The Patrick Matthew Project


This website provides links to primary sources of texts written by or relating to Patrick Matthew (1790-1874), the first person known to have proposed natural selection as a mechanism for the evolutionary origin of species.

The website has been developed by Mike Weale, formerly a Reader in Statistical Genetics at King’s College London (until March 2018) and currently a Principal Scientist at Genomics plc. The website was launched in September 2014. Any views expressed are my own and not necessarily those of any organisation I currently or previously worked for. I have received no funding or incentives with regards to this website. Please contact me with any comments or suggestions, or “Leave a Reply”.


(2015-03-04). My annotated version of Matthew’s 1831 End-Appendix is available. This is the text where Matthew proposes natural selection as a mechanism for the origin of species.

(2015-03-27). New photos of Patrick Matthew, his family, and his house at Gourdie Hill, are publicly available for the first time.

(2015-04-20). My article on Patrick Matthew, published today in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, and discussed in an interview with me on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and also by Prof Steve Jones and Dr Patricia Fara in the final 5 minutes of the Today programme.

(2016-08-10). My article on Patrick Matthew has passed it’s open-access download period in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, but both the peer-reviewed and pre-peer-reviewed versions of the manuscript are freely available here.

(2016-09-24). GD316: “Records of the Matthew family of Gourdiehill, Perthshire” scans are available, detailing Patrick Matthew’s family tree, the inheritance of Gourdiehill, and more.

(2017-11-06). Matthew’s Prospectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company (1839) is now available in pdf and full-text formats, together with notes on its structure and contents.

(2018-03-30). A new article on Patrick Matthew, providing an in-depth comparison of his views with those of Darwin and Wallace, has been published by Dr Joachim Dagg: “Comparing the respective transmutation mechanisms of Patrick Matthew, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace” (Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Vol 123 (April 2018), pp.864-878). A free-to-view pre-print version of this article, and additional commentary on it, is available here.

(2018-05-09). CS280/11/38: Bankruptcy scans are available, revealing the reasons for Patrick Matthew’s bankruptcy in 1848. More Matthew Family Records will follow.

Page created: 8 September 2014
Last modified: 9 May 2018