CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN was the second son of Dr. Robert Waring Darwin, of Shrewsbury, he was born on February 12, 1809. Dr. Darwin was a son of Erasmus Darwin, sometimes described as a poet, but more deservedly known as physician and naturalist. Charles Darwin's mother was Susannah, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, the well-known potter of Etruria, in Staffordshire.

If such speculations are permissible, we may hazard the guess that Charles Darwin inherited his sweetness of disposition from the Wedgwood side, while the character of his genius came rather from the Darwin grandfather.* (* See Charles Darwin's biographical sketch of his grandfather, prefixed to Ernst Krause's Erasmus Darwin. (Translated from the German bv W. S. Dallas,1878.) (Also Miss Meteyard's Life of Josiah Wedgwood)

Robert Waring Darwin was a man of well-marked character. He had no pretensions to being a man of science, no tendency to generalise his knowledge, and though a successful physician he was guided more by intuition and everyday observation than by a deep knowledge of his subject. His chief mental characteristics were his keen powers of observation, and his knowledge of men, qualities led him to "read the characters and even the thoughts of those he saw even for a short time." It is not therefore surprising that his help should have been sought, not merely in illness, but in cases of family trouble and sorrow. This was largely the case, and his wise sympathy, no less than his medical skill, obtained for him a strong influence over the lives of a large number of people. He was a man of a quick, vivid temperament, with a lively interest in even the smaller details in the lives of those with he came in contact. He was fond of society, and entertained a good deal, and with his large practice and many friends, the life at Shrewsbury must have been a stirring and varied onevery different in this respect to the later home of his son at Down.* (* The above passage is, by permission of Messrs. Smith Elder, taken from my article Charles Darwin, in the Dictionary of National Biography.)



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