Charles Robert Darwin, 1809 - 1882
Portrait by George Richmond in the late 1830s
Born: 12 February 1809, Mount House, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Died: 19 April 1882, Down House, Downe, Kent, England
Darwin's father and paternal grandfather were physicians, his mother was an heiress to the Wedgewood china fortune. He and his brother Erasmus were sent to the University of Edinborough to become a physicians in 1825, but Charles couldn't stand the gore and, the agony involved in surgery before anaesthetics, and instead devoted his time to biological observation. His father then sent him to Christ's College, Cambridge with plans to become a priest in 1828, but he was at first more interested in riding and shooting, then took up beetle collecting. After graduation he accepted an unpaid trip around the world on HMS Beagle, serving as naturalist. He studied and collected fossils, plants, and drew animals on a trip that lasted almost five years. Organizing his notes and drawings after his return, he concluded that all life on earth had evolved from a single original life form, and that variations in species came about as a result of a process he termed natural selection. It should be remembered that evolution was not a new idea at the time, his concept of natural selection as the controlling element of evolution was, and this crystalized the conflict between science and parts of the religious establishment. His work was attacked by religious leaders who were certain that all species then living had been carried on Noah's Ark, despite the obvious fact that two of every species could not possibly have fit in the ark. Darwin's other published work is extensive, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society a full twenty years before publication of The Origin of Species. Darwin was afflicted with ill health throughout his life following an infection late in the journey of the Beagle, exacerbated by overwork in preparing his reports after that trip, but a clear diagnosis was never reached. He died at home, fully conscious up to the last few minutes.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Charles Darwin quotes:
Click here to find books by Charles Darwin at Amazon.com
- A language, like a species, when once extinct, never…reappears. The same language never has two birth-places." permalink
The Descent of Man (1871)
- A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. permalink
letter to his sister, Susan Dawrin (4 August 1836), cited in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, Frances Darwin, ed. (1898)
- A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth. permalink
- A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives — of approving of some and disapproving of others. permalink
- A republic cannot succeed till it contains a certain body of men imbued with the principles of justice and honour. permalink
- A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, a mere heart of stone. permalink
- An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men. permalink
- As for future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities. permalink
- As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races. permalink
- As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. permalink
- Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue. permalink
- False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness. permalink
- How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children. permalink
- I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions. permalink
- I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars or that a cat should play with mice. permalink
Please report any problems on this page! If you see any typos, incorrect attributions, deformed characters, or any other problem with this page, we want to fix it as soon
as possible. Please click here to report errors.
Note: Do not use titles in author searches, we don't use them, including president, senator, prime minister, king, queen, saint, or doctor, or abbreviations thereof. See explanation here.