Darwin on Marriage

Charles Darwin's papers have been placed online. Among his papers: a checklist Darwin made to decide whether or not it was worth getting married:

"Reasons for not marrying: freedom to go where one liked; choice of Society & little of it. - Conversation of clever men at clubs - Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. - to have the expense & anxiety of children - perhaps quarrelling - Loss of time. - cannot read in the Evenings - fatness & idleness - Anxiety & responsibility - less money for books."

But the arguments for a union won the day: "Children - (if it Please God) - Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, - object to be beloved & played with. - better than a dog anyhow."

He married Emma in 1839 [six years after the checklist -- Lak] and they had 10 children.
I think Darwin left out one of his key reasons -- among his papers was a recipe for boiling rice.


  1. In fact Darwin had a loving and very happy marriage. See my piece http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-heiligman29-2009jan29,0,1470714.story

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Interesting piece in the L.A. Times -- I wasn't aware that Mrs. Darwin was very religious. She also sounds like a strong, secure woman. I'll have to read your book. More in this post: