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Erasmus Darwin, an English physician, poet and philosopher, had a botanical garden at Lichfield. He founded three scientific societies in the English Midlands. He wrote several philosophical works about nature, of which the best known is his poem "The Botanic Garden." He was one of the few people in the late 18th century to write about evolution; his grandson Charles Darwin's contributions to the field are better known.
A short letter sent from Darwin to William Withering, a physician and member of Darwin's Lunar Society, in which Darwin first notes his recent purchase of a large number of German books. He then refers to some books of alchemy he hopes to acquire, to an experiment by Dr. William Small, and to the passage through Parliament of a bill granting James Watt an extension on his steam engine patent.
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Erasmus Darwin Letter, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Mass.
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