DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). On the origin of species by means of natural selection. London: W. Clowes & Sons, 1859.
8° in 12s (200 x 125mm). Half-title dated October 1859 on verso, 32pp. publisher's advertisments at back, dated June 1859. One folding lithographic diagram. (Occasional very light spotting, small tear to lower blank margin of Q5.) Original green wavy-grain cloth, covers blocked in blind, the spine in gilt, by Edmonds & Remnants with their ticket at end (extremities somewhat bumped, very light soiling to spine, stitching a trifle weak). Provenance: W.H.C. (Impington, Nr. Cambridge booklabel, early inscriptions and mounted cuttings).
A GOOD UNSOPHISTICATED COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, first issue, in Freeman's binding variant a. "CERTAINLY THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOLOGICAL BOOK EVER WRITTEN" (Freeman). Murray printed 1,250 copies of the first edition; it was available in bookshops from the end of November and such was the demand that Murray published a second edition of 3,000 copies in January 1860. "The scientific-cum-theological dogma of the immutability of species had been proof against sceptics, from Lucretius to Lamarck, who guessed at what Darwin was the first to prove. From being a priori anticipation the theory of evolution became with Darwin an interpretation of nature and eventually a causal theory affecting every department of scientific research. This is what is essential in Darwin's contribution." (PMM). Freeman 373; Grolier/Horblit 23b; PMM 344(b).