RECORD: Anon. 1882-3. The death of Mr. Darwin; Report of Council. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 12 (April): 229; (January 1883): 561.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 7.2022. RN1

NOTE: Rudler, Frederick William. (Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland). 1882.05.06. Letter to William Erasmus Darwin. CUL-DAR215.11a


[page] 229

THE DEATH OF MR. DARWIN.

Mr. Hyde CLARKE said that in the absence of the President, from indisposition, he had to comply with the instructions of the Council with regard to the death of him whose memory was present in the minds of all. The Council had that day passed a vote of sympathy with the Darwin family, and named a deputation of the Past Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and other officers of the Society to attend the funeral on the morrow in Westminster Abbey. Charles Darwin was connected with them by more than one tie. He had been elected an Honorary Member of the older Society, the Ethnological, then of the Anthropological Society, and on the fusion of the two he became in due course an Honorary Member of the Anthropological Institute. He (Mr. Clarke) could look back with some others to the old epoch of the Ethnological Society, when anthropology was a recognised science, in virtue of which that society existed; but a new era undoubtedly began in the advance instituted by their honoured members—Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. It was true that Darwin had popularised their science, but he had done very much more in making an impression on the thought of the world more marked than had been effected by any other man in his own lifetime. Of those labours of Darwin it was not necessary for him there to speak, for they were familiar to all present. Darwin had not contributed papers to their memoirs, for the works in which the results of his investigations were consecrated made claim enough on his time. He was, however, ever ready to give them the benefit of his counsel, as he (the speaker) remembered when the friends and associates of Darwin on the Council of the Ethnological Society—Sir John Lubbock, Professor Huxley, Sir Joseph Hooker, and others, claimed his aid in our behalf. In discharging the formal duty imposed on him, he was glad that Professor Flower was present to support what he had said, or rather to supply what he had omitted.

Professor Flower could not allow the opportunity to pass without stating how fully he sympathised with all that the Chairman had said about Mr. Darwin's work, and without adding a few words in reference to Mr. Darwin's character. To the value of the first the unanimous testimony of the civilised world had been abundantly given in the numerous notices that had appeared since his death. The latter, although it shone through every line that he wrote—so simple, so transparent and truthful he was in all he did—only those who had the great privilege of his personal friendship could fully estimate. It was, however, as much his worth as a man as his greatness as a philosopher that had called forth the expressions of homage now paid to him by persons of all parties and all creeds, and had procured for him the honour, so rarely accorded hitherto to men of science, of a funeral among the most illustrious of our countrymen, in our venerable Abbey.

[page] 561

Report of Council Annual General Meeting January 23rd, 1883.

Mr. CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN had been an Honorary Member of the Institute from the time of its formation in 1871, and had previously been an Honorary Fellow both of the Ethnological and of the Anthropological Society. So many notices of Mr. Darwin's life have recently appeared that it is unnecessary in this place to dwell upon its details. Born on February 12th, 1809, he was the son of Dr. R. W. Darwin, a physician of Shrewsbury. It is noteworthy that his grandfather on the one side was the famous Erasmus Darwin, and on his mother's side the equally famous Josiah Wedgwood. Mr. Darwin received his early education at the Shrewsbury Grammar School, and at the University of Cambridge; and it was under the influence of Professor Henslow, at Cambridge, that his love of natural science was first developed. In 1831 he started with Captain Fitzroy on the memorable voyage of the "Beagle," and during his five years of exploration laid the foundation of the great work of his life. It is needless in this exceedingly brief notice to enumerate the long list of Mr. Darwin's well-known writings. The unparalleled effect which these writings have produced in every department of natural science has been especially marked in Anthropology. It is true that our Journal does not contain any contribution from his pen; but he took a deep interest in the work of the Institute, and frequently quoted from our publications in his two great anthropological works, "The Descent of Man" and "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and the Lower Animals." Mr. Darwin died on the 19th of last April, and the Council of the Institute, at their Meeting on the 25th of that month, passed a vote of condolence with the family, while at the Evening Meeting of the same date a brief tribute was publicly paid to his work and character (see p. 229). A deputation) appointed by the Council attended Mr. Darwin's funeral, which took place in Westminster Abbey, on April 26th.


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