RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 2005. Draft of Origin of species, Sect. VI, folio 214. Sotheby's The library of Irwin Silver: New York April 26, 2005. (N08094, Lot 29). New York: Sotheby's, frontispiece and pp. 45-47.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe. RN2

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here. This Origin draft leaf was published in Sotheby's. Darwin's century: The Jeremy Norman collection. London Friday 11th December 1992. London, pp. 44-55 with a black and white photograph. Text & image F3517. The manuscript was offered for sale again at Sotheby's in 2005. From the 2005 auction description: "written on the recto only of a leaf of wove blue paper (13 1/16 x 8 3/8 in.; 332 x 213 mm), 159 words, with several deletions, emendations, and interlineations; remnant of album guard on verso. ...The present text corresponds, with a number of stylistic differences, to nineteen lines on page 194... It is closely related to the last leaf of Darwin's manuscript to appear at auction (numbered '229'; sold, Christie's New York 9 June 1999)". Sold for $273,600.

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.


[page] 47

[top left corner damaged]

(214

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.) forward

[page] 45

[Photograph of Origin draft leaf and Origin of species]

[page] 46

29  DARWIN, CHARLES
Autograph manuscript, being the page numbered "214" from the holograph of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, written on the recto only of a leaf of wove blue paper (13 1/16 x 8 3/8 in.; 332 x 213 mm), 159 words, with several deletions, emendations, and interlineations; remnant of album guard on verso. Green morocco portfolio.
A SIGNIFICANT LEAF OF MANUSCRIPT FROM "THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SCIENTIFIC WORK OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY," TWICE EMPLOYING THE TITLE TERM "NATURAL SELECTION."
The present text corresponds, with a number of stylistic differences, to nineteen lines on page 194 (Chapter VI) of the first edition of Origin of Species. Darwin intended this chapter, "Difficulties of Theory," to forestall objections to his theory of natural selection. The present draft of the text focuses on the motto "Natura non facit saltum" (nature does not take leaps). It is closely related to the last leaf of Darwin's manuscript to appear at auction (numbered "229"; sold, Christie's New York, 9 June 1999). Indeed, in order to explicate leaf 229, that auction catalogue quotes the final two lines from this present text:
"Sect. VI. Transition of organs
"extinct, I have been astonished how rarely an organ can be found, toward which no transitional grade is known to lead. The truth of this is indeed shown by the 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 in variety but niggard in innovation. Why, on the theory of Creation, should this be so? Why if each organic being have been separately created for its proper place in nature, should all its organs be so generally formed/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 why she should not; for natural selection can progress only by the shortest & slowest steps, & can never take a leap."
The present page is one of a handful of scattered leaves that survive from the manuscript that Darwin rushed to complete in the second half of 1858. (Just five different leaves have appeared at auction in the last three decades.) Although Darwin had assimilated the researches and observations from his five years as naturalist aboard the survey ship H.M.S. Beagle into the essential formulation of his theory of natural selection by the late 1830s, he was finally spurred to publish after Alfred R. Wallace independetly came to a nearly identical conclusion about the transmutation of species. Charles Lyell and Joseph D. Hooker arranged for papers by both Darwin and Wallace to be published in the 20 August 1858 issue of the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society. Once Wallace's article, "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinately from thr Original Type" was printed, Darwin rushed to prepare for publication an epitome of the "big species book" that he had been working on since 1856. (Darwin's initial suggestion for a title, An Abstract of an Essay on the Origin of Species and Varieties, was rejected by his publisher as too tentative.)
Originally conceived as a work that might be printed on four or five sheets of paper, On the Origin of Species evolved during the eight months of its writing into a volume of nearly 500 pages. The final scope of Origin of Species prompted Darwin to abandon plans for his "big species book," but he salvaged much of the first part of the manuscript for The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, published in 1868.
Provenance: Jeremy Norman (Sotheby's London, 11 December 1992, lot 110)
$60,000-80,000


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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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