JANUARY - Events sorted by day of the month:

January 01 1839
Darwin moved into 12 Upper Gower Street, London (just a few blocks from Regent's Park). His servant, Syms Covington, helped him move all his belongings. After a few days the house looked like a cluttered museum of natural history.

January 04 1837
This was a big day for Darwin. Today he gave his first speech before the Royal Geological Society in London. He was very nervous! All the experts in geology were there and this was Darwin's big chance to prove himself to his peers. The topic of his paper was on the gradual raising of South America over eons of time. He concluded that as land masses raise upward, the nearby ocean floor subsides, and that the animals on the raising continent somehow or another adapt to these very slow changes (at this time Darwin had no idea how this happened). This theory represented a shift away from Lyell's theory which stated that animals cannot adapt, but rather die out and are replaced with new species. This was one of the earliest signs that Darwin was beginning to develop his own theories, going beyond his mentors. The speech, by the way, was received very well by nearly all the geologists there.

January 06 1832
The ship arrived at the port of Santa Cruz, Tenerife Island. The crew was prevented from going ashore due to a cholera outbreak in England. They would have to wait out a quarantine period of twelve days but Capt. FitzRoy would not be delayed and gave orders for the ship to proceed. Darwin was devastated at missing the chance to see the island of his dreams, and watched Tenerife fade off into the horizon.

January 11 1844
Impressed with Joseph Hooker's work on the Tierra del Fuego plants, Darwin took a giant risk and confided in him about his transmutation theories. Hooker's reaction was one of guarded enthusiasm, but he was eager to hear more about it. Darwin was pleasantly surprised.

January 12 1836
H.M.S. Beagle arrived at Sydney Harbor, Australia.

January 12 1846
Darwin rented a small parcel of land from his neighbor, John Lubbock. On this 1.5 acre strip of land he created his famous "Sandwalk" which was to become his thinking path during his morning and afternoon strolls.

January 15 1850
Emma and Darwin had another son, Leonard Darwin. Darwin now felt quite well, but he continued his water treatments in the backyard, just to be on the safe side.

January 15 1871
Proofs of "Descent of Man" were edited and sent to John Murray.

January 16 1832
The Beagle arrived at Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands, and anchored at Porto Praya. Darwin went ashore and explored for a few days. Here he made his first "discovery," - a horizontal white band of shells within a cliff face along the shoreline about forty-five feet above sea level. The cliff face was at one time under water. Darwin wondered how it ended up forty-five feet above the sea? He noted that the line was not even horizontal, but varied in height. This supported Lyell's theory of a world slowly changing over a great period of time. The ship stayed at the island for twenty-three days.

January 16 1836
Darwin started on a 130 mile inland trip to Bathurst, New South Wales. Along the way he made observations of the wildlife and was so astonished by the creatures he saw (namely, the odd-looking platypus) that he surmised there must have been a separate creation just for these odd creatures. On his return he visited Capt. King, the commander of the first Beagle surveying voyage. He was now living on his farm just outside Sydney.

January 22 1831
He took his final exam and passed with very good scores! The exam covered such topics as Homer, Virgil, Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy (good scores here), Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding (did well here, too), mathematics (did not do so well), physics and astronomy (also, not very good). He came in 10th place out of 178 students who passed the exam.

January 22 1871
George Mivart, a self taught zoologist and anti-evolutionist, brought up the "half a wing is useless" argument against natural selection. This argument was presented in his book: "On the Genesis of Species". The book was essentially a tactical strike against the theory of natural selection. The major argument Mivart presented was one against transitional forms. For example, if a species of lizard was on the road to evolving the ability of flight, what good would half a wing do for the lizard? Since an animal cannot fly with half a wing it was folly to imagine a long series of transitional steps towards flight. Darwin became quite upset with Mivart, not because of his objections to his theory, but because of the venomous manner in which Mivart put forth his objections and his attacks on Darwin's colleagues.

January 23 1833
A mission was started at Woolya Cove just off the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego. Revd. Richard Matthews and three anglicized Fuegians stayed behind to run the mission (their names were: York Minster, Jemmy Button and a female named Fuegia Basket). Small huts were built and gardens planted, and much cargo and provisions were left with them. On the way back east along the Beagle channel Darwin marveled at the snow, glaciers, and icebergs. After nine days they returned to the mission and found the place looted by the native Fuegians. Darwin had doubts that savages like these could become civilized. Richard Matthews returned to the Beagle, leaving the three Fuegians behind to run the mission on their own.

January 24 1839
Darwin was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

January 29 1839
Charles Darwin married Emma Wedgwood at St. Peter's Church at Maer. The newlyweds returned to London rather hastily, making the guests quite upset. One possible explanation for leaving early may have been that by now Darwin had developed his fear of being in crowds of people for long periods of time.

