forwards several times between
1150Shrewsbury, Maer, Cambridge, and London, I settled in lodgings at
1151Cambridge (In Fitzwilliam Street.) on December 13th, where all my
1152collections were under the care of Henslow.  I stayed here three
1153months, and got my minerals and rocks examined by the aid of
1154Professor Miller.
1155
1156I began preparing my 'Journal of Travels,' which was not hard
1157work, as my MS. Journal had been written with care, and my chief
1158labour was making an abstract of my more interesting scientific
1159results.  I sent also, at the request of Lyell, a short account
1160of my observations on the elevation of the coast of Chile to the
1161Geological Society.  ('Geolog. Soc. Proc. ii. 1838, pages 446-
1162449.)
1163
1164On March 7th, 1837, I took lodgings in Great Marlborough Street
1165in London, and remained there for nearly two years, until I was
1166married.  During these two years I finished my Journal, read
1167several papers before the Geological Society, began preparing the
1168MS. for my 'Geological Observations,' and arranged for the
1169publication of the 'Zoology of the Voyage of the "Beagle".'  In
1170July I opened my first note-book for facts in relation to the
1172ceased working for the next twenty years.
1173
1174During these two years I also went a little into society, and
1175acted as one of the honorary secretaries of the Geological
1176Society.  I saw a great deal of Lyell.  One of his chief
1177characteristics was his sympathy with the work of others, and I
1178was as much astonished as delighted at the interest which he
1179showed when, on my return to England, I explained to him my views
1180on coral reefs.  This encouraged me greatly, and his advice and
1181example had much influence on me.  During this time I saw also a
1182good deal of Robert Brown; I used often to call and sit with him
1183during his breakfast on Sunday mornings, and he poured forth a
1184rich treasure of curious observations and acute remarks, but they
1185almost always related to minute points, and he never with me
1186discussed large or general questions in science.
1187
1188During these two years I took several short excursions as a
1189relaxation, and one longer one to the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy,
1190an account of which was published in the 'Philosophical
1191Transactions.'  (1839, pages 39-82.)  This paper was a great
1192failure, and I am ashamed of it.  Having been deeply impressed
1193with what I had seen of the elevation of the land of South
1194America, I attributed the parallel lines to the action of the
1195sea; but I had to give up this view when Agassiz propounded his
1196glacier-lake theory.  Because no other explanation was possible
1197under our then state of knowledge, I argued in favour of sea-
1198action; and my error has been a good lesson to me never to trust
1199in science to the principle of exclusion.
1200
1201As I was not able to work all day at science, I read a good deal
1202during these two years on various subjects, including some
1203metaphysical books; but I was not well fitted for such studies.
1205Coleridge's poetry; and can boast that I read the 'Excursion'
1207chief favourite, and in my excursions during the voyage of the
1208"Beagle", when I could take only a single volume, I always chose
1209Milton.
1210
1211FROM MY MARRIAGE, JANUARY 29, 1839, AND RESIDENCE IN UPPER GOWER
1212STREET, TO OUR LEAVING LONDON AND SETTLING AT DOWN, SEPTEMBER 14,
12131842.
1214
1215(After speaking of his happy married life, and of his children,
1216he continues:--)
1217
1218During the three years and eight months whilst we resided in
1219London, I did less scientific work, though I worked as hard as I
1220possibly could, than during any other equal length of time in my
1221life.  This was owing to frequently recurring unwellness, and to
1222one long and serious illness.  The greater part of my time, when
1223I could do anything, was devoted to my work on 'Coral Reefs,'
1224which I had begun before my marriage, and of which the last
1225proof-sheet was corrected on May 6th, 1842.  This book, though a
1226small one, cost me twenty months of hard work, as I had to read
1227every work on the islands of the Pacific and to consult many
1228charts.  It was thought highly of by scientific men, and the
1229theory therein given is, I think, now well established.
1230
1231No other work of mine was begun in so deductive a spirit as this,
1232for the whole theory was thought out on the west coast of South
1233America, before I had seen a true coral reef.  I had therefore
1234only to verify and extend my views by a careful examination of
1235living reefs.  But it should be observed that I had during the
1236two previous years been incessantly attending to the effects on
1237the shores of South America of the intermittent elevation of the
1238land, together with denudation and the deposition of sediment.
1239This necessarily led me to reflect much on the effects of
1240subsidence, and it was easy to replace in imagination the
1241continued deposition of sediment by the upward growth of corals.
1242To do this was to form my theory of the formation of barrier-
1243reefs and atolls.
1244
1245Besides my work on coral-reefs, during my residence in London, I
1246read before the Geological Society papers on the Erratic Boulders
1247of South America ('Geolog. Soc. Proc.' iii. 1842.), on
1248Earthquakes ('Geolog. Trans. v. 1840.), and on the Formation by
1249the Agency of Earth-worms of Mould.  ('Geolog. Soc. Proc. ii.
12501838.)  I also continued to superintend the publication of the
1251'Zoology of the Voyage of the "Beagle".'  Nor did I ever intermit
1252collecting facts bearing on the origin of species; and I could
1253sometimes do this when I could do nothing else from illness.
1254
1255In the summer of 1842 I was stronger than I had been for some
1256time, and took a little tour by myself in North Wales, for the
1257sake of observing the effects of the old glaciers which formerly
1258filled all the larger valleys.  I published a short account of
1259what I saw in the 'Philosophical Magazine.'  ('Philosophical
1260Magazine,' 1842.)  This excursion interested me greatly, and it
1261was the last time I was ever strong enough to climb mountains or
1262to take long walks such as are necessary for geological work.
1263
1264During the early part of our life in London, I was strong enough
1265to go into general society, and saw a good deal of several
1266scientific men, and other more or less distinguished men.  I will
1267give my impressions with respect to some of them, though I have
1268little to say worth saying.
1269
1270I saw more of Lyell than of any other man, both before and after
1271my marriage.  His mind was characterised, as it appeared to me,
1272by clearness, caution, sound judgment, and a good deal of
1273originality.  When I made any remark to him on Geology, he never
1274rested until he saw the whole case clearly, and often made me see
1275it more clearly than I had done before.  He would advance all
1276possible objections to my suggestion, and even after these were
1277exhausted would long remain dubious.  A second characteristic was
1278his hearty sympathy with the work of other scientific men.  (The
1279slight repetition here observable is accounted for by the notes
1280on Lyell, etc., having been added in April, 1881, a few years
1281after the rest of the 'Recollections' were written.)
