Charles Darwin’s advantages and disadvantages of Marriage

Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he called natural selection and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory. Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of biology, as it provides a unifying logical explanation for the diversity of life.

Darwin used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about career and prospects on two scraps of paper, one with columns headed “Marry” and “Not Marry”. Advantages included “constant companion and a friend in old age ... better than a dog anyhow”, against points such as “less money for books” and “terrible loss of time.” Having decided in favour, he discussed it with his father, then went to visit his charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin Emma Wedgwood, nine months older than Darwin. He did not get around to proposing, but against his father’s advice he mentioned his ideas on transmutation.

On 11 November, he proposed to Emma, once more telling her his ideas. She accepted, then in exchanges of loving letters she showed how she valued his openness in sharing their differences, also expressing her strong Unitarian beliefs and concerns that his honest doubts might separate them in the afterlife. While he was house-hunting in London, bouts of illness continued and Emma wrote urging him to get some rest, almost prophetically remarking “So don’t be ill any more my dear Charley till I can be with you to nurse you.” He found what they called “Macaw Cottage” (because of its gaudy interiors) in Gower Street, then moved his “museum” in over Christmas.

On 29 January Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in an Anglican ceremony arranged to suit the Unitarians, then immediately caught the train to London and their new home.

Darwin chose to marry his cousin, Emma Wedgwood
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