In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read Malthus on Population, and being well pre­pared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work.

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