Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 January 2009
On occasion Charles Darwin can seem our scientific contemporary, for the subjects he engaged remain engaging today, but in his role as author he belongs to the past. It is not customary today for scientists to write book after book, as Darwin did, or for these books to serve as the primary vehicle of scientific communication. For Darwin, however, the book was central. He wrote at least eighteen, depending on what one counts; in his Autobiography he entitled the section describing his most important work ‘An account how several books arose’; and in his personal Journal, begun in August 1838 after he had come to a mature sense of himself, he organized entries around his books. A characteristic entry is that for 1846: ‘Oct. 1st. Finished last proof of my Geolog. Observ. on S. America; This volume, including Paper in Geolog. Journal on the Falkland Islands took me 18 & 1/2 months:–’. Further, almost always he had a book under way: when one was complete, the next was begun. He called them the milestones to his life.
2 Burkhardt, F. and Smith, S.; Bowman, C., Browne, J., Burkhardt, A. S., Kohn, D., Montgomery, W., Pocock, S. V., Richmond, M. L., Secord, A., Stevenson, N. C. (eds.), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, 6 + vols, Cambridge, 1985–, iii, p. 397Google Scholar (hereafter Correspondence); de Beer, G. R., ‘Darwin's Journal’, Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Hist. Ser. (1959), 2, p. 11.Google Scholar
3 There were interesting breaks in this pattern. In 1844, after completing Volcanic Islands but before beginning Geological Observations on South America, Darwin allowed himself five months, from 13 February to 5 July, to write up a 230 page sketch of his species theory. He also lingered between sorting his species notes in 1854 and actually beginning to write in 1856. Otherwise the interval between the completion of one book and the beginning of another was short. Until 1861 Darwin also cleared his desk of one book before starting another. In that year he began work on his orchid book before finishing Variation Under Domestication. In his later botanical works the ending of the writing of one and the beginning of another was also not so sharp as formerly, as in 1873 when he began on fertilization and then turned to insectivorous plants, de Beer, op. cit. (2), pp. 10–11, 13–15, 19; Darwin, C., Geological Observations on Volcanic Islands, Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. ‘Beagle’Google Scholar, together with Some Brief Notices on the Geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Being the Second Part of the Voyage of the ‘Beagle’, Under the Command of Capt. FitzRoy, R.N., During the Years 1832 to 1836, London, 1844Google Scholar (hereafter VI); Geological Observations on South America. Being the Third Part of the Geology of the Voyage of the ‘Beagle’, Under the Command of Capt. FitzRoy, R.N. During the Years 1832 to 1836, London, 1846Google Scholar (hereafter GSA); The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, 2 vols, London, 1868.Google Scholar For Darwin's other works see Freeman, R. B., The Works of Charles Darwin. An Annotated Bibliographical Handlist, 2nd edn, Folkestone, Hamden, 1977.Google Scholar
6 Darwin, C., ‘Geology’ in Herschel, J. F. W. (ed.), A Manual of Scientific Enquiry, Prepared for the Use of Her Majesty's Navy and Adapted for Travellers in General, London, 1849, p. 158.Google Scholar On Darwin's interest in guaranteeing the novelty of his observations and collections one may note his temporary, though real, irritation at having Alcide Charles Victor Dessalines d'Orbigny as a rival in South America; Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, pp. 280, 462.Google Scholar Also see Secord, J., pp. 153–6Google Scholar, this volume.
7 FitzRoy, R. (ed.), 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, 3 vols + appendix, London, 1839Google Scholar, i [Proceedings of the First Expedition, 1826–1830, Under the Command of Captain P. Parker King, R.N., F.R.S.], p. 385.Google Scholar
9 Lyell, C., Principles of Geology, Being an Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface, by Reference to Causes Now in Operation, 3 vols [vol. 1, 1830, vol. 2, 1832, vol. 3, 1833], London, 1830–33.Google Scholar Darwin's copy of volume one, which accompanied him on the voyage, is inscribed ‘From Capt FitzRoy’. On the circumstances of Lyell's composition of the first volume see Wilson, L., Charles Lyell: The Years to 1841, New Haven, 1972Google Scholar, chapter 9 and the introduction by Rudwick, M. J. S. to the 1970Google Scholar J. Cramer reprint edition of the Principles. Another work Darwin frequently used while on board the Beagle was von Buch, L., Travels through Norway and Lapland … Translated by John Black with Notes by Robert Jameson, London, 1813.Google Scholar Of roughly equal importance as Lyell to Darwin was his copy of von Humboldt, Alexander, Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, During the Years 1799–1804 … Translated into English by Helen Maria Williams, 7 vols, London, 1819–1829.Google Scholar Vols 1 and 2, in one, 3rd edn, were inscribed, ‘J. S. Henslow to his friend C. Darwin on his departure from England upon a voyage round the World. 21 Sept 1831.’ The remark praising Humboldt was in a letter from Sedgwick, A. to Darwin, dated 18 09 1831Google Scholar, Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, p. 157.Google Scholar (Proximity of date between Sedgwick's letter and Henslow's gift suggests the possibility of some communication between the two.) For a list of books known to be aboard the Beagle see Correspondence, op. cit. (2), iGoogle Scholar, appendix iv. Darwin's copies of the works cited above are at Cambridge University Library.
