London: Linnean Society, 1909. 1st Edition. This is the original issuance preceding a 1909 far shorter reprinting. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF THE 1908 DARWIN-WALLACE CELEBRATION: The 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PRESENTATION OF TWO SEMINAL PAPERS BY CHARLES DARWIN & ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE TO THE LINNEAN SOCIETY OF LONDON.
In 1858, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace met to read their joint papers on evolution to the Linnean Society of London. In the work offered here, the papers, “On the Tendency of Species to Form Varieties” and “On the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection” are reprinted by the Linnean Society in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the presentation. It is important to note that in their 1858 presentation before the Linnean Society – one year prior to the 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection -- Darwin’s reading uses “the now classic terms ‘Natural Means of Selection’ and ‘Natural Selection’… for the first time” (Linnean Society of London, 2, 1908). In further celebration of the Darwin-Wallace papers, the Linnean Society publication offered here also contains extracts from Malthus’ ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population,’ a work that influenced both Darwin and Wallace.
“We meet today “to celebrate what is without doubt the greatest event in the history of our Society since its foundation. Nor is it easy to conceive the possibility in the future of any second revolution of Biological thought so momentous as that which was started 50 years ago by the reading of the joint papers of Mr. Darwin and Dr. Wallace.
“The papers, it will be remembered, consist of an extract from Mr. Darwin's then unpublished work on Species, for which he had been preparing during the previous 20 years, of an abstract of a letter from him to Asa Gray, the famous American Botanist, and of Dr. Wallace's paper, which he had sent to Mr. Darwin, ‘On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type.’
“In Dr. Wallace's essay the same idea is expressed with equal clearness, as for example in the words "If any species should produce a variety having slightly increased powers of preserving existence, that variety must inevitably in time acquire a superiority in numbers." With both authors the key to evolution is at the same time the key to adaptation, the great characteristic by which living things are distinguished.
“Darwin and Wallace not only freed us from the dogma of Special Creation, a dogma which we now find it difficult to conceive of as once seriously held "Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus,"—they afforded a natural explanation of the marvelous indications of Design which had been the great strength of the old doctrine, and themselves, with their disciples, added tenfold to the evidences of adaptation. In like manner, if we are to see further advance now or in the future, any new development of the doctrine of evolution must be prepared to face, fairly and squarely, the facts of adaptation. (Transcript, Darwin Online). Item #1376
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Printed for the Linnean Society. Original wrappers. 4to. [vi], 139, . 10 plates. Fully indexed. Minor handling wear to the wraps housed in a pristine brown case, gilt-lettered on the front. Tightly bound and bright and very clean throughout.