1282
1283On my return from the voyage of the "Beagle", I explained to him
1284my views on coral-reefs, which differed from his, and I was
1285greatly surprised and encouraged by the vivid interest which he
1286showed.  His delight in science was ardent, and he felt the
1287keenest interest in the future progress of mankind.  He was very
1288kind-hearted, and thoroughly liberal in his religious beliefs, or
1289rather disbeliefs; but he was a strong theist.  His candour was
1290highly remarkable.  He exhibited this by becoming a convert to
1291the Descent theory, though he had gained much fame by opposing
1292Lamarck's views, and this after he had grown old.  He reminded me
1293that I had many years before said to him, when discussing the
1294opposition of the old school of geologists to his new views,
1295"What a good thing it would be if every scientific man was to die
1296when sixty years old, as afterwards he would be sure to oppose
1297all new doctrines."  But he hoped that now he might be allowed to
1298live.
1299
1300The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell--more so,
1301as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived.  When [I was]
1302starting on the voyage of the "Beagle", the sagacious Henslow,
1303who, like all other geologists, believed at that time in
1304successive cataclysms, advised me to get and study the first
1305volume of the 'Principles,' which had then just been published,
1306but on no account to accept the views therein advocated.  How
1307differently would anyone now speak of the 'Principles'!  I am
1308proud to remember that the first place, namely, St. Jago, in the
1309Cape de Verde archipelago, in which I geologised, convinced me of
1310the infinite superiority of Lyell's views over those advocated in
1311any other work known to me.
1312
1313The powerful effects of Lyell's works could formerly be plainly
1314seen in the different progress of the science in France and
1315England.  The present total oblivion of Elie de Beaumont's wild
1316hypotheses, such as his 'Craters of Elevation' and 'Lines of
1317Elevation' (which latter hypothesis I heard Sedgwick at the
1318Geological Society lauding to the skies), may be largely
1319attributed to Lyell.
1320
1321I saw a good deal of Robert Brown, "facile Princeps Botanicorum,"
1322as he was called by Humboldt.  He seemed to me to be chiefly
1323remarkable for the minuteness of his observations, and their
1324perfect accuracy.  His knowledge was extraordinarily great, and
1325much died with him, owing to his excessive fear of ever making a
1326mistake.  He poured out his knowledge to me in the most
1327unreserved manner, yet was strangely jealous on some points.  I
1328called on him two or three times before the voyage of the
1329"Beagle", and on one occasion he asked me to look through a
1330microscope and describe what I saw.  This I did, and believe now
1331that it was the marvellous currents of protoplasm in some
1332vegetable cell.  I then asked him what I had seen; but he
1333answered me, "That is my little secret."
1334
1335He was capable of the most generous actions.  When old, much out
1336of health, and quite unfit for any exertion, he daily visited (as
1337Hooker told me) an old man-servant, who lived at a distance (and
1338whom he supported), and read aloud to him.  This is enough to
1339make up for any degree of scientific penuriousness or jealousy.
1340
1341I may here mention a few other eminent men, whom I have
1342occasionally seen, but I have little to say about them worth
1343saying.  I felt a high reverence for Sir J. Herschel, and was
1344delighted to dine with him at his charming house at the Cape of
1345Good Hope, and afterwards at his London house.  I saw him, also,
1346on a few other occasions.  He never talked much, but every word
1347which he uttered was worth listening to.
1348
1349I once met at breakfast at Sir R. Murchison's house the
1350illustrious Humboldt, who honoured me by expressing a wish to see
1351me.  I was a little disappointed with the great man, but my
1352anticipations probably were too high.  I can remember nothing
1353distinctly about our interview, except that Humboldt was very
1354cheerful and talked much.
1355
1356-- reminds me of Buckle whom I once met at Hensleigh Wedgwood's.
1357I was very glad to learn from him his system of collecting facts.
1358He told me that he bought all the books which he read, and made a
1359full index, to each, of the facts which he thought might prove
1360serviceable to him, and that he could always remember in what
1362him how at first he could judge what facts would be serviceable,
1363and he answered that he did not know, but that a sort of instinct
1364guided him.  From this habit of making indices, he was enabled to
1365give the astonishing number of references on all sorts of
1366subjects, which may be found in his 'History of Civilisation.'
1367This book I thought most interesting, and read it twice, but I
1368doubt whether his generalisations are worth anything.  Buckle was
1369a great talker, and I listened to him saying hardly a word, nor
1370indeed could I have done so for he left no gaps.  When Mrs.
1371Farrer began to sing, I jumped up and said that I must listen to
1372her; after I had moved away he turned around to a friend and said
1373(as was overheard by my brother), "Well, Mr. Darwin's books are
1374much better than his conversation."
1375
1376Of other great literary men, I once met Sydney Smith at Dean
1377Milman's house.  There was something inexplicably amusing in
1378every word which he uttered.  Perhaps this was partly due to the
1380was then extremely old.  This was the lady who, as he said, was
1381once so much affected by one of his charity sermons, that she
1382BORROWED a guinea from a friend to put in the plate.  He now said
1383"It is generally believed that my dear old friend Lady Cork has
1384been overlooked," and he said this in such a manner that no one
1385could for a moment doubt that he meant that his dear old friend
1386had been overlooked by the devil.  How he managed to express this
1387I know not.
1388
1389I likewise once met Macaulay at Lord Stanhope's (the historian's)
1390house, and as there was only one other man at dinner, I had a
1391grand opportunity of hearing him converse, and he was very
1392agreeable.  He did not talk at all too much; nor indeed could
1393such a man talk too much, as long as he allowed others to turn
1394the stream of his conversation, and this he did allow.
1395
1396Lord Stanhope once gave me a curious little proof of the accuracy
1397and fulness of Macaulay's memory:  many historians used often to
1398meet at Lord Stanhope's house, and in discussing various subjects
1399they would sometimes differ from Macaulay, and formerly they
1400often referred to some book to see who was right; but latterly,
1401as Lord Stanhope noticed, no historian ever took this trouble,
1402and whatever Macaulay said was final.
1403
1404On another occasion I met at Lord Stanhope's house, one of his
1405parties of historians and other literary men, and amongst them
1406were Motley and Grote.  After luncheon I walked about Chevening
1407Park for nearly an hour with Grote, and was much interested by
1408his conversation and pleased by the simplicity and absence of all
1409pretension in his manners.
1410
1411Long ago I dined occasionally with the old Earl, the father of
1412the historian; he was a strange man, but what little I knew of
1413him I liked much.  He was frank, genial, and pleasant.  He had
1414strongly marked features, with a brown complexion, and his
1415clothes, when I saw him, were all brown.  He seemed to believe in
1416everything which was to others utterly incredible.  He said one
1417day to me, "Why don't you give up your fiddle-faddle of geology
1418and zoology, and turn to the occult sciences!"  The historian,
1419then Lord Mahon, seemed shocked at such a speech to me, and his
1420charming wife much amused.