10 Darwin, E., The Botanic Garden, a Poem, in Two Parts. Part 1. The Economy of Vegetation. Part 2 The Loves of the Plants. [Part 1 is 1791 1st edn, Part 2 is 1790 2nd edn], London, 1791, 1790.Google Scholar Copy at Cambridge University Library. Part 1, pp. 64–6 contains the core of Erasmus Darwin's geological speculations: a ‘note’ on the formation of granite considered primarily as a species of lava, the section of the earth (Figure 1, facing p. 65), and a ‘geological recapitualtion’ arguing for the original projection of the earth from the sun and its gradual cooling to form a crust, and presenting explanations for the origin of major features of the earth's present topography. In the section on granite the views of James Hutton regarding the ongoing creation of continents and the eternality of the globe are described, though Erasmus Darwin's comments in the ‘recapitulation’ do not suggest that he shared Hutton's views on the history of the earth; thus Darwin argued that earthquake and volcanic activity of ‘modern days’ is ‘of small extent and insignificant’ as compared to an earlier time (p. 66). Also see King-Hele, D., Doctor of Revolution: the Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin, London, 1977, pp. 220–4.Google Scholar
13 The four geological specimen notebooks are on deposit at Cambridge University Library. The bulk of Darwin's geological specimens are held by the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge.
15 The main run of Darwin's geology notes is contained in DAR 32–38. A portion of these notes, as with the zoology notes in DAR 30–31, were kept on rule-lined paper bearing a C. Wilmot 1828 watermark. The paper shows signs of having been bound. In the course of the voyage Darwin's note-taking style evolved. Originally notes on the versos of pages referred to the facing page; at DAR 32.1:61 he altered his practice to have notes on versos refer to the text on their rectos. Also, specimen numbers began by being integrated into the text; later they moved out to the left margin. Volumes of Darwin mauscripts, noted as ‘DAR’, are at Cambridge University Library.
16 All in DAR 41, the first two in the hand of Syms Covington, Darwin's servant and copyist, with Darwin's corrections added in his own hand. A holograph version of ‘Coral Islands’, differing at points from the fair copy, is also in DAR 41 and has been published in Stoddart, D. R. (ed.), ‘Coral islands, by Charles Darwin’, Atoll Research Bulletin, 88, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar, Pacific Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, 1962 [hereafter CI].
17 The notebook labelled ‘Santiago Book’, catalogued 1.18 at Down House, is unpublished. It was begun about August 1834 and used as a field notebook through February 1835. Thereafter until approximately midway in 1836 the notebook was used for more general speculations. On dating the notebook, see Sulloway, F. J., ‘Further remarks on Darwin's spelling habits’, J. Hist. Biol. (1983), 16, pp. 367–76.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed The Red Notebook, which dates from late May 1836 to late May/mid-June 1837, has been published in Barrett, P. H., Gautrey, P. J., Herbert, S., Kohn, D., and Smith, S. (eds.), Charles Darwin's Notebooks, 1836–1844: Geology, Transmutation of Species, Metaphysical Enquiries ‘Red Notebook’ ed. S. Herbert], London and Ithaca, 1987Google Scholar [hereafter Notebooks, ‘RN’ for ‘Red Notebook’]. For a discussion of dating the notebook see pp. 17–18. Also available as Herbert, S. (ed.). The Red Notebook of Charles Darwin, London and Ithaca, 1980.Google Scholar
19 DAR 32.1:18. The underlining of ‘partial sinking’ is a later pencil addition, as is marginal scoring that appears in the manuscript next to the second sentence quoted. In transcriptions from Darwin's notes single angled brackets [< >] represent deletions, doubled angled brackets () represent insertions. At a prominent place in the literature there is a statement regarding Darwin's experiences at Quail Island requiring amendment. In his recent edition of the Diary [op. cit. (5), pp. 24–5]Google Scholar Keynes quoted the following passage from Darwin's Autobiography: ‘The geology of St. Jago is very striking yet simple: a stream of lava formerly flowed over the bed of the sea, formed of triturated recent shells and corals, which it has baked into a hard white rock. Since then the whole island has been upheaved. But the line of white rock revealed to me a new and important fact, namely that there had been afterwards subsidence round the craters, which had since been in action, and had poured forth lava.’ Keynes then suggested that, ‘The absence of a reference in the Diary to the line of white rock may be because at this stage CD had far from satisfied himself as to its geological origin.’ However, what the Diary does lack is contained in the full geological notes, at least in regard to a basic narrative regarding the origin of the island. On Quail Island Darwin observed a ‘white line of raised coast’ (DAR 32.1:15). (See bed ‘D’ in Figure 3). Then he applied the interpretation of his ‘keystone’, Quail Island, to São Tiago (DAR 32.1.21): ‘The whole country has a desolate wild appearance. & it is impossible for an instant to view it without attributing the formation to Volcanic origin … The black & precipitous cliffs that surround the Eastern side of the harbor of Porto Praya are <illeg.> traversed by a white band, which stretches away for <some> many miles in an horizontal direction. This line which is very striking, proves to be the upraised beach of a former coast:…’. On this reading see Secord, , op. cit. (6).Google Scholar Also see Herbert, S., ‘Darwin as a geologist’, Sei. Am. (1986), 254, no. 5, pp. 117–18.Google Scholar
20 The section drawing has been traced from DAR 32.1: 16A. In the drawing the alphabetical letters and the phrase ‘Level of Sea’ are in ink; the remainder of the drawing is in pencil. The letter ‘K’ refers to a dislocation. The rule-drawn diagonal line represents the dip. The encircled ‘Lava 1836’ is a pencilled notation Darwin made on a return visit to the island in 1836. Passages quoted in discussion of the section drawing are from DAR 32.1: 15–18 and versos with occasional reference to the first geological specimen notebook.
22 Secord, , op. cit. (6)Google Scholar; and for lucid characterizations of the practice of geology in Britain during the 1830s see Rudwick, M. J. S., The Great Devonian Controversy: the Shaping of Scientific Knowledge among Gentlemanly Specialists, Chicago, 1985, pp. 46–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Secord, J., Controversy in Victorian Geology: The Cambrian-Silurian Dispute, Princeton, 1986, pp. 24–38.Google Scholar For a broader formulation of many of the same topics see Laudan, R., From Mineralogy to Geology: The Foundations of a Science, 1650–1830, Chicago, 1987CrossRefGoogle Scholar, chapter 7. On the primacy of stratigraphy in British geology see Cannon, W. F. [S. F.], ‘The uniformitarian-catastrophist debate’, Isis, (1960), 51, p. 39CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Herbert, S., ‘Darwin the young geologist’ in Kohn, D. (ed.), The Darwinian Heritage, Princeton, 1985, pp. 485–9, 495–6.Google Scholar
23 On Sedgwick's structural approach to formations see Secord, , op. cit. (22), pp. 57–68Google Scholar, and, on the orientation of Cambridge geologists towards mathematics see Smith, C., ‘Geologists and mathematicians: the rise of physical geology’ in Harman, P. M. (ed.), Wranglers and Physicists: Studies in Cambridge Physics in the Nineteenth Century, Manchester, 1985, pp. 49–83.Google Scholar
24 Edward Sabine, a leader of the ‘magnetic crusade’ in Britain, characterized work done on the 1831–36 Beagle voyage as ‘amongst the most important contributions to magnetical science’ and the ‘precursor of what British naval officers will accomplish for magnetism in the southern hemisphere’. Sabine, E., ‘Report on the variations of the magnetic intensity observed at different points of the earth's surface’, Rep. Seventh Meeting Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci. [Liverpool 1837], (1838), 6, pp. 32, 33.Google Scholar FitzRoy had provided unpublished data on magnetic intensity gathered during the voyage to Sabine who incorporated it into his survey, which was relied on by Gauss, C. F., Reingold, N., ‘Edward Sabine’Google Scholar, DSB. FitzRoy published his data on magnetic variation in FitzRoy, R., op. cit. (7, 12), appendix, pp. 65–88.Google Scholar Regarding Humboldt's role in stimulating magnetical work see Multhauf, R. P. and Good, G. A., A Brief History of Geomagnetism and a Catalog of the Collections of the National Museum of American History in Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology, (1987), 48, p. 11.Google Scholar
25 Diary, op. cit. (5), p. 33.Google Scholar David Stanbury informs me that FitzRoy pursued magnetical work primarily on his own initiative, government supported work having been assigned to the ill-fated HMS Chanticleer.
