An Ugly Little Secret
Charles Darwin had a very dark secret, one made all the darker because he was a moneyed gentleman of polite society, a man of scientific leisure, and one with ties to England’s governmental, religious, financial and academic elite. That is to say, he was someone with a significant reputation at stake, and any such secret was unwanted and a general nuisance to an otherwise comfortable life.
This secret, in fact, was one probably too big for any man to bear. But, for twenty years, Charles Darwin valiantly bore his secret, nearly all alone in his knowledge. The secret—what we of course know today as the theory of evolution—made him, there seems little doubt, a very ill man. In fact, he was practically an invalid for much of the second half of his 73 years; for months on end he would be visited daily by severe headaches, violent stomach disorders, and endless vomiting.
He no doubt felt cursed by his knowledge. But knowledge it was, and as a man of reason and principle and belief in science, he could not easily ignore it.
Born in 1809, Charles Darwin entered his professional life in the sciences at about the same time that Queen Victoria entered her’s in the ruling of England. In fact, Darwin and his contemporary, novelist Charles Dickens, were inducted into London’s elite literary circle, the Athenaeum club, the same week in 1837 that the Queen was coronated. And Victorian England would prove to be a place and time, hindsight confirms, of repression, conservatism and restraint. To have the appearance of questioning God, church doctrine or the accepted social mores—all of which Darwin’s theory was necessarily to do—was a grave insult to propriety, if not, in some cases, out and out illegal. And, unfortunately for Darwin’s peace of mind, propriety was a virtue that he always held close to his heart.
Darwin was, in short, a torn man. Somewhere across the hinterlands of the sprawling British Empire, on a ship commissioned to chart the waters of New World ports, he had formulated his idea, this secret. And when in 1836, at 29 years of age, he disembarked from the HMS Beagle after five years and a circumnavigation of the world, he believed—rightly, it turned out—that he held the germ of the answer to what scientists of the day called “the mystery of mysteries.” The problem was that he couldn’t tell anyone. And so he began his life’s work in private.
For the next twenty some years, all the work he did—while in appearances “about” barnacles or “about” pigeon breeding or “about” climbing plants—was really work on his theory of evolution. The idea generally consumed him. Much of his correspondence—full of self-deprecation, courtseys, self-flagellations, insecurities—was really about his budding theory, even if his correspondents didn’t always know. Though over time, many of them began to suspect that Darwin’s research was leading to some dubious end.What are bylaws? What time does in n out open? What time does petco open? What is the meaning of atheromatous aorta? What is wokeness mean in politics? How to do tricks sparrow racing? How to make time go faster? What does accolades mean? How to do mtg card tricks? What is the meaning of irradiation? How to change email on xbox account? Pay how much tips in las vegas? what is meant by mommys little helper, happy pills How to full screen? When the legend becomes fact print the legend meaning? What is the meaning of enclosed in hindi? How to reboot computer? How to reset mac? What are current interest rates? What events are in the decathlon? What does conduit mean? How to get rid of ingrown hair cyst? How to raise hdl cholesterol? How to pay tolls in illinois? How to turn off iphone 12? What are bar charts? What does tylenol help with? What does groundhogs eat? What is the multiverse? Which huntsville havoc hockey player has scored the most hat tricks? What pistol does the army use? How to watch 1883? What does mch mean in a blood test? How to delete all tweets? How to lay sod? What does bad omen do in minecraft? How to hide instagram likes? How to say spanish in spanish? How to draw a cube? How to boil green beans? What time does burlington open on sundays? Tips for shooting a commercial what frame rate should i use? How to evolve hisuian voltorb? How much is q-tips at dollar general? Tricks how to use cash on food stamp card? video download helper how to use download link How to get souls of night? what does an helper do for work Where is the love meaning of the song? How to get bigger forearms? What are the four types of sentence? How to give yourself frosted tips? What is national crime tips? What does wtv mean? Vuse tricks how to? What does ebony mean? What does ncc stand for in star trek? How to make green? What does ooc mean? How to train your dragon 2 video game tricks? How to do bike tricks in gta 5? What does vanquish mean? What is the meaning of booking in football betting? Ain't no fun when the rabbit got the gun meaning? What does eeuu mean? What is 5/8 as a decimal? How to make guacamole? What is a spleen? How to calculate displacement? What time does dallas play? Its me when the meme meaning? How to make vegetable soup? How long for spray paint to dry? What does kkk mean? What episode does neji die? How long to cook salmon in oven? How to move on? How to make babies? How to send money on venmo? What are the types of clouds? How many tricks can a cockatiel learn? What is the meaning of the word bastard? How to increase lung capacity? How to draw a bee? What are the four hand washing tips? What is style in mechanical pencil tips? what year did classic macaroni and cheese hamburger helper add milk What does punk mean? Star wars why dont the sith do mind tricks? How to get gas smell out of car? How to find proportion? What would happen if the government decides to issue tips? How to certify a service dog? Why malayalam meaning? How many calories is beef tips? What does mces meaning volaris? what is the difference between a personal and professional helper? How to hang plants from ceiling? What are ap exams? what is google chrome helper memory useage How to find domain? What does gestational diabetes mean?