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Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the Years 1826 and 1836, describing their Examination of the Southern Shores of South America, and the Beagle’s Circumnavigation of the Globe.
Henry Colburn, London 1839 - First edition, an extraordinary presentation copy connecting two exceptional Victorians, inscribed by the Commander of the Beagle Robert FitzRoy (see below), the man who chose Darwin to accompany him on the epochal voyage. ?The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career? (Charles Darwin, Life and Letters I, p. 61). ?The five years of the voyage were the most important event in Darwin?s intellectual life and in the history of biological science. Darwin sailed with no formal scientific training. He returned a hard-headed man of science, knowing the importance of evidence, almost convinced that species had not always been as they were since the creation but had undergone change ? The experiences of his five years in the Beagle, how he dealt with them, and what they led to, built up into a process of epoch-making importance in the history of thought? (DSB). The third volume comprises Darwin?s own journal of his voyage in the Beagle, which is the first issue of his first published book. It is ?is undoubtedly the most often read and stands second only to On the Origin of Species as the most often printed? (Freeman, 31). It is ?one of the most interesting records of natural history exploration ever written and is one of the most important, for it was on this voyage that Darwin prepared for his lifework, ultimately leading to The Origin of Species? (Hill I: 104-105). Volume I of the Narrative concerns the initial surveying expedition, 1826?30, under Philip Parker King in the Adventure, during which FitzRoy succeeded Pringle Stokes as commander of the accompanying Beagle. Volume II describes FitzRoy?s continuation and completion of the survey with the Beagle alone, ending in 1836. ?The surveys he carried out in South American waters established FitzRoy as a first-rate hydrographer and won for him the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society (1837). Because his marine surveys were accurate to such a high degree they are still used as the foundation for a number of charts of that area? (DSB). Only one other complete copy of the Narrative in its original binding and inscribed by FitzRoy has appeared at auction (Christie?s South Kensington, September 21, 2005, lot 79, £33,600 = $60,752). A copy inscribed by FitzRoy but lacking one of the plates sold for £42,049 ($63,885) at Bonham?s, June 19, 2013, lot 43.Provenance: inscribed and signed on the half-title by the Captain of the Beagle, Robert FitzRoy, to ?Dr. Lee, LL.D., a tribute of esteem and respect from Robt. FitzRoy, Sept. 19th, 1856.? Also inscribed by Lee on the front pastedown, ?John Lee, Hartwell, a present from the accomplished author, 22 September 1856?, with Lee?s armorial bookplate on front pastedown in all volumes. John Lee (1783-1866) was an English philanthropist, astronomer, mathematician, antiquarian and barrister. Lee and FitzRoy were both pioneer meteorologists, and this is probably the reason for the gift of these volumes: Lee was a founder of the British Meteorological Society in 1839, and FitzRoy was instrumental in the founding in 1854 of the Meteorological Office of the Board of Trade, and was its first head. FitzRoy issued the first daily weather forecasts, published in The Times, and actually invented the term ?weather forecast?.?If it had not been for Robert FitzRoy, the name Charles Darwin would now be remembered, if at all, as that of a country parson with an interest in natural history, perhaps rather in the mould of Gilbert White, of Selborne. The theory of natural selection, which explains the fact of evolution, would be known from the work of Alfred Russel Wallace, who came up with the idea independently of Darwin, and whose work prompted Darwin to go public with his own ideas; we would be as familiar then with the term ?Wallacian evolution? as we are, in the real world where Robert FitzRoy lived, with the term ?Darwinian evolution? In that real world, FitzRoy is known, so far as he is wi [Attributes: First Edition]
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