26 On the ‘magnetic crusade’ see Cawood, J., ‘The magnetic crusade: science and politics in early Victorian Britain’, Isis, (1979), 70, pp. 493–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar, including p. 497, ‘The cosmical tradition favored by Humboldt, Arago, and Sabine derived from an astronomical approach to geomagnetism and regarded terrestrial magnetism as just one of a number of interconnected telluric or earth forces which were responsible for the phenomena manifest in or on the earth.’ For an instance of Darwin's speculation along these lines see his comment made soon after the voyage, ‘In Cleavage discussion, state broadly indication of new law acting in certain directions predominantly, connection with magnetism & counteracting gravity. –’ S.Herbert, ed., ‘Notebook A’ [hereafter ‘A’] in Notebooks, op. cit. (17), A:62.Google Scholar
27 J. Secord, personal communication.
29 DAR 32.1:20.
30 DAR 32.1:36v.
34 DAR 32.1:23v. The passage appears as a footnote to the passage on the facing page (24) where Darwin described his impression of the cliffs of São Tiago as seen from offshore and his judgement regarding the action of the force required to raise the cliffs: When viewing from a distance an extent of cliffs, one is struck by the great force it must have required to have raised fields 2 or 3 miles broard [sic] of these rocks at least 50 feet. – … A considerable thickness of the lower crystalline rocks, must likewise have been elevated at the same time. – Taking this into consideration it is perfectly astonishing, that the force should have acted so uniformly that a spirit level with sights, proved the former beach to be as truly level as the present.- This passage is continuous in sense with those from DAR 32.1:21–2 quoted in n. 19.
36 DAR 32.1:20. The full passage, dated 17–18 January 1832, reads, ‘I have not mentioned a small covering of diluvium on the Western side of the Island. – At first. I thought it merely debris from the upper feldspathic rocks. – but on examining I found numerous fragments of the lower augitic rocks. – it does not appear to be of marine origin although it is the most probable explanation. – It looks to me like a part of the long disputed Diluvium. –’ Sometime later Darwin struck the passage ‘it does not appear … Diluvium. –’, along with several others in his notes on the island, adding, without elaboration (fol. 20), ‘I have drawn my pen through those parts which appear absurd. –’
37 Sedgwick, A., ‘On the origin of alluvial and diluvial deposits’, Annals Phil. (1825) n.s., 9, p. 243.Google Scholar
39 Buckland, W., Reliquiae Diluvianae; or Observations on the Organic Remains Contained in Caves, Fissures, and Diluvial Gravel, and on Other Geological Phenomena, Attesting the Action of an Universal Deluge, London, 1823Google Scholar. William Buckland's work has been treated in two monographs: Page, L. E., ‘The rise of diluvial theory in British geological thought’, 1963 Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oklahoma, University Microfilm 64–215Google Scholar; and Rupke, N. A., The Great Chain of History: William Buckland and the English School of Geology (1814–1849), Oxford, 1983Google Scholar. Page recounted the basic sequence of events and provided ample quotation from the published sources. Drawing on unpublished material – Buckland's Oxford lectures being of greatest importance – Rupke supplied in addition a more interior sense of Buckland's motives, as well as an explanation for the origin and success of his revival of a narrowly focused diluvialism, namely that it represented an ‘adjustment of modern, Cuvierian geology to the traditional system of classical education at Oxford’ (p. 64). In contrast, Edinburgh University was ‘not primarily an Anglican seminary like Oxbridge’ (p. 22) and thus lent itself to a different sort of geology.
41 Hall, J., ‘On the revolutions of the earth's surface’, Trans. Roy. Soc. Edinb. (1815), 44, pp. 139–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Greenough, G., A Critical Examination of the First Principles of Geology, London, 1819, pp. 151–5Google Scholar. Darwin had this book aboard ship (Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, p. 560Google Scholar). For his later use of Hall's article see Notebooks, op. cit. (17, 26), A: 36, n. 4 and FitzRoy, (ed.), op. cit. (7), iiiGoogle Scholar [Journal and Remarks. 1832–1836, by Darwin, C.], [volume also published as Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. ‘Beagle’, Under the Command of Captain fitzRoy, R.N. from 1832 to 1836, London, 1839Google Scholar; hereafter JR], pp. 621–5.