1421
1422The last man whom I will mention is Carlyle, seen by me several
1423times at my brother's house, and two or three times at my own
1424house.  His talk was very racy and interesting, just like his
1425writings, but he sometimes went on too long on the same subject.
1426I remember a funny dinner at my brother's, where, amongst a few
1427others, were Babbage and Lyell, both of whom liked to talk.
1428Carlyle, however, silenced every one by haranguing during the
1429whole dinner on the advantages of silence.  After dinner Babbage,
1430in his grimmest manner, thanked Carlyle for his very interesting
1431lecture on silence.
1432
1433Carlyle sneered at almost every one:  one day in my house he
1434called Grote's 'History' "a fetid quagmire, with nothing
1435spiritual about it."  I always thought, until his 'Reminiscences'
1436appeared, that his sneers were partly jokes, but this now seems
1437rather doubtful.  His expression was that of a depressed, almost
1438despondent yet benevolent man; and it is notorious how heartily
1439he laughed.  I believe that his benevolence was real, though
1440stained by not a little jealousy.  No one can doubt about his
1441extraordinary power of drawing pictures of things and men--far
1442more vivid, as it appears to me, than any drawn by Macaulay.
1443Whether his pictures of men were true ones is another question.
1444
1445He has been all-powerful in impressing some grand moral truths on
1446the minds of men.  On the other hand, his views about slavery
1447were revolting.  In his eyes might was right.  His mind seemed to
1448me a very narrow one; even if all branches of science, which he
1449despised, are excluded.  It is astonishing to me that Kingsley
1450should have spoken of him as a man well fitted to advance
1451science.  He laughed to scorn the idea that a mathematician, such
1452as Whewell, could judge, as I maintained he could, of Goethe's
1453views on light.  He thought it a most ridiculous thing that any
1454one should care whether a glacier moved a little quicker or a
1455little slower, or moved at all.  As far as I could judge, I never
1456met a man with a mind so ill adapted for scientific research.
1457
1458Whilst living in London, I attended as regularly as I could the
1459meetings of several scientific societies, and acted as secretary
1460to the Geological Society.  But such attendance, and ordinary
1461society, suited my health so badly that we resolved to live in
1462the country, which we both preferred and have never repented of.
1463
1464RESIDENCE AT DOWN FROM SEPTEMBER 14, 1842, TO THE PRESENT TIME,
14651876.
1466
1467After several fruitless searches in Surrey and elsewhere, we
1468found this house and purchased it.  I was pleased with the
1469diversified appearance of vegetation proper to a chalk district,
1470and so unlike what I had been accustomed to in the Midland
1471counties; and still more pleased with the extreme quietness and
1472rusticity of the place.  It is not, however, quite so retired a
1473place as a writer in a German periodical makes it, who says that
1474my house can be approached only by a mule-track!  Our fixing
1476not anticipate, namely, by being very convenient for frequent
1477visits from our children.
1478
1479Few persons can have lived a more retired life than we have done.
1480Besides short visits to the houses of relations, and occasionally
1481to the seaside or elsewhere, we have gone nowhere.  During the
1482first part of our residence we went a little into society, and
1483received a few friends here; but my health almost always suffered
1484from the excitement, violent shivering and vomiting attacks being
1485thus brought on.  I have therefore been compelled for many years
1486to give up all dinner-parties; and this has been somewhat of a
1487deprivation to me, as such parties always put me into high
1488spirits.  From the same cause I have been able to invite here
1489very few scientific acquaintances.
1490
1491My chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life has been
1492scientific work; and the excitement from such work makes me for
1493the time forget, or drives quite away, my daily discomfort.  I
1494have therefore nothing to record during the rest of my life,
1495except the publication of my several books.  Perhaps a few
1496details how they arose may be worth giving.
1497
1498MY SEVERAL PUBLICATIONS.
1499
1500In the early part of 1844, my observations on the volcanic
1501islands visited during the voyage of the "Beagle" were published.
1502In 1845, I took much pains in correcting a new edition of my
1503'Journal of Researches,' which was originally published in 1839
1504as part of Fitz-Roy's work.  The success of this, my first
1505literary child, always tickles my vanity more than that of any of
1506my other books.  Even to this day it sells steadily in England
1507and the United States, and has been translated for the second
1508time into German, and into French and other languages.  This
1509success of a book of travels, especially of a scientific one, so
1510many years after its first publication, is surprising.  Ten
1511thousand copies have been sold in England of the second edition.
1512In 1846 my 'Geological Observations on South America' were
1513published.  I record in a little diary, which I have always kept,
1514that my three geological books ('Coral Reefs' included) consumed
1515four and a half years' steady work; "and now it is ten years
1516since my return to England.  How much time have I lost by
1517illness?"  I have nothing to say about these three books except
1518that to my surprise new editions have lately been called for.
1519('Geological Observations,' 2nd Edit.1876.  'Coral Reefs,' 2nd
1520Edit. 1874.)
1521
1522In October, 1846, I began to work on 'Cirripedia.'  When on the
1523coast of Chile, I found a most curious form, which burrowed into
1524the shells of Concholepas, and which differed so much from all
1525other Cirripedes that I had to form a new sub-order for its sole
1526reception.  Lately an allied burrowing genus has been found on
1527the shores of Portugal.  To understand the structure of my new
1528Cirripede I had to examine and dissect many of the common forms;
1529and this gradually led me on to take up the whole group.  I
1530worked steadily on this subject for the next eight years, and
1532Society.), describing all the known living species, and two thin
1533quartos on the extinct species.  I do not doubt that Sir E.
1534Lytton Bulwer had me in his mind when he introduced in one of his
1535novels a Professor Long, who had written two huge volumes on
1536limpets.
1537
1538Although I was employed during eight years on this work, yet I
1539record in my diary that about two years out of this time was lost
1540by illness.  On this account I went in 1848 for some months to
1541Malvern for hydropathic treatment, which did me much good, so
1542that on my return home I was able to resume work.  So much was I
1543out of health that when my dear father died on November 13th,
15441848, I was unable to attend his funeral or to act as one of his
1545executors.
1546
1547My work on the Cirripedia possesses, I think, considerable value,
1548as besides describing several new and remarkable forms, I made
1549out the homologies of the various parts--I discovered the
1551cement glands--and lastly I proved the existence in certain
1552genera of minute males complemental to and parasitic on the
1553hermaphrodites.  This latter discovery has at last been fully
1554confirmed; though at one time a German writer was pleased to
1555attribute the whole account to my fertile imagination.  The
1556Cirripedes form a highly varying and difficult group of species
1557to class; and my work was of considerable use to me, when I had
1558to discuss in the 'Origin of Species' the principles of a natural
1559classification.  Nevertheless, I doubt whether the work was worth
1560the consumption of so much time.
