ERASMUS DARWIN Autograph Signature.
British (English) physician, scientist, inventor and poet. One of the key figures of the Midlands Enlightenment. Grandfather of Charles Darwin and Francis Galton.
Autograph signature (initials) and three lines in his hand. September 30th 1784.
"Please to weigh the oats . . . [?] with money. For Mrs Cheney. Sept 30th - 84". With provenance written on the verso by the original collector "Dr Erasmus Darwin - Grandfather of Charles Darwin - given to me by his granddaughter's friend - Mrs Cowan."
On paper piece measuring approx 7.5 x 2 inches. Chip to right edge and one old worm hole (not touching any part of the text or signature). All else very good.
Erasmus Darwin was a remarkable man. He was a key thinker of the Midlands Enlightenment and one of the founders of the Birmingham Lunar Society, the intellectual force behind the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Members of the Society included his friends Matthew Bolton, Josiah Wedgewood, James Watt, Joseph Priestley and Samuel Galton, all of whom were influenced by him. Erasmus Darwin propounded a theory of evolution and anticipated the idea of natural selection. He was also an inventor and carried out experiments into steering devices, canal lifts, copying machines and also produced plans for a rocket engine fuelled by hydrogen and oxygen. His experiments in galvanism were an important source of inspiration for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Erasmus Darwin was a great humanist and championed the causes of education for women and the abolition of the slave trade. He was a lifelong friend of Benjamin Franklin, with whom he supported both the American and French Revolutions. He was a gifted physician and turned down the offer to become physician to George III. He was the grandfather of both Charles Darwin and Francis Galton. The autograph of Erasmus Darwin is rare.