Thursday, 17 May 2007

Darwin's Letters

In today's Guardian there was a nice article about Darwin's letters. A new database of over 5,000 of Darwin's correspondence has recently gone live, and these letters reveal a uniquely personal look at one of the giants of science. Among the many letters include support for a friend who's son had Scarlet-Fever,

"I grieve to hear about the Scarlet-Fever: my poor dear old friend you are most unfortunate. The tide must turn soon... Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love".

On a lighter note he shows incredible humility at his own mistakes. After asking naturalist John Lubbock to make observations about clovers and bees to test his theory about the evolution of bees, he wrote an abashed letter apologising for the data which turned out to be useless,

"I do so hope you have not wasted any time for my stupid blunder - I hate myself, I hate clover and I hate bees".

Also, to put to rest once and for all the talk of Darwin's support of racism and slavery we have his views on the Tories (Conservative party of Britain),

"I would not be a Tory, if it was merely an account of their cold hearts about that scandal to Christian Nations, Slavery".

The site can be found at here, and it looks like an interesting diversion for those who have read the 'Origin of Species', or any of Darwin's books, or even those just interested in a Victorians' take on his own time.


* Original article

1 comment:

Daltervia said...

A really mature blog - especially enjoyed the first post - keep it up! I must return to blogging soon... after exams!