1561
1562>From September 1854 I devoted my whole time to arranging my huge
1563pile of notes, to observing, and to experimenting in relation to
1564the transmutation of species.  During the voyage of the "Beagle"
1565I had been deeply impressed by discovering in the Pampean
1566formation great fossil animals covered with armour like that on
1567the existing armadillos; secondly, by the manner in which closely
1568allied animals replace one another in proceeding southwards over
1569the Continent; and thirdly, by the South American character of
1570most of the productions of the Galapagos archipelago, and more
1571especially by the manner in which they differ slightly on each
1572island of the group; none of the islands appearing to be very
1573ancient in a geological sense.
1574
1575It was evident that such facts as these, as well as many others,
1576could only be explained on the supposition that species gradually
1577become modified; and the subject haunted me.  But it was equally
1578evident that neither the action of the surrounding conditions,
1579nor the will of the organisms (especially in the case of plants)
1580could account for the innumerable cases in which organisms of
1581every kind are beautifully adapted to their habits of life--for
1582instance, a woodpecker or a tree-frog to climb trees, or a seed
1583for dispersal by hooks or plumes.  I had always been much struck
1584by such adaptations, and until these could be explained it seemed
1585to me almost useless to endeavour to prove by indirect evidence
1586that species have been modified.
1587
1588After my return to England it appeared to me that by following
1589the example of Lyell in Geology, and by collecting all facts
1590which bore in any way on the variation of animals and plants
1591under domestication and nature, some light might perhaps be
1592thrown on the whole subject.  My first note-book was opened in
1593July 1837.  I worked on true Baconian principles, and without any
1594theory collected facts on a wholesale scale, more especially with
1595respect to domesticated productions, by printed enquiries, by
1596conversation with skilful breeders and gardeners, and by
1597extensive reading.  When I see the list of books of all kinds
1598which I read and abstracted, including whole series of Journals
1599and Transactions, I am surprised at my industry.  I soon
1600perceived that selection was the keystone of man's success in
1601making useful races of animals and plants.  But how selection
1602could be applied to organisms living in a state of nature
1603remained for some time a mystery to me.
1604
1605In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my
1606systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement 'Malthus on
1607Population,' and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle
1608for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued
1609observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once
1610struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations
1611would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be
1612destroyed.  The result of this would be the formation of new
1613species.  Here then I had at last got a theory by which to work;
1614but I was so anxious to avoid prejudice, that I determined not
1615for some time to write even the briefest sketch of it.  In June
16161842 I first allowed myself the satisfaction of writing a very
1617brief abstract of my theory in pencil in 35 pages; and this was
1618enlarged during the summer of 1844 into one of 230 pages, which I
1619had fairly copied out and still possess.
1620
1621But at that time I overlooked one problem of great importance;
1622and it is astonishing to me, except on the principle of Columbus
1623and his egg, how I could have overlooked it and its solution.
1624This problem is the tendency in organic beings descended from the
1625same stock to diverge in character as they become modified.  That
1626they have diverged greatly is obvious from the manner in which
1627species of all kinds can be classed under genera, genera under
1628families, families under sub-orders and so forth; and I can
1629remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when
1630to my joy the solution occurred to me; and this was long after I
1631had come to Down.  The solution, as I believe, is that the
1632modified offspring of all dominant and increasing forms tend to
1633become adapted to many and highly diversified places in the
1634economy of nature.
1635
1636Early in 1856 Lyell advised me to write out my views pretty
1637fully, and I began at once to do so on a scale three or four
1638times as extensive as that which was afterwards followed in my
1639'Origin of Species;' yet it was only an abstract of the materials
1640which I had collected, and I got through about half the work on
1641this scale.  But my plans were overthrown, for early in the
1642summer of 1858 Mr. Wallace, who was then in the Malay
1643archipelago, sent me an essay "On the Tendency of Varieties to
1644depart indefinitely from the Original Type;" and this essay
1645contained exactly the same theory as mine.  Mr. Wallace expressed
1646the wish that if I thought well of his essay, I should sent it to
1647Lyell for perusal.
1648
1649The circumstances under which I consented at the request of Lyell
1650and Hooker to allow of an abstract from my MS., together with a
1651letter to Asa Gray, dated September 5, 1857, to be published at
1652the same time with Wallace's Essay, are given in the 'Journal of
1653the Proceedings of the Linnean Society,' 1858, page 45.  I was at
1654first very unwilling to consent, as I thought Mr. Wallace might
1655consider my doing so unjustifiable, for I did not then know how
1656generous and noble was his disposition.  The extract from my MS.
1657and the letter to Asa Gray had neither been intended for
1658publication, and were badly written.  Mr. Wallace's essay, on the
1659other hand, was admirably expressed and quite clear.
1660Nevertheless, our joint productions excited very little
1661attention, and the only published notice of them which I can
1662remember was by Professor Haughton of Dublin, whose verdict was
1663that all that was new in them was false, and what was true was
1664old.  This shows how necessary it is that any new view should be
1665explained at considerable length in order to arouse public
1666attention.
1667
1668In September 1858 I set to work by the strong advice of Lyell and
1669Hooker to prepare a volume on the transmutation of species, but
1670was often interrupted by ill-health, and short visits to Dr.
1671Lane's delightful hydropathic establishment at Moor Park.  I
1672abstracted the MS. begun on a much larger scale in 1856, and
1673completed the volume on the same reduced scale.  It cost me
1674thirteen months and ten days' hard labour.  It was published
1675under the title of the 'Origin of Species,' in November 1859.
1676Though considerably added to and corrected in the later editions,
1677it has remained substantially the same book.
1678
1679It is no doubt the chief work of my life.  It was from the first
1680highly successful.  The first small edition of 1250 copies was
1681sold on the day of publication, and a second edition of 3000
1682copies soon afterwards.  Sixteen thousand copies have now (1876)
1683been sold in England; and considering how stiff a book it is,
1684this is a large sale.  It has been translated into almost every
1685European tongue, even into such languages as Spanish, Bohemian,
1686Polish, and Russian.  It has also, according to Miss Bird, been
1687translated into Japanese (Miss Bird is mistaken, as I learn from
1688Prof. Mitsukuri.--F.D.), and is there much studied.  Even an
1689essay in Hebrew has appeared on it, showing that the theory is
1690contained in the Old Testament!  The reviews were very numerous;
1691for some time I collected all that appeared on the 'Origin' and
1692on my related books, and these amount (excluding newspaper
1693reviews) to 265; but after a time I gave up the attempt in
1694despair.  Many separate essays and books on the subject have
1695appeared; and in Germany a catalogue or bibliography on
1696"Darwinismus" has appeared every year or two.
