GREG, William Rathbone 20202



A lengthy Autograph Letter Signed ‘W.R.Greg’, to “my dear friend”, about his work and health, symptoms of aphasia, searching in his book Enigmas for a Biblical phrase, his wife’s frequent headaches, etc. About 1100 words on 6 pp. 8 x 5 inches, entirely legible, in good condition. On the writing paper of Park Lodge, Wimbledon Common. Herd’s Hill, 26 October [? 1875]. William Rathbone Greg (1809 – 1881), essayist. In 1827, he joined the Plinian Society on the same day as Charles Darwin. Greg offered a talk to prove “the lower animals possess every faculty & propensity of the human mind”. In 1868 he responded to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species with an article in Fraser’s Magazine, “On the failure of ‘Natural Selection’ in the case of Man”. Darwin cited this, and responded, in The Descent of Man. Greg became a member of the Metaphysical Society. Besides contributions to periodicals he produced several volumes of essays on political and social philosophy. The general spirit of these is indicated by the titles of two of the best known, The Enigmas of Life (1872) and Rocks Ahead (1874). In the summer of 1875, the Bagehots of Herd’s Hill exchanged houses with his sister-in-law Julia Wilson and her husband, William Rathbone Greg, for a month.