More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2

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Author: Charles Darwin

Letter 779. To A. Gapitche.

(779/1. The following letter was written to the author (under the pseudonym of Gapitche) of a pamphlet entitled "Quelques mots sur l’Eternite du Corps Humaine" (Nice, 1880). Mr. Gapitche’s idea was that man might, by perfect adaptation to his surroundings, indefinitely prolong the duration of life. We owe Mr. Darwin’s letter to the kindness of Herr Vetter, editor of the well-known journal "Kosmos.")

Down, February 24th, 1880.

I suppose that no one can prove that death is inevitable, but the evidence in favour of this belief is overwhelmingly strong from the evidence of all other living creatures. I do not believe that it is by any means invariably true that the higher organisms always live longer than the lower ones. Elephants, parrots, ravens, tortoises, and some fish live longer than man. As evolution depends on a long succession of generations, which implies death, it seems to me in the highest degree improbable that man should cease to follow the general law of evolution, and this would follow if he were to be immortal.

This is all that I can say.

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Chicago: Charles Darwin, "Letter 779. To A. Gapitche.," More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, ed. Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 and Seward, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1863-1941 and trans. Babington, B. G. (Benjamin Guy), 1794-1866 in More Letters of Charles Darwin Original Sources, accessed August 25, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PVYIC4X2WLHPC8F.

MLA: Darwin, Charles. "Letter 779. To A. Gapitche." More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, edited by Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 and Seward, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1863-1941, and translated by Babington, B. G. (Benjamin Guy), 1794-1866, in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, Original Sources. 25 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PVYIC4X2WLHPC8F.

Harvard: Darwin, C, 'Letter 779. To A. Gapitche.' in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, ed. and trans. . cited in , More Letters of Charles Darwin. Original Sources, retrieved 25 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PVYIC4X2WLHPC8F.