1697
1698The success of the 'Origin' may, I think, be attributed in large
1699part to my having long before written two condensed sketches, and
1700to my having finally abstracted a much larger manuscript, which
1701was itself an abstract.  By this means I was enabled to select
1702the more striking facts and conclusions.  I had, also, during
1703many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever a
1704published fact, a new observation or thought came across me,
1705which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of
1706it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that
1707such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the
1708memory than favourable ones.  Owing to this habit, very few
1709objections were raised against my views which I had not at least
1711
1712It has sometimes been said that the success of the 'Origin'
1713proved "that the subject was in the air," or "that men's minds
1714were prepared for it."  I do not think that this is strictly
1715true, for I occasionally sounded not a few naturalists, and never
1716happened to come across a single one who seemed to doubt about
1717the permanence of species.  Even Lyell and Hooker, though they
1718would listen with interest to me, never seemed to agree.  I tried
1719once or twice to explain to able men what I meant by Natural
1720Selection, but signally failed.  What I believe was strictly true
1721is that innumerable well-observed facts were stored in the minds
1722of naturalists ready to take their proper places as soon as any
1723theory which would receive them was sufficiently explained.
1724Another element in the success of the book was its moderate size;
1725and this I owe to the appearance of Mr. Wallace's essay; had I
1726published on the scale in which I began to write in 1856, the
1727book would have been four or five times as large as the 'Origin,'
1729
1730I gained much by my delay in publishing from about 1839, when the
1731theory was clearly conceived, to 1859; and I lost nothing by it,
1732for I cared very little whether men attributed most originality
1733to me or Wallace; and his essay no doubt aided in the reception
1734of the theory.  I was forestalled in only one important point,
1735which my vanity has always made me regret, namely, the
1736explanation by means of the Glacial period of the presence of the
1737same species of plants and of some few animals on distant
1738mountain summits and in the arctic regions.  This view pleased me
1739so much that I wrote it out in extenso, and I believe that it was
1740read by Hooker some years before E. Forbes published his
1741celebrated memoir ('Geolog. Survey Mem.,' 1846.) on the subject.
1742In the very few points in which we differed, I still think that I
1743was in the right.  I have never, of course, alluded in print to
1744my having independently worked out this view.
1745
1746Hardly any point gave me so much satisfaction when I was at work
1747on the 'Origin,' as the explanation of the wide difference in
1748many classes between the embryo and the adult animal, and of the
1749close resemblance of the embryos within the same class.  No
1750notice of this point was taken, as far as I remember, in the
1751early reviews of the 'Origin,' and I recollect expressing my
1752surprise on this head in a letter to Asa Gray.  Within late years
1753several reviewers have given the whole credit to Fritz Muller and
1754Hackel, who undoubtedly have worked it out much more fully, and
1755in some respects more correctly than I did.  I had materials for
1756a whole chapter on the subject, and I ought to have made the
1757discussion longer; for it is clear that I failed to impress my
1758readers; and he who succeeds in doing so deserves, in my opinion,
1759all the credit.
1760
1761This leads me to remark that I have almost always been treated
1762honestly by my reviewers, passing over those without scientific
1763knowledge as not worthy of notice.  My views have often been
1764grossly misrepresented, bitterly opposed and ridiculed, but this
1765has been generally done, as I believe, in good faith.  On the
1766whole I do not doubt that my works have been over and over again
1767greatly overpraised.  I rejoice that I have avoided
1768controversies, and this I owe to Lyell, who many years ago, in
1769reference to my geological works, strongly advised me never to
1770get entangled in a controversy, as it rarely did any good and
1771caused a miserable loss of time and temper.
1772
1773Whenever I have found out that I have blundered, or that my work
1774has been imperfect, and when I have been contemptuously
1775criticised, and even when I have been overpraised, so that I have
1776felt mortified, it has been my greatest comfort to say hundreds
1777of times to myself that "I have worked as hard and as well as I
1778could, and no man can do more than this."  I remember when in
1779Good Success Bay, in Tierra del Fuego, thinking (and, I believe,
1780that I wrote home to the effect) that I could not employ my life
1781better than in adding a little to Natural Science.  This I have
1782done to the best of my abilities, and critics may say what they
1783like, but they cannot destroy this conviction.
1784
1785During the two last months of 1859 I was fully occupied in
1786preparing a second edition of the 'Origin,' and by an enormous
1787correspondence.  On January 1st, 1860, I began arranging my notes
1788for my work on the 'Variation of Animals and Plants under
1789Domestication;' but it was not published until the beginning of
17901868; the delay having been caused partly by frequent illnesses,
1791one of which lasted seven months, and partly by being tempted to
1792publish on other subjects which at the time interested me more.
1793
1794On May 15th, 1862, my little book on the 'Fertilisation of
1795Orchids,' which cost me ten months' work, was published:  most of
1796the facts had been slowly accumulated during several previous
1797years.  During the summer of 1839, and, I believe, during the
1798previous summer, I was led to attend to the cross-fertilisation
1799of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come to the
1800conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, that
1801crossing played an important part in keeping specific forms
1802constant.  I attended to the subject more or less during every
1803subsequent summer; and my interest in it was greatly enhanced by
1805Robert Brown, a copy of C.K. Sprengel's wonderful book, 'Das
1806entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur.'  For some years before 1862 I
1807had specially attended to the fertilisation of our British
1808orchids; and it seemed to me the best plan to prepare as complete
1809a treatise on this group of plants as well as I could, rather
1810than to utilise the great mass of matter which I had slowly
1811collected with respect to other plants.
1812
1813My resolve proved a wise one; for since the appearance of my
1814book, a surprising number of papers and separate works on the
1815fertilisation of all kinds of flowers have appeared:  and these
1816are far better done than I could possibly have effected.  The
1817merits of poor old Sprengel, so long overlooked, are now fully
1818recognised many years after his death.
1819
1820During the same year I published in the 'Journal of the Linnean
1821Society' a paper "On the Two Forms, or Dimorphic Condition of
1822Primula," and during the next five years, five other papers on
1823dimorphic and trimorphic plants.  I do not think anything in my
1824scientific life has given me so much satisfaction as making out
1825the meaning of the structure of these plants.  I had noticed in
18261838 or 1839 the dimorphism of Linum flavum, and had at first
1827thought that it was merely a case of unmeaning variability.  But
1828on examining the common species of Primula I found that the two
1829forms were much too regular and constant to be thus viewed.  I
1830therefore became almost convinced that the common cowslip and
1831primrose were on the high road to become dioecious;--that the
1832short pistil in the one form, and the short stamens in the other
1833form were tending towards abortion.  The plants were therefore
1834subjected under this point of view to trial; but as soon as the
1835flowers with short pistils fertilised with pollen from the short
1836stamens, were found to yield more seeds than any other of the
1837four possible unions, the abortion-theory was knocked on the
1839the two forms, though both were perfect hermaphrodites, bore
1840almost the same relation to one another as do the two sexes of an
1841ordinary animal.  With Lythrum we have the still more wonderful
1842case of three forms standing in a similar relation to one
1843another.  I afterwards found that the offspring from the union of
1844two plants belonging to the same forms presented a close and
1845curious analogy with hybrids from the union of two distinct
1846species.
