Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/271

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
261
SKETCH OF CHARLES R. DARWIN, LL. D.

ber, 1831, and was gone four years and ten months, during which time it visited Brazil, Patagonia, Chili, Peru, the Galapagos and SocietyIslands, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius, St. Helena, and the Cape Verd Islands. The observations taken during this voyage and the previous expedition were published by Captains King and Fitzroy, their commanders, in a voluminous report, to which Mr. Darwin contributed a volume embodying "A Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries visited by his Majesty's Ship Beagle, under the Command of Captain Fitzroy, from 1832 to 1836." Of this work Sir Charles Lyell wrote to the author, in September, 1838, before it was actually published: "I assure you my father is quite enthusiastic about your journal, which he is reading, and he agrees with me that it would have had a great sale if separately published. The other day he told me that he wished to get a copy bound the moment it was out, and send it as a present to Sir William Hooker, who, more than any one, would be delighted with yours. He was disappointed at hearing that it was to be fettered by the other volumes, for, although he should equally buy it, he feared so many of the public would be checked from doing so." The volume was published separately in 1845. The ten years which followed Mr. Darwin's return to England were mainly devoted by him to the publication of the numerous and important results that had been obtained during the voyage. He edited the treatises of Professor Owen, Mr. Waterhouse, Mr. Gould, the Rev. J. Jenyns, and Mr. Bell, on the different groups of vertebrate animals as "The Zoölogy of the Voyage of H. M. S. Beagle"; and he wrote three separate volumes embodying further fruits of his observations than he had given in the "Report," "On the Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs" (1842); "Geologic Observations on Volcanic Islands" (1844); and "Geological Observations on South America" (1846). Of the first three works, a reviewer of the second edition in "Nature," in 1874, says: "The rising generation of naturalists and geologists have not had, and most probably will never have, such feelings of intellectual pleasure as fell to the lot of the readers of Charles Darwin's book on 'Coral Reefs,' which was offered to science more than thirty years ago. The recent researches into the nature of the deposits of the deep-sea, and the discoveries of bathymetrical zones of water of very different temperatures, are certainly full of vast interest, and will afford the data for the development of many a theory; but the clear exposition of facts, and the bold theory which characterized the book on 'Coral Reefs,' came unexpectedly and with overpowering force of conviction. The natural history of a zoophyte was brought into connection with the grandest phenomena of the globe—with the progressive subsidence of more or less submerged mountains, and with the distribution of volcanic foci." And this reviewer adds that "even at this period of Darwin's life the importance of the struggle for existence had been recognized by him, and had in-