DARWIN, CHARLES. (1809-1882). English naturalist; first to suggest a theory of evolution by natural selection. ALS. (“C. Darwin”). 1p. 8vo. Kent, March 15. N.y. On Darwin’s personal Down stationery. To a gentleman.
“I have thought you would like to possess a few bees & comb (a wretched specimen, but a … would show size) sent to me & Mr. Mann from Fernando Po or opposite mainland of W. Africa. I have no other information whatever on specimens…”
From 1831 to 1836, Darwin served as naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, a Royal Navy brig-sloop commissioned to survey the South American coast. Despite near constant seasickness, Darwin collected fossils as well as marine and zoological specimens and made copious notes that contributed to the publication of the five-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle under the Command of Captain Fitzroy, R. N., during the Years 1832 to 1836. Darwin’s achievements brought him fame, added to by his publication of numerous works of natural history, most notably his 1859 On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, which outlined his theory of evolution. This work was followed by his most controversial theory – that mankind is descended from the anthropoid group of mammals – published in The Descent of Man in 1871.