RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1858.10.23-11.13]. Draft of Origin of species, Sect. VI, folio 201. Lehigh-MS-ALS-Darwin-C.18xx. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2022, 11.2023. RN3

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of Special Collections, Lehigh University Libraries, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA and William Huxley Darwin. The manuscript was a gift from Robert B. Honeyman to his alma mater, 8 September 1928. Honeyman procured much of his collection through his agent Warren Howell of John Howell Books in San Francisco. The collection was kept in Honeyman's private museum at Rancho Los Cerritos near Mission San Juan Capistrano, California. The manuscript is bound into a volume, thus the left edge of the paper is obscured by the gutter of the volume. Deckel edge not visible. It is noteworthy that the upper left corner does not appear to be damaged like the preceding folios and folio 202 immediately following. This suggests that this folio was long stored elsewhere while the others suffered the damage to their upper left corners.
This may be the manuscript that was sold at the American Art Association Inc. in February 1924 from the collection of William F. Gable of Altoona, Pennsylvania. From the auction description: "A sheet of Original Manuscript from the Origin of Species, with heading, transitional habits. Entirely in Darwin's Autograph, consisting of about 225 words written in ink on one side of a folio sheet of blue paper. Unsigned. Exceedingly Interesting Mss."

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, pp. 185-6. [word at page break in green]



Sect VI. transitional habits

water-hen is nearly as aquatic as the coot, & the land-rail nearly as terrestrial as the quail & partridge. In such cases, & many could be given, habits have changed without a corresponding change of structure: the webbed feet of an upland goose are rudimentary in function, though not in structure; in the frigate-birds, the deeply scooped membrane between the toes shows that structure has begun to change.) (He who believes in separate & innumerable acts of creation will say that in these cases it has pleased the Creator to make a new creation being of one type take the place of one of another type; which but this seems to me only repeating restating the fact in dignified language. He who believes [in] natural selection, will acknowledge that everywhere each organism is constantly struggling to increase in numbers; & that if it vary ever so little & her gains some advantage over the other inhabitants of the same country, it will seize on any place whatever in the economy of nature, however different may be from its own original place & Hence it will cause him no surprise, that there should be webbed upland geese [illeg] living on the dry land, webbed frigate-birds never most rarely alighting on the water, long-toed corn-crakes living in meadows,


[annotation in another hand:]

MSS. Darwin's Origin of Species


[hand-written paper label:]

Professor Darwin

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

File last updated 24 November, 2023