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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. E. Dobbs   17 January 1872

Richmond Road | Ealing. W.

Sir

I send you a pamphlet which I hope you will accept, if only as a mark of respect, & as I hardly expect that your time, which is so valuable to biological science, should even for a few moments be taken up with another subject, I will tell you why I send it, & why I think it would interest you if you were to read it.1

Holding the unity & harmony of all kosmical action, I have applied the principle of that natural selection which you demonstrated, to the working of legislative institutions, & although it does not appear on the surface you will see the same principle in action in a different subject matter & among different surroundings. I have taken Mr Hare’s well known plan, (well known at least to students of political science) & by new dispositions as to the surplus votes, arranged that the action of the electorate & of the candidates will result in a struggle for political life, in which the unfit will be surely eliminated, & the most fit will have most power.2 Mr. Hare, I may say, adopts my plan as it stands in the edition I send you, (I merely mention this to induce you to glance through it)—for if an inventor accepts a modification of his invention it may be taken for granted that it is a real improvement. I will not trespass further, but I am sure that Mr. Darwin is interested in everything which tends to social & political progress, so I send it.

I am | With the greatest & truest respect | Yours faithfully | Archibald E. Dobbs.

Jan. 17. 1872.

Footnotes

Dobbs refers to his General representation on a complete readjustment and modification of Mr. Hare’s plan (Dobbs 1871); no copy has been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Thomas Hare had devised a system of proportional representation for the House of Commons and other electoral bodies (ODNB).

Bibliography

Dobbs, Archibald Edward. 1871. General representation on a complete readjustment and modification of Mr. Hare’s plan. London: Longmans, Green, & Co.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

Summary

Sends a pamphlet [not identified] in which he applies the principle of natural selection to the working of legislative institutions.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8164
From
Archibald Edward Dobbs
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Ealing
Source of text
DAR 162: 187
Physical description
3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8164,” accessed on 16 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-8164.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20

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