RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1858.10.23-11.13]. Draft of Origin of species, Sect. VI, folio 230. SHSI-02-03-01,B7. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe, corrections by Christina Chua 12.2022. RN2

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission from the State Historical Society of Iowa and William Huxley Darwin. With thanks to Kelsey Berryhill, Reference Librarian, State Historical Society of Iowa, for confirming that the verso is blank and other assitance and Angus Carroll for help with the reproduction fee arrangements. The manuscript was acquired from Francis Darwin in the UK in 1885 by American lawyer, politician and autograph collector Charles Aldrich (1850-1929) who was on a special "mission" to acquire autographs. The Origin draft sheet was given along with the rest of his large collection to the Historical Department of Iowa.
The periphery of the paper has c.20 small holes where it was previously affixed to a volume and possibly affixed to a backing. There are pin holes at the bottom centre of the page where a pin seems to have been attached; none of Darwin's notes were attached there. The right edge of the recto is dark yellow and brittle and there are larger punch holes at the top and bottom, damage from some manner of display in the past. This manuscript was not previously known to Darwin scholars.

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. 205-6. [words at page break in green]


[top left corner missing/damaged]


Sect VI. Summary

highly useful or even indispensable, or on the other hand highly injurious, to another species, if at the same time useful to the owner. Natural selection, acting only by through the competition, of the inhabitant of the same will produce perfection only according to the standard of th each that country: hence the inhabitants of one country generally the smaller ones, will often yield, as we see they do, to the inhabitants of another & generally larger country: for in the larger country, there have will have existed more individuals, & more diversified forms, & the competition will have been severer. Natural selection will not produce absolute perfection; nor, as far as we can judge by our limited faculties, does can absolute perfection be everywhere found.

(On our principles, we can clearly understand the meaning & causes of the old canon in natural history, "natura non facit saltum;"— which if we look only to the inhabitants of the land at the present time at the present day is not strictly correct, but if all past time be excluded we include all those of past times must by our theory must be inevitably must strictly true.)

It is generally acknowledged that all organic beings have been [mainly] formed on two great

[pencil insertion in another hand:]

A page from the "Origin of Species"—Original MSS.


[pencil insertion in another hand:]

Page of original MS of Charles Darwins "Origin of Species"

This document has been accessed 240 times

Return to homepage

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

File last updated 24 November, 2023