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[BEVERLEY, R. M.]

The Darwinian Theory of the Transmutation of Species.

Examined by a graduate of the University of Cambridge.

Published: London: James Nisbet & Co., 1867

Stock code: 112700

Price: £325

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First edition of this commercially very scarce anti-Darwinian polemic. Beverley (1798-1868) was a religious controversialist and a convert to the Plymouth Brethren. The Origin of Species was first published in 1859, and in its fourth edition by the time Beverley’s text was printed. On 21 December 1867 Darwin received a letter from his friend, the physician Sir Henry Holland, reading, “I received a few days ago a copy of the attack upon you from the Author; This gives me no clue whatever to his name or nature. The nearest approach I make, is that of being very intimate with a friend of his, who fully admits knowing him, but under strict injunction not to disclose him. I find that very few people have ever heard of the volume” (Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Vol. 15, p. 487). One person who had was Cardinal Newman, who wrote to one J. Walker of Scarborough (where Beverley spent his later years) that “Perhaps your friend has got a surer clue to guide him than I have, who have never studied the question, and I do not like to put my opinion against his; but at first sight I do not [see] that ‘the accidental evolution of organic beings’ is inconsistent with divine design – It is accidental to us, not to God” (Armstrong, ed. Cardinal Newman: Q & A in Theology, Church History, and Conversion, p. 354).

Octavo (220 x 135 mm). Original dark red cloth, spine lettered in gilt, dark blue coated endpapers. Contemporary ownership inscriptions to front free endpaper, half-title and title. Lightly rubbed, short closed tear to cloth at head of spine, headcaps chipped, old cloth laid down to head of both joints, tips worn, portion of mild cockling to front board, faint crease to lower outer corner of first two text leaves. A good, internally clean copy in a fatigued binding.

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