44 Herbert, S. ‘Between Genesis and geology: Darwin and some contemporaries in the 1820s and 1830s’, in Davis, R. W. and Helmstadter, R. J. (eds.), Religion and Irreligion in Victorian England, London, forthcoming.Google Scholar
45 Darwin's late recollection that he had not attended Sedgwick's lectures in geology at the university is at variance with other evidence; see Secord, J., op. cit. (6), n. 28Google Scholar. Certainly Darwin knew something of the content of Sedgwick's lectures. After Darwin's death, J. M. Rodwell recalled Darwin saying of Sedgwick while at Cambridge, ‘What a capital hand is Sedgewick [sic] for drawing large cheques upon the Bank of Time!’ Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, p. 125, n. 2.Google Scholar
46 Clark, J. W. and Hughes, T. K., The Life and Letters of the Reverend Adam Sedgwick, 2 vols, Cambridge, 1890, i. p. 371Google Scholar; also i, pp. 270–4 on Sedgwick's stay in Paris, and i, chapter 8 on his travels with Murchison in the Highlands.
47 Sedgwick, A., Presidential Address (19 February 1830), Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. (1826–1833), 1, p. 191.Google Scholar
48 Sedgwick, A., Presidential Address (18 February 1831), Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. (1826–1833), 1, p. 313.Google Scholar
49 Sedgwick, A., A Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on Geology, Cambridge, 1821, p. 36Google Scholar; 2nd edn, 1832, p. 9; 3rd edn, 1837, p. 10. In 1833 Lyell conducted a frontal attack on the term diluvium (op. cit. (9), iii, glossary p. 67). Darwin used the term during the voyage but not later in print. Rupke, , op. cit. (39), p. 88Google Scholar lists some survivals of diluvial terminology in the 1830s.
51 For an indication of Darwin's changing usage of the term diluvium see the following representative quotations from his geological notes: DAR 32.1:34 in 1832 at the Cape Verde Islands, ‘great beds of diluvium’; DAR 32.1:68 in 1832 at Bahia Blanca, ‘The whole country was elevated. – at this period or later the diluvium was deposited, which I have said probably owes its origin to a flood coming from the W in direction of the Andes. –’; DAR 32.1:71 in 1832 at Bahia Blanca, ‘superficial gravels & caverns, – or as it is sometimes called diluvial formations. –’; DAR 34.1:64V in 1834 in a note entitled ‘Elevations on coast of Patagonia’, ‘… Valleys, …at S. Cruz How formed? sea or diluvial wave?–’; DAR 34.2:150 in 1834 at the Santa Cruz river, ‘I suppose some would call it Diluvium’; DAR 35.1:216 in 1834 at Chiloe, ‘On any other supposition (putting aside Diluvium)…’; DAR 36.1:435 in 1834 or (possibly) 1835 in Chile,‘The ultimate conclusion which I < draw > have come to- Is that primarily the line of elevation determines the figure of a Continent; secondarily that a gradually retreating ocean models the elevated points; smooths with so called Diluvium some of its asperities, determines the directions of the great slopes –’; DAR 36.1:459 in 1835 in Chile, ‘Will not the arguments of De Luc &c about the quantity of detritus in <the> a mountain talus &c &c apply in most districts to <measure> ascertain the remoteness of that Epoch in <each case> place of anuniversal deluge? –’; DAR 37.1.675 in 1835 at Copiapó, ‘From the description of the valleys in this line of coast, an extent of about 400 miles, the following conclusions appear to me inevitable. – That the sea, during a long & quiet residence deposited those masses of Shingle stratified with seams of sand & clay, which in Europe would be called Diluvium.’ [underl. added pencil]; DAR 38.1:815 in 1836 near Sydney in the valley of the Nepean River, ‘The present river could never have placed this gravel in its present position; it belongs to the substances called Diluvium; & which in this case probably was left by the retiring sea.’ [underl. added pencil]; DAR 38.1:832 in 1836 of the forming of great valleys near Sydney, ‘If the agency of Debacles be attempted to be brought into play; it must be remembered that the accumulations, called Diluvium, is in this country very infrequent…’.
