RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1858.11.13-30]. Draft of Origin of species, Sect. 7, folio 242. Dibner-MSS405A[.1]. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2022. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, Smithsonian Libraries and William Huxley Darwin. Sold for £140 at Sotheby's, London, in July 1958, described as "ONE FOLIO PAGE FROM THE AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF The Origin of Species, with revisions and deletions, 1 folio leaf, written on one side only, headed 'Sect. 7. Instinct' and numbered '242' *** The manuscript bears the following endorsement..." Buyer: Kyrle Fletcher. From the Dibner Library catalogue: "inscription on the verso from Henrietta (Darwin) Litchfield dated May/June 1902 presenting the page to Isobel Dods-Withers. This manuscript page, apparently one that was sold at Sotheby's London on July 21, 1958 (item 472)". Collected by Bern Dibner for his Burndy Library in Norwalk, Connecticut, founded in 1941. Donated to the Smithsonian Libraries in 1974 by Dibner. This manuscript was first published in Bern Dibner, Darwin of the Beagle, 1960 (Image PDF F363a). There are signs of a paperclip on the top and bottom of the page.

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

The text of the draft corresponds to Origin, Chapter VII, Instinct, p. 215.


[top left corner damaged]


Sect 7. Instincts

breed from the best pointers which will stand best. On the other hand, habit alone in some cases has have sufficed: no animal is more difficult to tame than the young of the wild rabbit, scarcely any animal is tamer than the young of the tame rabbit; yet I do not suppose that domestic rabbits have ever been selected for tameness; & I presume that we must attribute the whole of the inherited mental change inherited from extreme wildness to extreme tameness simply to habit & continued close confinement.

Natural instincts Instincts are lost by disuse under domestication; & a remarkable instance of this is seen in those breeds of fowls, which must rarely or never become "broody" or wish to sit incubate sit on their eggs.

Familiarity alone prevents us seeing how remarkably universally & largely the minds of our domestic animals have been largely greatly modified by domestication. It is scarcely possible to doubt that the love of man has become instinctive in the dog. And how changed in other respects our dogs have All the species of the Dog & wolves, foxes, jackalls & all species of the cats family genus, when kept partly tame, are most eager to attack poultry or sheep & pigs; & this tendency has been found [illeg] incurable with the dogs themselves, when which have been brought home as puppies from savages as those of Tierra del Fuego & Australia who do not keep other domestic animals.


This is a sheet of the M.S., in my father's hand writing, of the Origin of Species. The passage is from Chapter VII, p 264 of 5th edn. 1869

Given to Isobel E. Dods Withers May June 1902

Henrietta Litchfield

'Withers' and 'June' added in another hand and 'May' deleted, all in brown ink. The note is blue ink over faint pencil.

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

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