January 30 1868
After much editing, "The Variations of Animals and Plants under Domestication" was finally published. It was a beautiful portrayal of just how malleable species can be.

Events some time during this month:

January (late) 1847
Hooker read Darwin's 231 page essay on transmutation. He had difficulty accepting the idea that new species were derived from previous ones. He opted for a continual divine creation of new species as others died out. Nevertheless, he pointed out sections of the essay that needed clarification, and those parts that were not easy to understand. After reading the essay Hooker informed Darwin that he was planning a voyage to the tropics. Being more dependent on Hooker than ever before, Darwin did not like this plan one bit.

January 1860
The repercussions of Origin of Species were mixed. Thomas Huxley and Joseph Hooker thought very highly of it and soon became stronger allies with Darwin. Huxley soon became a ruthless defender of evolution, even going so far as to suggest that mankind was a transmuted ape! Richard Owen was outraged by the Origin. He saw the ideas expressed in the book as being dangerous to society. He also thought the book left too many unanswered questions, and worst of all it leaned natural science away from its respectable position as an investigator of god's creation. Most readers, however, simply did not understand how natural selection worked. They could not see who or what was doing the selecting. Many assumed god was the selector.

January 1861
The journal, Natural History Review, was bought by Huxley and other naturalists partial to evolutionary thinking. The journal was used as a voice for Darwin supporters. The first issue had an article by Huxley which described man's relationship to the apes. He sent a complementary copy to Bishop Wilberforce, just for fun. Over the next few months Huxley gave lectures to the poor working classes on the evolution of man from lowly apes. Such sermons appealed to the working class, as the idea of man being a nobel creature made their meager existence seem less harsh. Huxley was also getting into lively arguments with Richard Owen over man's descent from an ape-like ancestor.

January 1863
A lizard-bird fossil was discovered in Solenhofen, Germany, and Richard Owen arranged to buy it for the British Museum. During a speech to the Royal Society, Owen dubbed the fossil "Archaeopteryx". Upon further examination it was found that the Archaeopteryx fossil, while at first looking like a bird, had many features found only in lizards (teeth, a bony tail, etc.). The lack of fossil evidence for species transmutation concerned Darwin a great deal, but he figured that transitional fossils would eventually be found and the Archaeopteryx fossil fit the bill quite nicely.

Winter 1829
Darwin began to have more doubts regarding pursuing a religious career. His studies were not going very well, and he was spending too much time out in the countryside collecting beetles.

Winter 1836
Darwin spent the winter writing a paper on South America, and organizing his huge collection of specimens.

Winter 1839
Emma started to become very worried about Darwin's salvation. She was aware that his transmutation research was consuming his thoughts and she feared it may lead him away from Christianity. A few weeks later Syms Covington said farewell to Darwin and headed off to Australia along with thousands of other British citizens during this time. A gentleman by the name of Joseph Parslow became Darwin's new servant, a position he would hold for the next forty years.

Winter 1840
Migraines, pains in the heart, nausea and stomach problems started taking a heavier toll on Darwin. By now even a little excitement in his life brought on illness, so he became more and more of a recluse.

Winter 1843
Darwin gave a new friend of his, Joseph Dalton Hooker, the opportunity to examine and catalogue the plants he brought back from Tierra del Fuego. Hooker showed great enthusiasm in his work with the plants and this did not escape the attention of Darwin, who at this time was looking for naturalists who may be sympathetic to his revolutionary ideas.

Winter 1866
The Mount, Darwin's childhood home, was sold. The building still stands today, although it is now occupied by the District Valuer and Valuation Officer, Shrewsbury.

Winter 1876
"The Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilized by Insects" and "The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom" were both published.

Winter - Spring 1827
Robert Grant, a Scottish zoologist, became a very close friend of Darwin. They would often go out on long walks together at the Firth of Forth, an estuary just north of Edinburgh, discussing marine life and collecting specimens. On these walks Grant filled Darwin's head with evolutionary ideas, especially those of Lamarck, whom Grant admired a great deal.

Winter (late) 1878
The biography of his grandfather titled, "Erasmus Darwin" was published. Darwin had spent nearly six months working on it.

Winter or Spring 1839
Darwin began flooding animal breeders and farmers with a seemingly endless barrage of questions about species variation and inheritance. He compiled a list of twenty-one questions, written on eight quarto pages. He wished to know, for example, if the characteristics of hybrids are maintained in future generations, how cross breeding effected the vigor of a species, and the results of crossing wild types with established breeds. Unfortunately the list of questions overwhelmed the breeders due to their complexity and as a result very few of them responded.

Winter Term 1828
Once again Darwin did not take his studies very seriously, spending much of his free time collecting beetles, reading Shakespeare, and having dinner parties with his friends.