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English Literature, History, Science, Childrens Books and Illustrations

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Darwin, Charles
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT NOTES, HEADED "CONCLUSIONS FROM CAPT. DARWIN'S BOOK"
on the practical use of deadfall traps ("...The smaller vermin can be very effectively caught by dead-fall traps; & one of them (no. 1) requires no stone..."), and gamekeepers' attitudes to cats ("greatly abhorred"), dogs, and foxes, notes extracted from The Game-Preserver's Manual by "High Elms" [Edward Levett Darwin], blue wove paper, approximately 179 words on 19 lines, 1 page, c.1863, with "Abstract on Traps" in pencil on the verso, possibly in Emma Darwin's hand, and "CD autograph" in ink in a later hand, folio leaf crudely cut at the foot (253 x 203mm)

"...It is evidently thought an advantage that Dogs shd be caught, & this can be only by steel-traps. On the other hand in most districts ... the Ability to catch foxes wd be thought a great disadvantage..."


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Provenance

Charles Darwin; his daughter Henrietta ("Etty") Litchfield (1843-1927); her niece Margaret Keynes, née Darwin (1890-1974); thence by descent

Description

DARWIN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS. In the early 1860s Darwin and his wife Emma developed strong concerns about cruelty to animals, a concern founded in Darwin's understanding of the shared nature of all living things. In 1863 they published a four-page pamphlet, entitled An Appeal, on the cruelty of steel traps and the lingering suffering they caused to larger animals. The response to An Appeal was such that the Darwin's were able to raise funds and persuade the RSPCA to hold a competition for a humane trap. A hundred designs were exhibited in the Royal Horticultural Gardens (The Times, 27-28 May 1864).

These current manuscript notes derive from Darwin's reading of The Game-Preserver's Manual by his first cousin Edward Levett Darwin (1821-1901), a lawyer in the Derbyshire town of Matlock Bath. Edward Darwin wrote to Charles Darwin on 7 September 1863, just weeks after the publication of An Appeal, sending him a copy of the fourth edition of his book and conceding that "it would be a great thing if the necessity for that trap did not exist" (DCP-LETT-4295).

English Literature, History, Science, Childrens Books and Illustrations

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Londres