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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Isaac Anderson-Henry   2 November 1867

Hay Lodge, Trinity, | Edinburgh.

Novr. 2/67

My dear Sir

Have you ever seen, or heard of “An Account of the regular Gradation in Man and in different Animals and Vegetables and from the former to the latter illustrated with Engravings adapted to the subject by Charles White Read to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester at different Meetings in the year 1795” published “London 1799”—an extraordinary Book and seems to have suggested to Lamarck if he ever saw it the theory which goes by his name.1 I have got my hands over the Book in a somewhat singular way. Going in two days ago into a second hand Book Depot I saw a gentleman closely engrossed upon the Book, which after a time he laid down saying he would call for it next Decemr   After he left I had the curiosity to glance at the Book and the first thing which attracted my attention was a Map or Engraving shewing on a graduated scale all the types among animals up to man, the lowest given being a Snipe.2 As the Book was not to be called for till next month, I asked,—& the Bookseller allowed me to see it; nay more, on my suggesting it, he was agreeable to my sending it on sight to a friend for week. So if you have not seen and should wish to see this Brochure,—a thin Quarto of 200 pages,—I could easily send it to you per post. It is a Clergyman of Dundee who is the buyer at 3/6!

The Author who dedicates to Sir Richd Clayton Bart.3 was a Medical man in Manchester   He sets out in the “Advertisement” that “he has no desire to elevate the Brute Creature to the rank of humanity, nor to reduce the human species to a level with the Brutes”4

Please say if you would like to see the book for the limited space allowed

With best wishes | I remain ever | Yours very faithfully | Is: Anderson Henry


Anderson-Henry refers to Charles White and C. White 1799; CD had read the work in May or June 1844, and considered it to be ‘a foolish book’ (see Correspondence vol. 13, Supplement, letter to Henry Denny, [27 July – 10 August 1844] and n. 6). Anderson-Henry also refers to Jean Baptiste de Lamarck.
The reference is to C. White 1799, plate 2, which shows gradations in the perpendicularity of a line drawn between the mouth and the front of the cranium in a series of silhouettes; the line in the silhouette of a European is shown as perpendicular, and in the head of a snipe as horizontal. Silhouettes of humans from other regions, and of an orang-utan, a monkey, several dogs, and a crocodile also appear in the plate to illustrate intermediate angles.
Richard Clayton was the father-in-law of Charles White.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

White, Charles. 1799. An account of the regular gradation in man, and in different animals and vegetables; and from the former to the latter. London: C. Dilly.


Will send proto-Lamarckian pamphlet [1799] by Charles White, if CD wishes. It has a graduated scale of types from snipe to man.

Letter details

Letter no.
Isaac Anderson/Isaac Anderson Henry
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 159: 71
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5668,” accessed on 5 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15