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Background[ edit ] Darwin's ideas developed rapidly after returning from the Voyage of the Beagle in By Decemberhe had developed the basic principles of his theory. At that time, similar ideas brought others disgrace and association with the revolutionary mob. While he continued with research, he had an immense amount of work in hand analyzing and publishing findings from the Beagle expedition, and was repeatedly delayed by illness.
Natural history at that time was dominated by clerical naturalists who saw their science as revealing God's plan, and whose income came from the Established Church of England. The eminent geologist Charles Lyellwhose books had influenced the young Darwin during the Voyage of the Beaglebefriended Darwin who he saw as a supporter of his ideas of gradual geological processes with continuing divine Creation of species.
By the s Darwin became friends with the young botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker who had followed his father into the science, and after going on a survey voyage used his contacts to eventually find a position.
This was also a time of intense conflict over religious morality in England, where evangelicalism led to increasing professionalism of clerics who had previously been expected to act as country gentlemen with wide interests, but now were seriously focussed on expanded religious duties.
A new orthodoxy proclaimed the virtues of truth but also inculcated beliefs that the Bible should be read literally and that religious doubt was in itself sinful so should not be discussed. Science was also becoming professional and a series of discoveries cast doubt on literal interpretations of the Bible and the honesty of those denying the findings.
A series of crises erupted with fierce debate and criticism over issues such as George Combe 's The Constitution of Man and the anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation which converted vast popular audiences to the belief that natural laws controlled the development of nature and society.
German higher criticism questioned the Bible as a historical document in contrast to the evangelical creed that every word was divinely inspired. Dissident clergymen even began questioning accepted premises of Christian morality, and Benjamin Jowett 's commentary on St.
Paul brought a storm of controversy. On 18 June he received a parcel from Alfred Russel Wallace enclosing about twenty pages describing an evolutionary mechanism that was similar to Darwin's own theory. Darwin put matters in the hands of his friends Lyell and Hooker, who agreed on a joint presentation to the Linnean Society on 1 July Publication of Darwin's theory Darwin now worked on an "abstract" trimmed from his Natural Selection manuscript.
The publisher John Murray agreed the title as On the Origin of Species through Natural Selection and the book went on sale to the trade on 22 November The stock of 1, copies was oversubscribed, and Darwin, still at Ilkley spa townbegan corrections for a second edition.
The novelist Charles Kingsleya Christian socialist country rector, sent him a letter of praise: First reviews[ edit ] The reviewers were less encouraging. Four days before publication, a review in the authoritative Athenaeum   by John Leifchildpublished anonymously, as was the custom at that time was quick to pick out the unstated implications of "men from monkeys" already controversial from Vestigessaw snubs to theologians, summing up Darwin's "creed" as man "was born yesterday — he will perish tomorrow" and concluded that "The work deserves attention, and will, we have no doubt, meet with it.
Scientific naturalists will take up the author upon his own peculiar ground; and there will we imagine be a severe struggle for at least theoretical existence. Theologians will say—and they have a right to be heard—Why construct another elaborate theory to exclude Deity from renewed acts of creation?
Why not at once admit that new species were introduced by the Creative energy of the Omnipotent? Why not accept direct interference, rather than evolutions of law, and needlessly indirect or remote action?
Having introduced the author and his work, we must leave them to the mercies of the Divinity Hall, the College, the Lecture Room, and the Museum.
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