52 For the debate regarding agencies of deposition, including identification of the agency of glaciers that resolved key points in the dispute see Davies, G. L., The Earth in Decay: A History of British Geomorphology, 1578–1878, New York, 1969, chapters 8, 9Google Scholar; Rupke, , op. cit. (39)Google Scholar, chapter 9; and Chorley, R. J., Dunn, A. J. and Beckinsale, R. P., The History of the Study of Landforms, or the Development of Geomorphology, London, 1964, chapter 13Google Scholar. On Darwin's primary public engagement with the topic of superficial deposits see Rudwick, M. J. S., ‘Darwin and Glen Roy: a “great failure” in scientific method?’ Stud. Hist. Phi. Sci. (1974), 5, pp. 97–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar; also Herbert, S., ‘The logic of Darwin's discovery’, 1968 Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis University, University Microfilm 69–05446, pp. 23–32.Google Scholar
53 DAR 34.1:40–60. The title is written in pencil and, as the text is in ink, is presumably a later addition. Daring of the manuscript is approximate. From internal references (fol. 42) it is clear that Darwin had already completed the expedition up the Santa Cruz River but not yet travelled extensively in the Andes. See fol. 47 for 36 the speculation, ‘If on some future day I shall be able to prove that the West coast has been elevated within the same period…’. On 10 June 1834 the Beagle ‘Sailed for last time from Tierra del Fuego’, arriving on the west coast of South America via the Magdalen channel. Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, p. 541.Google Scholar
54 Another work to which Darwin made reference in the essay was William Whewell's ‘paper on tides and currents’, which he reminded himself to consult (DAR 34.1:40). Presumably this would have been Whewell, W., ‘Essay towards a first approximation to a map of cotidal lines’, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. (1833), pp. 147–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar, including pp. 189–92 ‘On the tides of the South Atlantic’.
55 DAR 34.1:40v, ‘From evidence drawn alone from these plains I do not know any proof that the land has risen in preference to the sea having subsided. – As a fall in the Atlantic would necessarily affect the aseas of the whole world. – I think we may feel certain that no catastrophe has been so violent as to cause <a> any great & sudden subsidence <of> such as 100 feet. – Reason will be given for supposing that one set of plains was elevated at one period more than that number of feet. – Of course the weightiest argument against the hypothesis of the fall of sea. is simply that it is more improbable; it requires a greater amount of change. –’.
58 FitzRoy, , op. cit. (8), ii, p. 34Google Scholar. The charts compiled from data gathered during the voyage are listed in Catalogue of Charts, Plans, Views, and Sailing Directions, &c., published by order of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, London, 1852 (or other editions). Charts 1324, 1288, and 1284 are helpful as providing an overview of the Patagonian coastline. A comparison with an earlier chart will suggest the scale of FitzRoy's improvements. See the British version of a Spanish chart of 1798 (British Admiralty chart 1059 south; published by W. Faden, London, 1821). While some of the place names Darwin mentioned in ‘Elevation of Patagonia’ are obscure, they all appear in the above charts.
59 DAR 34.1:48. For a reproduction of the chart of the river and its mouth see FitzRoy, , op. cit. (8), ii, facing p. 339Google Scholar. Keynes suggested that FitzRoy's party probably came within a few miles of discovering Lago Argentino, out of which the river flows. Diary, op. cit. (5), p. 239Google Scholar. For reproductions of Conrad Martens's sketches of scenes from the expedition see Keynes, R. (ed.), The ‘Beagle’ Record, Cambridge, 1979, pp. 200–13.Google Scholar
60 DAR 34.1:57. The figure has been traced from the original, which is in ink drawn over a partial sketch in pencil.
61 GSA, op. cit. (3), p. 18Google Scholar. Published figures for some of the plains differ from those contained in ‘Elevation of Patagonia’; however, all but the 60′ plain at Port Desire/St George's Bay are mentioned in the text.
62 DAR 34.1:57–8.
63 DAR 34.1:44.
64 DAR 34.1:44. In an estimate based on actual measurements Darwin posited a slope of 1233′ (205.5 fathoms) in 160 miles over land at Santa Cruz, more than double the estimated slope in the ancient sea bottom (100 fathoms over 160 miles), and far greater than the estimated actual slope of the sea bottom (54 fathoms over 137 miles). However, the inland measurement Darwin thought ‘doubtful by Lava occurring in the above interval’. He therefore added the conjecture, ‘…the highest plain <which> (not a very regular one) which I measured is 97 miles from Coast & 1416 ft high. Now this is only 516 ft higher than the 900 plains on coast (assumed 900 between 840 & 950): accordingly as 160 miles gives 100 Fathoms: 97 miles gives 363 ft. – So that these plains are only 153 ft <abv> higher than would be expected with a concentric elevation. –’
65 DAR 34.1:59.
66 DAR 34.1:50v and continuing, ‘Perhaps from analogy a <small> sudden rise is more probable. & (if granted) its retiring waters may (perhaps?) explain some of the valleys. –’
67 DAR 34.1:57.
68 DAR 34.1:51, 40. Darwin supplied the volume number but not a page citation to the book, but the probable reference was to Lyell, , op. cit. (9), iii, pp. 111–13.Google Scholar
69 DAR 34.1:58.
70 DAR 34.1:59. Regarding Lyell he wrote (fols. 58–9): ‘If my conclusion is granted (& in no other way I think can the coincidence in heights be accounted [for]), it appears to me, that the phenomenon of the elevation of strata is so grand, so uniform in its nature, that, the explanation offered by Mr Lyell of injection of Hypogene rocks is quite insufficient. – Can one imagine a mass of melted matter 600 miles in length <forcing> lifting up <wards> a great thickness of Strata to almost exactly the same height? –' Also see Lyell, , op. cit. (9), iii, pp. 374–81Google Scholar. Lyell spoke of hypogene rocks originating from great depths (p. 380), but his hypothetical example for the source of Etnean lavas mentions only ten miles.
