RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [c. 1876] [Draft fragment of autobiography 'I gained much by my delay'] CUL-DAR53.2.140 Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker and edited by John van WYhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 9.2009. RN1

NOTE: This document is written in ink on blue paper measuring 22 x 33 cm. The lower left half is excised.

This is part of a rough draft of Darwin's Autobiography. A fair copy, also in Darwin's handwriting, is found in DAR26. The same passage as drafted here is found on f. 96 here. It is interesting to note that when originally drafting this sentence Darwin appears to have written: 'I gained much by the delay in the publishing from 1839 by what to me...I lost nothing by the delay' — wording different from that in the fair copy and in the published autobiography: 'I gained much by my delay in publishing from about 1839, when the theory was clearly conceived, to 1859; & I lost nothing by it'. See van Wyhe 2007.

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


(6 140a

[I gained much by the my my delay in the publishing from 1839, by what to me when the theory was clearly conceived, to 1859; & I lost nothing by the delay by it; Wallace's Essay for I cared very little whether men attributed most originality to me or to Mr Wallace; & his essay no doubt aided in the reception of the theory. I was forestalled in only one important point, which my vanity has always made me regret, namely the explanation of the p by means they of some glacial period of the presence of the same species of plants & of some animals on distant mountain summits & in the arctic regions. This theory pleased me so much that I had written wrote it out in extenso some years before it was published & it

[remainder of the fragment is not transcribed]

[The lower half of the page is partly excised and hence only shows partial sentences]

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

File last updated 2 July, 2012