Charles Waring Darwin
Charles Waring Darwin, who died when he was 18 months old (6 December 1856 – 28 June 1858), was the last of the children of Charles and Emma Darwin, their tenth child and sixth son. He was born and died at the family home of Down House in Kent.
There is consensus amongst academics that he had Down's syndrome, which at the time had not been medically described. The evidence is firstly, a photograph by his brother William Erasmus Darwin, of Charles Waring and his mother, which shows a head shape characteristic of Down's syndrome. Secondly, the family's observations of the child; It was noted by his sister Henrietta, in her biography of their mother, that the child was born "without the full share of intelligence". Charles Darwin noted that even though "he was backward in talking & walking" he was nevertheless "intelligent & observant". This diagnosis is also consistent with the well known risk factor for Down's Syndrome of mother's age (Emma was 48 years old at the time of his birth).
Darwin already feared that the consanguinity of his and Emma's lineage — she was his first cousin — had contributed to his children's constitutional weakness, a fear that would find its expression in The Origin of Species in which Darwin rails against the "evil" effects of inbreeding and lauds the good effects of crossing.
The baby's illness and early death kept Darwin from attending the first publication of Darwin's theory at the joint reading of papers by Alfred Russel Wallace and himself titled On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection at the meeting of the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858.
- Freeman 1984, p. 43
- Darwin, C. R. 'Journal' (1809-1881). CUL-DAR158, p. 37 recto, 1858
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