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Sweden sent in 2296 subscriptions “from all sorts of people,” as the distinguished man of science who transmitted them wrote, “from the bishop to the seamstress, and in sums from five pounds to two pence.” The Executive Committee has thus been enabled to carry out the objects proposed. A “Darwin Fund’ has been created, which is to be held in trust by the Royal Society, and is to be employed in the promotion of biological research. The execution of the statue was entrusted to Mr. Boehm ; and I think that those who had the good fortune to know Mr. Darwin personally will admire the power of artistic divination which has enabled the sculptor to place before us so very characteristic a likeness of one whom he had not Seen. It appeared to the Committee that, whether they regarded Mr. Darwin's career or the requirements of a work of art, no site could be so appropriate as this great hall, and they applied to the Trustees of the British Museum for permission to erect it in its present position. That permission was most cordially granted, and I am desired to tender the best thanks of the Committee to the Trustees for their willingness to accede to our wishes. I also beg leave to offer the expression of our gratitude to your Royal Highness for kindly consenting to represent the Trustees to-day.
It only remains for me, your Royal Highness, my Lords and Gentlemen, Trustees of the British Museum, in the name of the Darwin Memorial Committee, to request you to accept this statue of Charles Darwin. We do not make this request for the mere sake of perpetuating a memory; for so long as men occupy themselves with the pursuit of truth, the name of Darwin runs no more risk of oblivion than does that of Copernicus, or that of Harvey. Nor, most assuredly, do we ask you to preserve the statue in its cynosural position in this entrance-hall of our National Museum of Natural History as evidence that Mr. Darwin's views have received your official sanction; for science does not recognise such sanctions, and commits suicide when it adopts a creed. No; we beg you to cherish this Memorial as a symbol by which, as generation after generation of students of Nature enter yonder door, they shall be reminded of the ideal according to which they must shape their lives, if they would turn to the best account the opportunities offered by the great institution under your charge.
CHARLEs Robert DARwin was the fifth child and second son of Robert Waring Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood, and was born on the 12th February, 1809, at Shrewsbury, where his father was a physician in large practice. Mrs. Robert Darwin died when her son Charles was only eight years old, and he hardly remembered her. A daughter of the famous Josiah Wedgwood, who created a new branch of the potter's art, and established the great works of Etruria, could hardly fail to transmit important mental and moral qualities to her children; and there is a solitary record of her direct influence in the story told by a schoolfellow, who remembers Charles Darwin “bringing a flower to school, and saying that his mother had taught him how, by looking at the inside of the blossom, the name of the plant could be discovered.” (I., p. 28.) The theory that men of genius derive their qualities from their mothers, however, can hardly derive support from Charles Darwin's case, in the face of the patent influence of his paternal forefathers. Dr. Darwin, indeed, though a man of marked individuality of character, a quick and acute observer, with much practical sagacity, is said not to have had a scientific mind. But when his son adds that his father “formed a theory for almost everything that occurred " (I., p. 20), he indicates a highly probable source for that inability to refrain from forming an hypothesis on every subject which he confesses to be one of the leading characteristics of his own mind, some pages further on (I., p. 103). Dr. R. W. Darwin, again, was the third son of Erasmus Darwin, also a physician of great repute, who shared the intimacy of Watt and Priestley, and was widely known as the author of “Zoonomia,” and other voluminous poetical and prose works which had a great vogue in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The celebrity which they enjoyed was in part due to the attractive style (at least according to the taste of that day) in which the author's extensive, though not very profound,
* From the Obituary Notices of the Proceedings of the Royal Society, vol. 44.
* The references throughout this notice are to the Life and Letters, unless the contrary is expressly stated.
acquaintance with natural phenomena was set forth; but in a still greater degree, probably, to the boldness of the speculative views, always ingenious and sometimes fantastic, in which he indulged. The conception of evolution set afoot by De Maillet and others, in the early part of the century, not only found a vigorous champion in Erasmus Darwin, but he propounded an hypothesis as to the manner in which the species of animals and plants have acquired their characters, which is identical in principle with that subsequently rendered famous by Lamarck. That Charles Darwin's chief intellectual inheritance came to him from the paternal side, then, is hardly doubtful. But there is nothing to show that he was, to any sensible extent, directly influenced by his grandfather's biological work. He tells us that a perusal of the “Zoonomia” in early life produced no effect upon him, although he greatly admired it; and that, on reading it again, ten or fifteen years afterwards, he was much disappointed, “the proportion of speculation being so large to the facts given.” But with his usual anxious candour he adds, “Nevertheless, it is probable that the hearing, rather early in life, such views maintained and praised, may have favoured my upholding them, in a different form, in my ‘Origin of Species.’” (I., p. 38.) Erasmus Darwin was in fact an anticipator of Lamarck, and not of Charles Darwin; there is no trace in his works of the