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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Green   30 January 1872

Nassau, Bahamas.

January 30th. 1872

Mr Charles Darwin | England

Dear Sir

For a long time, I have had it in my mind to write, but have postponed it till the present. My object is, to call your attention to the writings of A. J. Davis—1 I have been much interested in them for 25 Years, as well as in your writings. He has written on many subjects, as for instance

on the origin of man
on the origin of motion, from which is successively developed Life—sensation & intelligence
on the philosophy of evil
on who, and what is God
on the mode of producing rain at pleasure
on the laws of Creation as it is called, in which he maintains that every thing that exists is the necessary result of an anticedent cause, consequently nothing was ever created in the usual sense of that term
on the final result, or termination of all forms of matter.
A Scientific proof of the natural & necessary formation of the Second Sphere of mans existence, as emanations from the worlds existing in space, as natural as the rings around Saturn—

These are a few of the many Subjects which he has written upon— In his work on the origin of man, he maintains that he is a developement from the lower Kingdoms, and comes to the same result as you do, but not in the same mode as you suggest— On the supposition that you are not acquaintd with his writings, I will send you 2 or 3 of them, if they would be acceptable, and more of them, in case after reading those, you would like others— I would be pleased to do so, as my contribution to Science— I became acquainted with him about 25 Years ago, when he was dictating his first book. Natures Divine revelations.2 he was then a raw country boy—had never been to school over 6 mos,—had never read any books—born of very poor, but respectable parents—always had poor social surroundings— I don’t believe that he has ever read a sientific book to this day, and I doubt if he has ever read a book— After he had finishd. the Revelations above spoken of, he was very poor, and I was so well pleased with the book, that I took him into my family, that he might be free from material cares, and he be enable to write more if he wished to do so— the next book he wrote on my lawn, as fast as any one would ordinarily write—3 it was ready for the press as written, he says that he never has to correct what he writes— In his writings he often quotes from authors that he has never heard of, naming the page of the book— In answer to a question of mine how he does this, he says, that when any thing has been written which is applicable to his subject, the book appears open before him and he reads it off—

He holds that there never was any particular gift to any person— that what he does, or what any man ever did, belongs to the race, and is only more developed in some, than in others— Some years ago, he said to me that he would like to have questions put to him— that it seemed to him that he could answer them, if proper questioning—

From his own Self developement, he has become very intelligent upon most subjects, without study or instruction— Has an extremely well balanced temperament—so that his self command is about perfect.— In the 25 Years that I have been intimate with him, I have never seen him thrown off his balance— in answer to my question as to how he could remain unmoved under circumstances in which I have seen him placed—he answerd that he thought there was nothing that could transpire of sufficient importance in his mind to disturb his equilibrium— In my mind he is a phenomenon which scientific men should investigate,— I am tolerably acquainted with the history of most of those men who have left their impress upon the world, but none of them to my mind compare with Mr Davis— We may not have another like him for a long while— he is now 45 Years old— I think that Jesus was the greatest phenomenon we have had in times past, but he could not or did not give the philosophy of the powers he exercised but I think, he rather concluded that they were a Special Gift from God.— I will append an extract from one of his books, in answer to a question put to him on the origin of man4 Question. Mr Davis, in your answer to a correspondents question “why are not men and animals produced now, as they were at first?—you say “I do observe a time, when the highest animals started thro’ the reproductive organism of the prepared female” &c, now the question I wish answered is this: What do you mean by the prepared female?

Answer.— Readers of the volume of nature, observe that each chapter of material developement, is marked by deep-reaching changes in the fluids & solids of the globe— Vast crises, and earth-wide revolutions—accompanied by the retirement or extinction of one lot of physical conditions, and followed by the inauguration of new and superior circumstances in the material constitution of things. These changes, or crises, or revolutions, or whatever else you wish to term these transition points, and passages in the globe, are far more perfect, and therefore less conspicuous, and less remarkable, in the world of organised animation. By clairvoyance we anticipate the results of scientific discovery, which will be this doctrine of the origin of the Human Species: That mankind came not from the progressive transformation of the physical organisms of the superior animals, or Troglodytes, but by & through the advanced reproductive organisms of females of the ante-human types, which had in this particular respect, arrived at a fruit bearing crisis, or change, in regard to procreation, whereby a higher type (the first human organisms) entered upon existence. The particular philosophy of all this will be explained in our little volume on the Reproductive organism”.—

Some of his answers to my questions I cannot understand, as for instance, he calls Love and thought material; & several other questions

All his writings are in process of translation in Germany by C. G. Wittig in the employ of some person on the continent— His Autobiography, & 4 vols of the Harmonia have been completed & perhaps others—5

Should you desire any further communication on this subject, I shall be pleased to respond, and if you wish the books, please say how you would have them sent— I am spending the winter in this island— shall return home about 15 April next. Any letter will reach me by being addressed to me “Llewellyn Park, Orange N J. box 164

Very Respectfully | Yours William Green


Andrew Jackson Davis.
Davis’s Principles of nature, her divine revelations and a voice to mankind was first published in 1847 (Davis 1847).
Davis 1872 (The penetralia: being harmonial answers to important questions).
The extract is from Davis’s Harbinger of health, pp. 301–2 (Davis 1862).
The first volume of Davis’s Great harmonia (Davis 1850–68), and Magic staff: an autobiography (Davis 1857) were translated into German by Gregor Constantin Wittig (Davis 1867, Davis 1868).


Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1847. The principles of nature, her divine revelations, and a voice to mankind. New York: S. S. Lyon and Wm Fishbough.

Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1850–68. The great harmonia: being a philosophical revelation of the natural, spiritual, and celestial universe. 5 vols. New York and Boston: Benjamin B. Mussey & Co [and others].

Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1857. The magic staff: an autobiography. New York: J. S. Brown & Co. Boston: Bela Marsh.

Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1862. The harbinger of health: containing medical prescriptions for the human body and mind. New York: the author.

Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1867. Harmonische Philosophie: über die physiologischen Laster und Tugenden und die sieben Phasen der Ehe. Authorised translation by Gregor Constantin Wittig. Leipzig: Franz Wagner.

Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1868. Der Zauber-Stab: eine Autobiographie des amerikanischen Sehers und Verkündigers der "Harmonischen Philosophie" Andrew Jackson Davis. Translated by Alexander Aksakow and Gregor Constantin Wittig. Leipzig: Wagner.

Davis, Andrew Jackson. 1872. The penetralia: being harmonial answers to important questions. Boston: Colby & Rich.


Calls CD’s attention to Andrew Jackson Davis’ work on the origin of man,

philosophy of evil,

the mode of producing rain at pleasure,

and who and what is God.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Green
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Nassau, Bahamas
Source of text
DAR 165: 222–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8189,” accessed on 11 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20