RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1992. Draft of Origin of species, Sect. VI, folio 214. Sotheby's. Darwin's century: The Jeremy Norman collection. London Friday 11th December 1992. London, pp. 44-5.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe. RN3

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here. From the 1992 auction catalogue description (p. 45): "Important leaf from the autograph manuscript of 'On the Origin of Species', about Creation and Natural Selection, corresponding to ninteen lines of page 194 of Chapter VI ('Difficulties on Theory'), I page, folio, numbered '214' by Darwin in upper right hand corner (1859) ... The text of this manuscript differs from the printed version in a number of ways. Where, for instance, Darwin writes, 'Why should not Nature take a leap?' in the printed version the question finishes with the words 'from structure to structure?' £4,000-5,000". (Sold for £8,500 Waxman.)
This Origin draft leaf was published again in Sotheby's The library of Irwin Silver: New York April 26, 2005. (N08094, Lot 29). New York: Sotheby's, frontispiece and pp. 45-7 with colour photographs. Text & image F3555.

See the introduction to the Origin of species drafts by John van Wyhe

The text of the draft corresponds to Origin, Chapter VI, Difficulties on theory, p. 194.

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Sect VI. Transitions of organs

extinct, I have been astonished how rarely an organ can be found, towards which we can discover no transitional grade is known to lead. The truth of this fact is indeed shown by that old canon in natural history, "natura non facit saltum". We meet with this admission in the writings of almost every experienced naturalist; or, as Milne Edwards has well expressed it, nature is prodigal of in variety but niggard in innovation. Why, on the theory of Creation, should this be so? why if each organic being & each all organs has been separately created for its proper place in nature, in nature, should all its organs be so generally linked together  found to be linked by graduated steps with the organs of other independently created beings? Why should not nature take a leap? On the theory of natural selection we can clearly understand this why she should not not; for natural selection can march progress only by the slowest shortest & shortest slowest steps, & can never take a leap.)


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

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