DARWIN, CfraftLEs ROBERT ( 1809-82). The greatest English naturalist of the nineteenth cen tury. He was born at Shrewsbury, February 12, 1809, the son of Dr. Robert IV. Darwin, F.R.S., and grandson of Erasmus Darwin (q.v.). Ills mother was a daughter of Josiah 1Vedgwood, the famous manufacturer of pottery. After attend ing a public school at Shrewsbury for some years, he studied at Edinburgh University for two sessions, and then at Christ College. Cam bridge, where he took his degree of B.A. in 1831. His father had originally intended him for the Church, but hereditary tendencies toward natural history led him in another direction. Shortly after graduation he seized an opportu nity to go around the world as naturalist in S. Beagle, commanded by Captain Fitzroy, R.N. This expedition, which continued from De cember 27, 1S31, to October 2. 1836, and spent much time in making surveys of southern South America. afforded Darwin a great opportunity for making original observations and for temptation. It was, indeed, his studios ou the fauna of the Galapagos Islands that planted the germ of his evolutionary studies. The ae count of his voyage. finally (1860) entitled Voy age of a Naturalist on 11. 11. S. Beagle. which has passed through many editions. is a classic work, and shows a degree of intelligence in the author that promised great things for his future. This voyage had a marked effect on Darwin's health. leaving him with a tendency toward nausea which during life permitted of only a limited amount of work each day. In the seclusion of his country place at Down, the great thinker was able, by steady application, despite his disability, to produce his great works.
The scientific outcome of his voyage was a series of important books. In 1839 was pub lished his first Journal of Researches; and in 1840-43 the Zoology of the royage of H.M.S. Beagle, published by the (4overnment and edited by Darwin; in 1842 The Structure and Distribu tion of Coral Reefs, in which was proposed the theory of the origin of coral reefs that is most generally held to-day; in 1844, Geological Oh so-rations on Volcanic Islands; and in 1846, his Geological Observations on S'outh Darwin's valuable Monograph of the Cir•ipcdia (1851-55) was the immediate outcome of his voyage, and remains to-day the standard sys tematic work on this group.
It had long been known to a number of scien tific friends that Darwin was working on a theory of evolution when, in 1858, he received from A. Ii. Wallace, then in the East Indies, the
manuscript of a paper containing precisely the same explanation of adaptation that Darwin had hit upon. Darwin was naturally much em barrassed. but seemed willing to throw aside the work of years and give precedence to his friend's paper. On the advice of friends, however, his paper and Wallace's were read at the same meet ing of the Linmean Society of London, and were published in their Transactions for 185S. In 1859 Darwin's book. The Origin of Species by Means of Xatural Selection, or the Prescr•ation of Favored Races in the Struggle of Life, ap peared. It at once created the greatest interest, and, largely through the extraordinarily able of Huxley, its ideas soon gained widespread acceptance. Although Darwin's the ory of natural selection is primarily only an ex planation of adaptation. yet adaptation is of such fundamental importance that its explana tion paved the way for the acceptance of the general theory of evolution; for Darwin con tributed a mechanical or natural explanation of what had before required a supernatural explana tion. Development by natural law took the place of the special-creation hypothesis. Dar win's mechanical theory is that of the struggle for existence, the annihilation of the unfit, and the consequent "survival of the fittest." It rests upon the evident fact that every species of ani mal produces more young than will develop to maturity and breed ; for if all the young pro duced by any species bred the world would soon become filled with that species to the exclusion of every other. The vast number of individuals that are killed off are, on the whole, below the average of those that survive. The latter have been preserved on account of a certain. perhaps slightly, greater fitness to their environment, which may protect them from their enemies or give them greater power in gaining food or re producing their kind. Their slight advantage will be inherited, and so the next generation will start from a fitter plane, and by a con tinuance of the selective process in successive generations. perfect adaptation will result. The theory of natural selection has been subjected to the most rigorous criticism, hut it still remains a useful explanation of certain phenomena. See NATURAL SELECTION EVOLUTION.