Description

    Remarkable Association Copy of the Book
    on Evolution Which Pre-Dated Darwin
    by Sixteen Years

    [Robert Chambers]. Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. London: John Churchill, 1844. First edition. Alexander Ireland's personal review copy, signed on the front pastedown: "Alexander Ireland / Manchester / Oct 15 / 1844." Loosely laid-in is a double sided ALS written by Chambers to "My Dear Sir." Octavo. vi, 390 pages. Publisher's red cloth with gilt title on spine. Small bookbinder's label "Remnant & Edmonds" on rear pastedown. Housed in a quarter cloth over marbled paper covered board custom slipcase with gilt lettered title label on spine. Binding lightly rubbed, small stain on rear board, light edge wear, spine ends and corners bumped. Hinges starting, bookseller's holograph pencil notes on front and rear endpapers; pages over-opened between 216 and 217, few minor spots of foxing. Very good overall.

    Letter written on both sides of a single leaf (approximately 4.5 x 7.25 inches) and dated "Tuesday even." In it Chambers discusses his hope of getting more people to attend an "exhibition." The letter closes: "It is very gratifying to hear / of the brilliant meeting of / last night. Believe me / very sincerely yours, / R. Chambers." Light edge and fold wear, small corner bends, small paper remnants along right margin of verso with minor affect to last letter of line two on verso.

    In order to remain anonymous, partly due to the book's inherent contradictions to the natural theology of its day, Chambers entrusted his friend Alexander Ireland, whose copy this is, to deliver the manuscripts to the publishers, making this a remarkable association copy of one of the most intriguing books of speculative science from the nineteenth-century.


    More Information:

    "This outspoken statement of a belief in evolution, published anonymously but attributed to Chambers, anticipated Darwin's Origin by 16 years and generally prepared the public for the latter." - Garrison and Morton. 218.

    Due to the controversial nature of the theory of evolution at that time, publisher John Churchill produced this work anonymously with Robert Chamber's authorship not being disclosed until 1884, well after Chamber's death in 1871. This copy of the book is one of the pre-publication review copies sent out by Churchill and Alexander Ireland's personal review copy as well. Ireland was a lifelong friend and confidant of Chambers and delivered the manuscript series to the publisher after Chambers had his wife Anne transcribe the manuscript in her own hand to prevent his disclosure as author. Charles Darwin reportedly received one of these review copies and it is believed that this work helped pave the way for his seminal work, The Origin of Species, to be published in 1859.  Of this work Darwin noted: "In my opinion it has done excellent service in this country in calling attention to the subject, in removing prejudice, and in thus preparing the ground for the reception of analogous views." 





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    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    6th Wednesday
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