- Events sorted by day of the month:
Darwin woke up early for the first day of bird hunting season
and while he was out he received word that his uncle Josiah
wanted the two of them to return to Shrewsbury at once. Upon
arriving at The Mount Darwin found that his uncle's letter
had done the trick, and his father allowed him to go on the
voyage, and would support him in any way necessary.
Hoping that the position had not yet been filled, Darwin arrived
in London and to went to the Whitehall Admiralty building
to speak with Robert FitzRoy in Captain Beaufort's office.
FitzRoy told Darwin that the other person he had offered the
job to had just turn it down and he wanted to know if Darwin
was still interested in the position. He enthusiastically
accepted the offer and FitzRoy outlined the details of the
voyage. Darwin learned that the sail date had been postponed
until 10 October. Later in the afternoon Darwin took up residence
at 17 Spring Gardens, just around the corner from Whitehall.
The next few days were spent shopping in London and discussing
the details of the voyage with FitzRoy.
Darwin sent an outline of his theory of natural selection
to Asa Gray, professor of natural history at Harvard University.
H.M.S. Beagle set sail from Callao, Peru, to the Galapagos
The first grandson of Emma and Darwin, Bernard Darwin, was
born. He was the first son of Francis Darwin and Amy Ruck,
she having died a few days later on 11 September due to a
Darwin completed his final will.
Upon returning home at Shrewsbury he received a letter from
Fanny that she was engaged to be married. This upset Darwin
a great deal.
Darwin's 118 page treatise: "The Movement and Habits
of Climbing Plants" was published by the Linnean Society.
Darwin, Emma, and the children, move to Down House amid labor
riots in the streets of London.
In the afternoon a tiny point of land was seen on the horizon.
This was the first sighting of the Galapagos Archipelago,
and it turned out to be Mount Pitt, a large hill on the north-east
end of Chatham Island.
H.M.S. Beagle reached Hood Island today. Early in the morning
Edward Chaffers (master) and Arthur Mellersh (midshipman)
set out on a boat to examine the island's shoreline. By noon
another boat was launched to survey the central islands of
the archipelago. Later in the afternoon H.M.S. Beagle reached
Chatham Island. Darwin was intrigued by the black lava rocky
shore, and raw hostile environment of the island.
They sailed to the north-east end of Chatham. Capt. FitzRoy
and others went on a short inland excursion. Darwin and John
Stokes (assistant surveyor) were also put on shore and explored
on their own. Darwin examined the huge tortoises here, but
collected just ten plants, most of which he thought were unimpressive
little things. Eighteen tortoises were brought on board as
Darwin was experiencing heart problems which may have been
caused by the stress brought on by his heretical transmutation
research. He stopped work for a short time and went home to
Shrewsbury, stopping along the way to visit the Wedgwood estate.
During this visit he paid particular attention to his first
cousin, Emma Wedgwood.
Darwin had a dream of being executed by hanging.
Mary Eleanor Darwin was born, but died on 18 October.
Darwin's health was finally starting to improve. Another daughter,
Henrietta Darwin, was born, and more good news, the Zoology
of the Beagle Voyage was completed! The five volumes of the
Zoology were - Part 1: Fossils. Part 2: Mammals. Part 3: Birds.
Part 4: Fish. Part 5: Reptiles.
Darwin arrived back at Valparaiso from an inland excursion
but had been very sick for the past few weeks. He stayed at
Corfield's house with a bad fever and did not recover until
late October. During this time he wrote a letter to his sisters
back home describing his adventures and also told of how ill
he had been (an act he would later regret).
some time during this month:
The edited copy of the transmutation sketch was sent back
to Darwin and it had grown to 231 pages. For the very first
time he showed the sketch to Emma, expecting the worst. Surprisingly,
her response to it was not as bad as he thought it would be.
She expressed concern about various assumptions he was making,
suggested a few corrections here and there, but for the most
part her reaction appeared to have been quite reserved.
Darwin spent a three week holiday at nearby Sevenoaks.
Asa Gray and his wife came to England to visit Darwin at Down
Darwin joined his brother, Erasmus, at Shrewsbury Grammar
School, run by the Revd. Samuel Butler. The focus of study
was Greek and Roman reading and grammar. He developed a great
fondness of Shakespeare and Byron during this time. As an
aside, Darwin was referred to as "Bobby" by his
family during his childhood.
"Geological Observations on South America" was now
The second edition of Barnacles was now in print.
Darwin made arrangements with John Murray to publish his orchid
book next year. By this time, German, Dutch and French translations
of Origin of Species were in the works. As the work on orchids
piled up, Darwin became much more ill and his research ground
to a near halt. Huxley continued his lecture circuit, and
during this time he was heading for that stronghold of the
church, Edinburugh, Scotland. He gave a speech there on the
evolution of mankind from a species of ancestral ape. Much
to his surprise, his lecture was met with great enthusiasm;
some people in the audience even cheered! When Darwin heard
the news he was overcome with joy.
While reading Lyell's book, "Antiquity of Man,"
Darwin's health became much worse. At the behest of his wife,
Emma, he returned to Malvern Spa for the water cure. Darwin
could not bring himself to visit Annie's grave, but Emma went
for a look - the spot being overgrown with bushes.