1847
1848In the autumn of 1864 I finished a long paper on 'Climbing
1849Plants,' and sent it to the Linnean Society.  The writing of this
1850paper cost me four months; but I was so unwell when I received
1851the proof-sheets that I was forced to leave them very badly and
1852often obscurely expressed.  The paper was little noticed, but
1853when in 1875 it was corrected and published as a separate book it
1854sold well.  I was led to take up this subject by reading a short
1855paper by Asa Gray, published in 1858.  He sent me seeds, and on
1856raising some plants I was so much fascinated and perplexed by the
1857revolving movements of the tendrils and stems, which movements
1858are really very simple, though appearing at first sight very
1859complex, that I procured various other kinds of climbing plants,
1860and studied the whole subject.  I was all the more attracted to
1861it, from not being at all satisfied with the explanation which
1862Henslow gave us in his lectures, about twining plants, namely,
1863that they had a natural tendency to grow up in a spire.  This
1864explanation proved quite erroneous.  Some of the adaptations
1865displayed by Climbing Plants are as beautiful as those of Orchids
1866for ensuring cross-fertilisation.
1867
1868My 'Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication' was
1869begun, as already stated, in the beginning of 1860, but was not
1870published until the beginning of 1868.  It was a big book, and
1871cost me four years and two months' hard labour.  It gives all my
1872observations and an immense number of facts collected from
1873various sources, about our domestic productions.  In the second
1874volume the causes and laws of variation, inheritance, etc., are
1875discussed as far as our present state of knowledge permits.
1876Towards the end of the work I give my well-abused hypothesis of
1877Pangenesis.  An unverified hypothesis is of little or no value;
1878but if anyone should hereafter be led to make observations by
1879which some such hypothesis could be established, I shall have
1880done good service, as an astonishing number of isolated facts can
1881be thus connected together and rendered intelligible.  In 1875 a
1882second and largely corrected edition, which cost me a good deal
1883of labour, was brought out.
1884
1885My 'Descent of Man' was published in February, 1871.  As soon as
1886I had become, in the year 1837 or 1838, convinced that species
1887were mutable productions, I could not avoid the belief that man
1888must come under the same law.  Accordingly I collected notes on
1889the subject for my own satisfaction, and not for a long time with
1890any intention of publishing.  Although in the 'Origin of Species'
1891the derivation of any particular species is never discussed, yet
1892I thought it best, in order that no honourable man should accuse
1893me of concealing my views, to add that by the work "light would
1894be thrown on the origin of man and his history."  It would have
1895been useless and injurious to the success of the book to have
1896paraded, without giving any evidence, my conviction with respect
1897to his origin.
1898
1899But when I found that many naturalists fully accepted the
1900doctrine of the evolution of species, it seemed to me advisable
1901to work up such notes as I possessed, and to publish a special
1902treatise on the origin of man.  I was the more glad to do so, as
1903it gave me an opportunity of fully discussing sexual selection--a
1904subject which had always greatly interested me.  This subject,
1905and that of the variation of our domestic productions, together
1906with the causes and laws of variation, inheritance, and the
1907intercrossing of plants, are the sole subjects which I have been
1908able to write about in full, so as to use all the materials which
1909I have collected.  The 'Descent of Man' took me three years to
1910write, but then as usual some of this time was lost by ill
1911health, and some was consumed by preparing new editions and other
1912minor works.  A second and largely corrected edition of the
1913'Descent' appeared in 1874.
1914
1915My book on the 'Expression of the Emotions in Men and Animals'
1916was published in the autumn of 1872.  I had intended to give only
1917a chapter on the subject in the 'Descent of Man,' but as soon as
1918I began to put my notes together, I saw that it would require a
1919separate treatise.
1920
1921My first child was born on December 27th, 1839, and I at once
1922commenced to make notes on the first dawn of the various
1923expressions which he exhibited, for I felt convinced, even at
1924this early period, that the most complex and fine shades of
1926During the summer of the following year, 1840, I read Sir C.
1927Bell's admirable work on expression, and this greatly increased
1928the interest which I felt in the subject, though I could not at
1929all agree with his belief that various muscles had been specially
1930created for the sake of expression.  From this time forward I
1931occasionally attended to the subject, both with respect to man
1932and our domesticated animals.  My book sold largely; 5267 copies
1933having been disposed of on the day of publication.
1934
1935In the summer of 1860 I was idling and resting near Hartfield,
1936where two species of Drosera abound; and I noticed that numerous
1937insects had been entrapped by the leaves.  I carried home some
1938plants, and on giving them insects saw the movements of the
1939tentacles, and this made me think it probable that the insects
1940were caught for some special purpose.  Fortunately a crucial test
1941occurred to me, that of placing a large number of leaves in
1942various nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous fluids of equal density;
1943and as soon as I found that the former alone excited energetic
1944movements, it was obvious that here was a fine new field for
1945investigation.
1946
1947During subsequent years, whenever I had leisure, I pursued my
1948experiments, and my book on 'Insectivorous Plants' was published
1949in July 1875--that is, sixteen years after my first observations.
1950The delay in this case, as with all my other books, has been a
1951great advantage to me; for a man after a long interval can
1952criticise his own work, almost as well as if it were that of
1953another person.  The fact that a plant should secrete, when
1954properly excited, a fluid containing an acid and ferment, closely
1955analogous to the digestive fluid of an animal, was certainly a
1956remarkable discovery.
1957
1958During this autumn of 1876 I shall publish on the 'Effects of
1959Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom.'  This
1960book will form a complement to that on the 'Fertilisation of
1961Orchids,' in which I showed how perfect were the means for cross-
1962fertilisation, and here I shall show how important are the
1963results.  I was led to make, during eleven years, the numerous
1964experiments recorded in this volume, by a mere accidental
1965observation; and indeed it required the accident to be repeated
1966before my attention was thoroughly aroused to the remarkable fact
1967that seedlings of self-fertilised parentage are inferior, even in
1968the first generation, in height and vigour to seedlings of cross-
1969fertilised parentage.  I hope also to republish a revised edition
1970of my book on Orchids, and hereafter my papers on dimorphic and
1971trimorphic plants, together with some additional observations on
1972allied points which I never have had time to arrange.  My
1973strength will then probably be exhausted, and I shall be ready to
1974exclaim "Nunc dimittis."