72 DAR 34.1:47.
73 DAR 34.1:47.
74 DAR 34.1:60.
75 DAR 34.1:60v: ‘Conversing with Capt: FitzRoy, <…> concerning the recent elevation of the continent he suggested the following bold hypothesis: The number of distinct languages in T. del Fuego & <the difference of their habits from surrounding> the similarity in physical structure suggests an high antiquity to the race of the se Indians:– It seems a most strange fact, that any power could have induced a set of men to leave the <fertile> immense & <bountiful> fertiles regions of temperate America & inhabit the miserable country of the South. – May we conjecture, that this migration took place, anterior to the last 2 or 3000 ft elevation; when the greater part of America <would be> being covered with the sea. <necessity> want of food might well compel small tribes to follow to the extremity the ridge of mountains: ? May we venture to <enlarge> extend this idea – the lofty plains of Mexico & Peru. <would form fertile regions> probably existed as dry land at an immensely remote epoch. – Hence <have> did they not become the two centres of <civi> aboriginal civilization?–”
79 Darwin, to Lyell, C., 1 09 1844Google Scholar, Correspondence, op. cit. (2), iii, p. 56Google Scholar. The first two chapters of GSA (note 3) were entitled ‘On the Elevation of the Eastern Coast of South America”, and ‘On the Elevation of the Western Coast of South America’. The letter cited also reflects Darwin's ongoing difference with Orbigny over the history of the Patagonian deposits.
81 GSA, op. cit. (3)Google Scholar. Sections of plains figured were those south of Nuevo Gulf (p. 6), in the Bay of St George (p. 6), at Port Desire (p. 7), at Port St Julian (p. 7), at the mouth of the Santa Cruz River (as shown, p. 8), and across terraces high up along the same river (p. 10).
85 GSA, op. cit. (3), p. 9Google Scholar and, for further comment on the rise, p. 18. In a pencilled note on the first page of ‘Elevation of Patagonia’ Darwin remarked ‘All used’ except the theory of gravel plains on p. 8 of the manuscript, which contains his initial interpretation of the 108' rise at Santa Cruz.
86 DAR 41, no library foliation. Syms Covington, Darwin's servant, copied out the text. Darwin corrected Covington's copy in his own hand and, later, added numerous cross-references and notes to the whole. The manuscript is not dated nor has Darwin's original draft survived. Covington's fair copy was done on ‘J. Whatman 1834’ paper that came into Darwin's possession in early April or early May 1836. (Sloan, P. R., ‘Darwin's invertebrate program, 1826–1836: Preconditions for transformism’Google Scholar, in Kohn, , op. cit. (22), pp. 118–19, n. 58)Google Scholar. However, there is internal evidence suggesting the likelihood of an earlier date than 1836 for a first draft. The opening phrase of the text can probably be taken at face value. ‘Before finally leaving the shores of South America…’ would correspond to the period from 19 July to 6 September 1835 when Darwin was at Callao and Lima. Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, p. 541Google Scholar, and see pp. 461 and 463 for similar locutions. Further, one emendation does argue against an 1836 dating for a first draft. It appears on fol. 4v and refers to the ‘coral paper’ of late 1835. (See notes 18, 109). If the ‘coral paper’ were already in existence at the time the draft for the ‘Recapitulation’ was written, it probably would have been referred to in the original text rather than appearing as an emendation.
87 DAR 41: ‘Recapitulation’, fols. 21, 29.
89 DAR 41, ‘Recapitulation’ fols. 1–14 discuss the Cordillera. Darwin organized the formations he observed in central and northern Chile into five principal divisions: granitic, crystalline slaty rocks, porphyritic breccia, and the gypseous and supergypseous formations.
90 The map is a separate sheet of tracing paper attached to the verso of fol. 1 of ‘Recapitulation’. The date of the map is not certain, but its generality and placement suggest that it was roughly contemporary with the essay.
