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Darwin Correspondence Project

Historical documents

Keeling atoll BHL.jpg

Inside an atoll, Keeling Island. Illustration by R. T. Pritchett. Charles Darwin, Journal of Researches (D. Appleton & co. 1890)
Biodiversity Heritage Library

Introduction to the Satire of FitzRoy's Narrative of the Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle

'a humble toadyish follower…': Not all pictures of Darwin during the Beagle voyage are flattering.  Published here for the first time is a complete transcript of a satirical account of the Beagle’s brief visit in 1836 to the Cocos Keeling islands. It was written by John Clunies Ross, a controversial figure, and one of the two European men who claimed to have first settled the islands and who took bitter exception to Darwin and FitzRoy’s later accounts of their history and geology. This edition of the ‘long, pugnacious and sometimes disturbing’ manuscript is made available courtesy of Dr Katharine Anderson, York University, Toronto.

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Dates of composition of Darwin's manuscript on species

Many of the dates of letters in 1856 and 1857 were based on or confirmed by reference to Darwin’s manuscript on species (DAR 8--15.1, inclusive; transcribed and published as Natural selection). This manuscript, begun in May 1856, was nearly completed by June 1858.

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'An Appeal' against animal cruelty

The four-page pamphlet transcribed below and entitled 'An Appeal', was composed jointly by Emma and Charles Darwin (see letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [29 September 1863]). The pamphlet, which protested against the cruelty of steel vermin-traps, was privately printed in July, and Emma organised the distribution of the pamphlet in August and September 1863 (see letter from G. B. Sowerby Jr to Emma Darwin, 22 July 1863 and n. 1, and letters from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [6–27 September 1863], 29 September [1863], and 8 December [1863]).

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Vivisection: Darwin's testimony to the Royal Commission

Wednesday, 3rd November 1875.

Mr. Charles Darwin called in and examined.

4661. (Chairman.) We are very sensible of your kindness in coming at some sacrifice to yourself to express your opinions to the Commission. We attribute it to the great interest which we know you take in the subject referred to us, both on the score of science and also on the score of humanity?

— Yes, I have felt a great interest in it.

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Vivisection: first sketch of the bill

Strictly Confidential

Mem: This print is only a first sketch. It is being now recast with a new & more simple form – but the substance of the proposed measure may be equally well seen in this draft.

R.B.L. | 2

586 Darwin and vivisection


Sketch of Bill, No. 1

Arrangement of sections.


Section 1. —Authority to make experiments may be granted by Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Home Department.

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Vivisection: BAAS committee report

Report British Assoc. Edinburgh 1871 p. 144

I No experiment which can be performed under the influence of an anasthetic ought to be done without it.

II No painful experiment is justifiable for the mere purpose of illustrating a law or fact already demonstrated; in other words, experimentation without the employment of anasthetics is not a fitting exhibition for teaching purposes.

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Essay: Evolutionary teleology

—by Asa Gray


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Essay: What is Darwinism?

—by Asa Gray


The Nation, May 28, 1874

The question which Dr. Hodge asks he promptly and decisively answers: ‘What is Darwinism? it is atheism.

Leaving aside all subsidiary and incidental matters, let us consider–1. What the Darwinian doctrine is, and 2. How it is proved to be atheistic. Dr. Hodge’s own statement of it cannot be very much bettered:

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Essay: Design versus necessity

—by Asa Gray


(American Journal of Science and Arts, September, 1860)

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