RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 'With respect to whether Galapagos beings are species' [abstract of Macculloch Attributes of deity vol 1]. CUL-DAR205.5.167 Transcribed by John van Wyhe. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe 10.2009. RN1

NOTE: These notes are part of Darwin abstract of volume one of John Macculloch's Proofs and illustrations of the attributes of God from the facts and laws of the physical universe, being the foundation of natural and revealed religion. London: J. Duncan. 3 vols. (1837).

Darwin's abstracts of this work are now found in three locations in the Darwin Archive at Cambridge University Library, the largest are in DAR71.53-59, DAR205.5.28-29, and those below (DAR205.5.167). Another fragment is in Old & Useless Notes. It was published with important commentary in Barrett, P. H., Gautrey, P. J., Herbert, S., Kohn, D., Smith, S. eds. 1987. Charles Darwin's notebooks, 1836-1844 : Geology, transmutation of species, metaphysical enquiries. British Museum (Natural History); Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (F1817), pp. 639-40.

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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


With respect to whether Galapagos beings are species, it should be remembered that Naturalists are prone, fortunately, to take their ideas, which are arbitrary & empirical, from their own Faunas, which in this case is only true criterion.— Hence it is highly unphilosophical to assert, that they are not species, until their breeding together has been tried.—

With respect to the six puppies, if a hare was introduced, or a spe became more numerous, (from death of its destroyer), or other cause, the long legged race would prevail, even if have afforded only 10th part before & now formed eighth part. — or if other prey diminished, total number of dogs, would diminish, whilst the long legged variety would prevail. — Not separately: NB. These views quite exclude the idea of domesticated animals changing—


From these views we can deduce why small islands, should possess many peculiar species. -for as long as physical change is in progress or is, present with respect to new arrivers, the small body of species would far more easily be changed.— Hence the Galapagos Islds are explained. On distinct Creation, how anomalous, that the smallest newest, & most wretched isld should possess species to themselves.—
Probably no case in world like Galapagos, no hurricanes.— islds never joined, nature & climate very different, from adjoining coast. Admirable explanation is thus offered. — from these views, one would infer that Mollusca would offer few species, or rather be very slowly changed & vertebrata much so. — so far true, but do not fish offer a most striking anomaly to this. Have they wide ranges? Agassiz has shewn that they most widely differ

1 Agassiz 1833-43.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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