1975
1976WRITTEN MAY 1ST, 1881.
1977
1978'The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation' was published in
1979the autumn of 1876; and the results there arrived at explain, as
1980I believe, the endless and wonderful contrivances for the
1981transportal of pollen from one plant to another of the same
1982species.  I now believe, however, chiefly from the observations
1983of Hermann Muller, that I ought to have insisted more strongly
1984than I did on the many adaptations for self-fertilisation; though
1985I was well aware of many such adaptations.  A much enlarged
1986edition of my 'Fertilisation of Orchids' was published in 1877.
1987
1988In this same year 'The Different Forms of Flowers, etc.,'
1989appeared, and in 1880 a second edition.  This book consists
1990chiefly of the several papers on Heterostyled flowers originally
1992added, together with observations on some other cases in which
1993the same plant bears two kinds of flowers.  As before remarked,
1994no little discovery of mine ever gave me so much pleasure as the
1995making out the meaning of heterostyled flowers.  The results of
1996crossing such flowers in an illegitimate manner, I believe to be
1997very important, as bearing on the sterility of hybrids; although
1998these results have been noticed by only a few persons.
1999
2000In 1879, I had a translation of Dr. Ernst Krause's 'Life of
2001Erasmus Darwin' published, and I added a sketch of his character
2002and habits from material in my possession.  Many persons have
2003been much interested by this little life, and I am surprised that
2004only 800 or 900 copies were sold.
2005
2006In 1880 I published, with [my son] Frank's assistance, our 'Power
2007of Movement in Plants.'  This was a tough piece of work.  The
2008book bears somewhat the same relation to my little book on
2009'Climbing Plants,' which 'Cross-Fertilisation' did to the
2010'Fertilisation of Orchids;' for in accordance with the principle
2011of evolution it was impossible to account for climbing plants
2012having been developed in so many widely different groups unless
2013all kinds of plants possess some slight power of movement of an
2014analogous kind.  This I proved to be the case; and I was further
2015led to a rather wide generalisation, viz. that the great and
2016important classes of movements, excited by light, the attraction
2017of gravity, etc., are all modified forms of the fundamental
2018movement of circumnutation.  It has always pleased me to exalt
2019plants in the scale of organised beings; and I therefore felt an
2020especial pleasure in showing how many and what admirably well
2021adapted movements the tip of a root possesses.
2022
2023I have now (May 1, 1881) sent to the printers the MS. of a little
2024book on 'The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of
2025Worms.'  This is a subject of but small importance; and I know
2026not whether it will interest any readers (Between November 1881
2027and February 1884, 8500 copies have been sold.), but it has
2028interested me.  It is the completion of a short paper read before
2029the Geological Society more than forty years ago, and has revived
2030old geological thoughts.
2031
2032I have now mentioned all the books which I have published, and
2033these have been the milestones in my life, so that little remains
2034to be said.  I am not conscious of any change in my mind during
2035the last thirty years, excepting in one point presently to be
2036mentioned; nor, indeed, could any change have been expected
2037unless one of general deterioration.  But my father lived to his
2038eighty-third year with his mind as lively as ever it was, and all
2039his faculties undimmed; and I hope that I may die before my mind
2040fails to a sensible extent.  I think that I have become a little
2041more skilful in guessing right explanations and in devising
2042experimental tests; but this may probably be the result of mere
2043practice, and of a larger store of knowledge.  I have as much
2044difficulty as ever in expressing myself clearly and concisely;
2045and this difficulty has caused me a very great loss of time; but
2046it has had the compensating advantage of forcing me to think long
2047and intently about every sentence, and thus I have been led to
2048see errors in reasoning and in my own observations or those of
2049others.
2050
2051There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind leading me to put
2052at first my statement or proposition in a wrong or awkward form.
2053Formerly I used to think about my sentences before writing them
2054down; but for several years I have found that it saves time to
2055scribble in a vile hand whole pages as quickly as I possibly can,
2056contracting half the words; and then correct deliberately.
2057Sentences thus scribbled down are often better ones than I could
2058have written deliberately.
2059
2060Having said thus much about my manner of writing, I will add that
2061with my large books I spend a good deal of time over the general
2062arrangement of the matter.  I first make the rudest outline in
2063two or three pages, and then a larger one in several pages, a few
2064words or one word standing for a whole discussion or series of
2065facts.  Each one of these headings is again enlarged and often
2066transferred before I begin to write in extenso.  As in several of
2067my books facts observed by others have been very extensively
2068used, and as I have always had several quite distinct subjects in
2069hand at the same time, I may mention that I keep from thirty to
2070forty large portfolios, in cabinets with labelled shelves, into
2071which I can at once put a detached reference or memorandum.  I
2072have bought many books, and at their ends I make an index of all
2073the facts that concern my work; or, if the book is not my own,
2074write out a separate abstract, and of such abstracts I have a
2075large drawer full.  Before beginning on any subject I look to all
2076the short indexes and make a general and classified index, and by
2077taking the one or more proper portfolios I have all the
2078information collected during my life ready for use.
2079
2080I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the
2081last twenty or thirty years.  Up to the age of thirty, or beyond
2082it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray,
2083Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great
2084pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in
2085Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays.  I have also
2086said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very
2087great delight.  But now for many years I cannot endure to read a
2088line of poetry:  I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and
2089found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.  I have also
2090almost lost my taste for pictures or music.  Music generally sets
2091me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on,
2092instead of giving me pleasure.  I retain some taste for fine
2093scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it
2094formerly did.  On the other hand, novels which are works of the
2095imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years
2096a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all
2097novelists.  A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I
2098like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily--
2099against which a law ought to be passed.  A novel, according to my
2100taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some
2101person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all
2102the better.
2103
2104This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes
2105is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels
2106(independently of any scientific facts which they may contain),
2107and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever
2108they did.  My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for
2109grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why
2110this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain
2111alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive.  A
2112man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than
2113mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to
2114live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry
2115and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps
2116the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept
2117active through use.  The loss of these tastes is a loss of
2118happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and
2119more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional
2120part of our nature.
2121
2122My books have sold largely in England, have been translated into
2123many languages, and passed through several editions in foreign
2124countries.  I have heard it said that the success of a work
2125abroad is the best test of its enduring value.  I doubt whether
2126this is at all trustworthy; but judged by this standard my name
2127ought to last for a few years.  Therefore it may be worth while
2128to try to analyse the mental qualities and the conditions on
2129which my success has depended; though I am aware that no man can
2130do this correctly.
