Asks that in the event of his death, Emma should have the sketch of his species theory edited and published. Suggests possible editors, among them Lyell, Edward Forbes, and J. D. Hooker. [CD annotation on cover: "Hooker by far best man to edit my species volume Aug 1854".]
My. Dear. Emma.
I have just finished my sketch of my species theory. If, as I believe that my theory is true & if it be accepted even by one competent judge, it will be a considerable step in science.
I therefore write this, in case of my sudden death, as my most solemn & last request, which I am sure you will consider the same as if legally entered in my will, that you will devote 400£ to its publication & further will yourself, or through Hensleigh, take trouble in promoting it.— I wish that my sketch be given to some competent person, with this sum to induce him to take trouble in its improvement. & enlargement.— I give to him all my Books on Natural History, which are either scored or have references at end to the pages, begging him carefully to look over & consider such passages, as actually bearing or by possibility bearing on this subject.— I wish you to make a list of all such books, as some temptation to an Editor. I also request that you hand over him all those scraps roughly divided in eight or ten brown paper Portfolios:— The scraps with copied quotations from various works are those which may aid my Editor.— I also request that you (or some amanuensis) will aid in deciphering any of the scraps which the Editor may think possibly of use.— I leave to the Editor's judgment whether to interpolate these facts in the text, or as notes, or under appendices. As the looking over the references & scraps will be a long labour, & as the correcting & enlarging & altering my sketch will also take considerable time, I leave this sum of 400£ as some remuneration & any profits from the work.— I consider that for this the Editor is bound to get the sketch published either at a Publishers or his own risk. Many of the scraps in the Portfolios contains mere rude suggestions & early views now useless, & many of the facts will probably turn out as having no bearing on my theory.
With respect to Editors.— M
Should one other hundred Pounds, make the difference of procuring a good Editor, I request earnestly that you will raise 500£.
My remaining collection in Natural History, may be given to anyone or any Museum, where
My dear Wife | Yours affect | C. R. Darwin
If there sh
PS | Lyell, especially with the aid of Hooker (& of any good zoological aid) would be best of all
Without an Editor will pledge himself to give up time to it, it would be of no use paying such a sum.—
- f1 761.f1Usually known as the essay of 1844, the name given to it by Francis Darwin, who published it with the pencil sketch of 1842 (Foundations; republished in de Beer ed. 1958).
- f2 761.f2Hensleigh Wedgwood.
- f3 761.f3The Cambridge University Library handlist entitled ‘Darwin Library: List of books received in the University Library Cambridge March–May, 1961’ records which works in the collection have CD annotations. A complete listing of CD's marginalia in these books is being prepared by Mario di Gregorio. An earlier catalogue compiled at Francis Darwin's request by H. W. Rutherford lists the books from CD's library as they were in 1908 (Rutherford 1908).
- f4 761.f4After 1839, CD began the practice of filing his notes in separate classified portfolios. Many of the ‘scraps’ are still preserved together in various DAR volumes, e.g., DAR 46.1 has the notes assembled for writing ‘Struggle for existence’, chapter five of Natural selection, later chapter three of the Origin; other loose notes are in DAR 205.1 to DAR 205.11.
- f5 761.f5After this sentence CD wrote ‘or M
rLonsdale (if his health w dpermit).’ These words were deleted by CD, possibly at the same time as other alterations made to the letter, see nn. 6, 7, and 8, below.
- f6 761.f6The passage ‘D
r Hooker … Editor——’ was written in the margin next to paragraph three; the intended position in the letter is unclear. CD at first wrote ‘——possibly he would do as Editor——’ and then, perhaps at a later date, altered it to read ‘probably——he’.
- f7 761.f7The sentence ‘D
rHooker would be very good’ was added by CD, probably at the same time as he changed his previous remarks about Hooker (see n. 6, above) and queried Henslow's name (see Manuscript alterations and comments).
- f8 761.f8After this sentence CD wrote and later deleted ‘Professor Owen w
dbe very good, but I presume he w dnot undertake such a work.’
- f9 761.f9Francis Darwin (LL 2: 18) suggested that the words ‘several years ago’ were added later, but there is no evidence for this.
- f10 761.f10Ten years later, CD made the following note in pencil on the cover: ‘Hooker by far best man to edit my Species volume | Aug. 1854’. Another note in pencil on the cover, which has been crossed out, apparently by CD, reads: ‘NB When new Will made make Trusts open.’ CD also made pencil notes and markings inside the letter, presumably at the same time: the first page has been crossed out (ending with the sentence ‘I wish you to make a list of all such books, as some temptation to an Editor.’ 2.10) and at the top of the first page, the instruction ‘Read Enclosure’ was added. The enclosure has not been found. The pencil notes were undoubtedly connected with CD's intention to write his ‘big book’ (Natural selection). On 9 September 1854 he began sorting his species notes in preparation (see CD's ‘Journal’ (DAR 158); de Beer 1959, p. 13).