Did You Know?

Where do you bury someone like [Charles] Darwin, a man who admittedly had lost his Christian faith and declared himself an agnostic?  When he died on April 19, 1882, his family planned to bury him in the local churchyard beside the graves of his children. Some of Darwin's countrymen, however, had other ideas and quickly began lobbying leading scientists and members of government to come together and ask the dean of Britain's Westminster Abbey to allow Darwin to be buried there. The dean, Reverend George Granville Bradley, responded that his "assent would be cheerfully given", and so Darwin, the agnostic, was buried in Westminster Abbey on the afternoon of April 26. Darwin's old friend, botanist Joseph Hooker, was among the pallbearers, as were Alfred Russel Wallace, the young naturalist whose writings had pushed Darwin into publishing his own theory, and James Russell Lowell, the United States' ambassador to Britain. In a part of the Abbey known as Scientists' Corner, Darwin lies a few feet from the burial place of Sir Isaac Newton and next to that of the astronomer Sir John Herschel. It was Herschel that Darwin referred to in the introduction of The Origin of Species as the great philosopher who coined the phrase "mystery of mysteries" to describe the change of Earth's species through time.
--Patricia Kellogg - from the National Geographic web site at