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William Charles Wells (W C Wells)

William Charles Wells (W C Wells). 1757 – 1817 No photo exists…. Early History. Scottish heritage, born Charleston,SC Returned to Dumfries, Scotland 1768 Trained at University of Edinburgh

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William Charles Wells (W C Wells)

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  1. William Charles Wells(W C Wells) 1757 – 1817 No photo exists….

  2. Early History • Scottish heritage, born Charleston,SC • Returned to Dumfries, • Scotland 1768 • Trained at University of Edinburgh • Trained in medicine at Leyden–1780- research on the cause of the common ‘Cold’- returned to Scotland and published this body of research

  3. Early History • 1781 Oversaw brother’s property in SC, allowed family reconciliation in UK. • Traveled to Florida in 1782 and began a newspaper. ‘The East Florida Gazette’ • Returned to Charleston SC and landed in jail (~ 3 mo) over family’s wrong doing • American Revolution1775-1783 • We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these areLife, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. • 1784 After almost 4 yrs in US, returned to UK after treaty signed with Great Britain, Treaty of Paris signed September 1783 ack. US as an independent nation! • Neglected studies while in US but embraced scholarly activity once return to UK.

  4. Professional Accomplishments • Physician with a modest practice • Philosopher • Stroke survivor • Printer, book seller, merchant • Corresponded with Erasmus Darwin (Charles's grandfather) on issues of science and philosophy

  5. Scholarly scientific works • 1792 Essay: Single vision with two eyes: together with experiments and observations on several subjects in optics ~ stimuli on eye muscles • A series of essays read before Royal Society in London 1813 • 1814 elected Fellow of Royal Society AND awarded a Rumford Medal for his ‘Essay on Dew’

  6. Scholarly scientific works • 1818 Essay: An account of a female of the white race…part of whose skin resembles that of a negro, with some observations on the cause of the differences in colour and form between the white and the negro races of man • Later portion referred to natural selection • Concluding with a memoir on his life that was published after his death at the end of this essay

  7. Scholarly Novel Ideas • Wells assumed a biological revolution had occurred of the human species • Principle of Natural Selection was a struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. • Charles Darwin’s was unaware of Wells work initially, but acknowledged the idea was first put forth by Wells 50 years earlier in 4th edition on the Origin of Species published in 1866

  8. Well’s quote • "[What was done for animals artificially] seems to be done with equal efficiency, though more slowly, by nature, in the formation of varieties of mankind, fitted for the country which they inhabit. Of the accidental varieties of man, which would occur among the first scattered inhabitants, some one would be better fitted than the others to bear the diseases of the country. This race would multiply while the others would decrease, and as the darkest would be the best fitted for the [African] climate, at length [they would] become the most prevalent, if not the only race."

  9. Scholarly Novel Ideas • Principle of Natural Selection was placed in the context of only skin color • Also noted artificial selection was different from natural selection ~ human skin color • However, Darwin and Wallace thought the idea was universal and explained much of what they had observed on their travels.

  10. Other writings by Wells: Transactions of a Society for the Promotion of Medical and Chirurgical Knowledge 1811-12: • Observations on Erysipelas. • An instance of an entire want of hair in the human body. • Observations on the dropsy which succeeds Scarlet Fever. • A case of Tetanus, with observations on the disease. • A case of aneurism of the Aorta, communicating with the Pulmonary artery. • A case of considerable enlargement of the Cœcum and Colon. • A case of extensive Gangrene of the cellular nembrane between the muscles and skin of the neck and chest. • On rheumatism of the heart. • On the presence of the red matter and serum of the blood in the urine of dropsy, which has not originated in Scarlet Fever. • Observations on Pulmonary Consumption and intermittent fever, chiefly as diseases opposed to each other; with an attempt to arrange several other diseases, according to the alliance or opposition which exists between them, and one or other of the two former.

  11. Summary William C. Wells • Received Rumford Medal – optics research and philosophy • Differentiated between artificial selection and natural selection • Primary example of natural selection – limited to human skin color • Wrote numerous articles on medical conditions • Darwin acknowleged his contribution in 4th edition of Origins…(1866), but no photo of him exists today……

  12. References • http://books.google.com/books?id=Epyc1v7SrAcC&pg=PA85&lpg=PA85&dq=W+C+Wells&source=web&ots=tNjLVH15rh&sig=Ew0a_NfRzk66E1cDxOMIUX03xXo&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=8&ct=result (The Genius of Erasmus Darwin Christopher Upham Murray Smith, Robert Arnott) • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Charles_Wells • http://web2.ccpl.org/prvEmployees/HTML/scienceproject/ScienceWalk/William%20Wells.html • http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/e36/36a.htm • Two Essays: Upon single vision with two eyes and Essays On Dew (pg 152, 177) and Part of whose Skin resembles a Negro and a Memoir. 1818. London England http://books.google.com/books?id=cuZHAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=William+Charles+Wells&client=firefox-a#PPR5,M1

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