Charles Darwin had been working on his ideas of Natural Selection since he returned from the Beagle voyage in 1836. He amassed evidence to develop and support his ideas, gathering information from correspondents all over the world.
In 1842 and 1844 Darwin produced long sketches of his ideas, but was in no hurry to publish; despite encouragement to do so. In 1858 he received a letter and essay from Alfred Wallace that forced him to review his situation.
This pack explores Darwin’s personal dilemma and the background to an event that altered the course of scientific thinking. What was the impact of Darwin’s publication, On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection? What did it mean to Victorian society? Just how dangerous was Darwin?
Read the letters to explore Darwin’s dilemma about the publication of his book and find out more about those involved.
Charles Darwin to Joseph Hooker
8 June 1858Darwin writes to thank Hooker for his positive responses to the manuscript that he has sent him (a draft version of On the Origin of Species). Darwin expresses gratitude and humility that Hooker did not think that his ‘life’s work’ was ‘bosh’.
George Peacock to John Stevens HenslowGeorge Peacock writes to ask Henslow to recommend a naturalist to accompany Captain Fitzroy on the Beagle voyage. He stresses that it is a rare and great opportunity.