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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. T. Gulick   6 August 1872

Frindsbury Hill | Rochester

Aug. 6th. 1872.

Dear Sir

I am sorry I did not think to take my paper “On Diversity of Evolution” with me when I visited you on Friday, I should then have been more ready to fall in with your kind suggestion to call the attention of Sir John Lubbock and the General Secretaries to the same.1

I have not yet heard from the Secretaries Dr. T. Thomson and Capt. Douglas Galton with whom the acceptance of papers rests;2 A paper that deals so largely with theories is very liable to be thrown out, unless it is decided upon, or is recommended, by one who appreciates its bearing upon theories that have already awakened the greatest interest.

That you may be able to judge something of the nature of my paper I give the heading of the sections and a few short extracts.

In the “Origin of species” in the last sentence of the Introduction you say. “I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the most important but not the exclusive means of modification.”3

I have attempted to suggest some of the other conditions that have influence.

Yours sincerely | John T. Gulick

Address | Care of Mrs Delacour4 | Frindsbury Hill | Rochester


Sinopsis of Paper On Diversity of Evolution under one set of External Conditions By Rev. J. T. Gulick

Relations of the Subjects

“The term Nat. Selection expresses a law which can act only where there is variation. What then is the effect of these variations where the external conditions remain the same? If the initiation of change in the organism is through change in the “Environment” by what law is the cessation of change determined? If change continues in the Organism long after the essential conditions of the “Environment” have become stationary, how do we know that it is not perpetual?

Does the change whether transitory or continuous expend itself in producing from each species placed in the new “Environment just one new species completely fitted to the conditions, or may it produce from one stock many that are equally fitted? If the latter what is the law or condition that determines their number, their affinities, and the size & position of their respective areas as related to each other & to the whole available area?

Separation & Variation correlative factors in the Evolution of Species

Migration & Variation opposing factors in the Limitation of Areas.

The Nat. Selection that prevents Variation.

Stability of type in Island fauna impaired

1st. By freedom from the kind of Competition that limits Variation

2nd By Competition accelerating Variation

3rd By continual change in the character of the Nat. Selection

Imaginary Cases illustrating Evolution

Changes that would follow the introduction of hostile animals


Gulick had visited CD at Down House on 2 August 1872 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). He hoped to present his paper at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which was held in Brighton from 14 to 21 August 1872. John Lubbock was a vice-president of the British Association, and the president of the biology section (Report of the 42d meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1872), pp. xlvi–xlvii).
Douglas Galton was one of the general secretaries of the British Association; the other was Michael Foster, not Thomas Thomson (Report of the 42d meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1872), p. xlvii).
Origin, p. 6.
Anne De La Cour.


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Sends synopsis of his paper "On diversity of evolution" [J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Zool.) 11 (1873): 496–505] in which he attempts to show some of the means, other than natural selection, of modification of species.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Thomas Gulick
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 240
Physical description
ALS 4pp, encl 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8453,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

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