2131
2132I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so
2133remarkable in some clever men, for instance, Huxley.  I am
2134therefore a poor critic:  a paper or book, when first read,
2135generally excites my admiration, and it is only after
2136considerable reflection that I perceive the weak points.  My
2137power to follow a long and purely abstract train of thought is
2138very limited; and therefore I could never have succeeded with
2139metaphysics or mathematics.  My memory is extensive, yet hazy:
2140it suffices to make me cautious by vaguely telling me that I have
2141observed or read something opposed to the conclusion which I am
2142drawing, or on the other hand in favour of it; and after a time I
2143can generally recollect where to search for my authority.  So
2144poor in one sense is my memory, that I have never been able to
2145remember for more than a few days a single date or a line of
2146poetry.
2147
2148Some of my critics have said, "Oh, he is a good observer, but he
2149has no power of reasoning!"  I do not think that this can be
2150true, for the 'Origin of Species' is one long argument from the
2151beginning to the end, and it has convinced not a few able men.
2152No one could have written it without having some power of
2153reasoning.  I have a fair share of invention, and of common sense
2154or judgment, such as every fairly successful lawyer or doctor
2155must have, but not, I believe, in any higher degree.
2156
2157On the favourable side of the balance, I think that I am superior
2158to the common run of men in noticing things which easily escape
2159attention, and in observing them carefully.  My industry has been
2160nearly as great as it could have been in the observation and
2161collection of facts.  What is far more important, my love of
2162natural science has been steady and ardent.
2163
2164This pure love has, however, been much aided by the ambition to
2165be esteemed by my fellow naturalists.  From my early youth I have
2166had the strongest desire to understand or explain whatever I
2167observed,--that is, to group all facts under some general laws.
2168These causes combined have given me the patience to reflect or
2169ponder for any number of years over any unexplained problem.  As
2170far as I can judge, I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of
2171other men.  I have steadily endeavoured to keep my mind free so
2172as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot
2173resist forming one on every subject), as soon as facts are shown
2174to be opposed to it.  Indeed, I have had no choice but to act in
2175this manner, for with the exception of the Coral Reefs, I cannot
2176remember a single first-formed hypothesis which had not after a
2177time to be given up or greatly modified.  This has naturally led
2178me to distrust greatly deductive reasoning in the mixed sciences.
2179On the other hand, I am not very sceptical,--a frame of mind
2180which I believe to be injurious to the progress of science.  A
2181good deal of scepticism in a scientific man is advisable to avoid
2182much loss of time, but I have met with not a few men, who, I feel
2183sure, have often thus been deterred from experiment or
2184observations, which would have proved directly or indirectly
2185serviceable.
2186
2187In illustration, I will give the oddest case which I have known.
2188A gentleman (who, as I afterwards heard, is a good local
2189botanist) wrote to me from the Eastern counties that the seed or
2190beans of the common field-bean had this year everywhere grown on
2191the wrong side of the pod.  I wrote back, asking for further
2192information, as I did not understand what was meant; but I did
2193not receive any answer for a very long time.  I then saw in two
2194newspapers, one published in Kent and the other in Yorkshire,
2195paragraphs stating that it was a most remarkable fact that "the
2196beans this year had all grown on the wrong side."  So I thought
2197there must be some foundation for so general a statement.
2198Accordingly, I went to my gardener, an old Kentish man, and asked
2200no, sir, it must be a mistake, for the beans grow on the wrong
2201side only on leap-year, and this is not leap-year."  I then asked
2202him how they grew in common years and how on leap-years, but soon
2203found that he knew absolutely nothing of how they grew at any
2204time, but he stuck to his belief.
2205
2206After a time I heard from my first informant, who, with many
2207apologies, said that he should not have written to me had he not
2208heard the statement from several intelligent farmers; but that he
2209had since spoken again to every one of them, and not one knew in
2210the least what he had himself meant.  So that here a belief--if
2211indeed a statement with no definite idea attached to it can be
2213without any vestige of evidence.
2214
2215I have known in the course of my life only three intentionally
2216falsified statements, and one of these may have been a hoax (and
2217there have been several scientific hoaxes) which, however, took
2218in an American Agricultural Journal.  It related to the formation
2219in Holland of a new breed of oxen by the crossing of distinct
2220species of Bos (some of which I happen to know are sterile
2221together), and the author had the impudence to state that he had
2222corresponded with me, and that I had been deeply impressed with
2223the importance of his result.  The article was sent to me by the
2224editor of an English Agricultural Journal, asking for my opinion
2225before republishing it.
2226
2227A second case was an account of several varieties, raised by the
2228author from several species of Primula, which had spontaneously
2229yielded a full complement of seed, although the parent plants had
2230been carefully protected from the access of insects.  This
2231account was published before I had discovered the meaning of
2232heterostylism, and the whole statement must have been fraudulent,
2233or there was neglect in excluding insects so gross as to be
2234scarcely credible.
2235
2236The third case was more curious:  Mr. Huth published in his book
2237on 'Consanguineous Marriage' some long extracts from a Belgian
2238author, who stated that he had interbred rabbits in the closest
2239manner for very many generations, without the least injurious
2240effects.  The account was published in a most respectable
2241Journal, that of the Royal Society of Belgium; but I could not
2242avoid feeling doubts--I hardly know why, except that there were
2243no accidents of any kind, and my experience in breeding animals
2244made me think this very improbable.
2245
2246So with much hesitation I wrote to Professor Van Beneden, asking
2247him whether the author was a trustworthy man.  I soon heard in
2249that the whole account was a fraud.  (The falseness of the
2250published statements on which Mr. Huth relied has been pointed
2251out by himself in a slip inserted in all the copies of his book
2252which then remained unsold.)  The writer had been publicly
2253challenged in the Journal to say where he had resided and kept
2254his large stock of rabbits while carrying on his experiments,
2255which must have consumed several years, and no answer could be
2256extracted from him.
2257
2258My habits are methodical, and this has been of not a little use
2259for my particular line of work.  Lastly, I have had ample leisure
2260from not having to earn my own bread.  Even ill-health, though it
2261has annihilated several years of my life, has saved me from the
2262distractions of society and amusement.
2263
2264Therefore my success as a man of science, whatever this may have
2265amounted to, has been determined, as far as I can judge, by
2266complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions.  Of
2267these, the most important have been--the love of science--
2268unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject--industry
2269in observing and collecting facts--and a fair share of invention
2270as well as of common sense.  With such moderate abilities as I
2271possess, it is truly surprising that I should have influenced to
2272a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on some
2273important points.
2274
2275