91 DAR 41: ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 15.
92 DAR 41: ‘Recapitulation’, fols. 16, 15. In fols. 14–19 the cross-currents and contradictory elements in Darwin's thinking about elevation are apparent. Thus while maintaining a gradualist outlook, he hypothesized a dramatic history for the Cordillera beginning with ‘an epoch of excessive volcanic eruptions which has never since been nearly equalled’ (fol. 14). Similarly, he sought to allow for instances of angular movement within a general picture of horizontal elevation (fol. 15).
93 DAR 41: ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 15, ‘I conceive these views are in perfect conformity with the existence of those level remarkable basins, situated on the summit of the Andes. We may instance — Titicaca — Cuenca elevated 1350 toises — the valley of Quito from 1340 to 1490 toises — and the grand Mexican platform which between 19° and 24 1/2° of latitude, remains constantly at the height of 950 to 1200 toises’ (Humboldt, , Personal Narrative, Vol. VI, Part II [1826:162])Google Scholar. ‘Are not the strata in these plains horizontal? Can they all be thought lacustrine. – ?’ Also fol. 19: ‘That the continental elevation is a phenomenon intimately connected with the rise in mass of the Andes, I think no one will dispute. — In Patagonia, within the recent period I have shown that its 54 influence has been felt on the whole coast at the distance of 2 to 300 miles.… In Patagonia we have proofs that the coast has been elevated in a horizontal manner to a height of from 300 to 400 feet; and it may be assumed that there is no part which has not risen.’
94 DAR 34.1:40, 42.
95 DAR 41: ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 29. The ideas presented here were seminal to the paper published most fully as Darwin, C., ‘On the connexion of certain volcanic phenomena in South America; and on the formation of mountain chains and volcanos, as the effect of the same power by which continents are elevated’, Trans. Geol. Soc. Lond. (1840) II, pt. 3, 5, pp. 601–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For analysis of this paper and its reception see Rhodes, F. H. T., pp. 200–26Google Scholar, this volume.
96 DAR 41: ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 20.
97 DAR 41, ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 11 on the simultaneity of volcanic eruptions over large areas, also fol. 24 on volcanic eruptions as ‘mere accidents, consequent on a more complete rupture of the strata,…accidents which happened during the periods, when that far more important phenomenon of injection determined the lines of elevation’.
98 DAR 41, ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 22, On Darwin's later development of the thin crust model see RN: 131, 154, op. cit. (17); A: 77–9, 114, 133, 136, 147, op. cit. (17, 26).
99 DAR 41, ‘Recapitulation’, fol. 18, ‘I have called the gradual rise an horizontal upheaval. –Speaking with accuracy, the more probable movement is that of a curved enlargement of a narrow space of the superficies of the globe.’ Also fol. 19, ‘It is stated that in the Valparaiso earthquake of 1822, the land at the distance of 5 or 6 miles inshore, rose in the proportion of three to one, to that on the coast. On the other hand, it must be confessed, that in 1835 at Concepción, the rise of the Island of St Mary was greater than on the neighbouring mainland’. On the significance of the Concepción earthquake to Darwin and to Lyell see Herbert, S., ‘Les divergences entre Darwin et Lyell sur quelques questions géologiques’ in Conry, Y. (ed.), De Darwin au Darwinisme: Science et idéologie, Paris, 1983, pp. 70–1.Google Scholar
100 DAR 41, ‘Cleavage’. Sulloway, (op. cit. (17), pp. 375–6, n. 15)Google Scholar has suggested a May 1836 date for the opening pages.
101 DAR 41, ‘Cleavage’, fol. 2.
102 Secord, , op. cit. (22), pp. 58–9Google Scholar; op. cit. (6), Figure 6. See Sedgwick, A., ‘Remarks on the structure of large mineral masses, and especially on the chemical changes produced in the aggregation of stratified rocks during different periods after their deposition’, Trans. Geol. Soc. Lond. (1835), II, 3, pp. 461–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Presumably this was the paper Darwin cited in an annotation on fol. 1 of ‘Cleavage’: ‘Study Sedgwicks paper on Cleavage Geolog Transacts’. Also see the relevant entries in Challinor, J., A Dictionary of Geology, 5th edn, Cardiff, 1978.Google Scholar
103 DAR 41, ‘Cleavage’, fol. 1. See also DAR 32.2: 111–117. Darwin probably opened his essay with definitions to counter what he called (fol. 36) the ‘doubt & confusion’ exhibited in ‘On Stratification’ in Greenough, , op. cit. (41), pp. 1–90.Google Scholar
104 Humboldt, , op. cit. (13), vi, pp. 590–1Google Scholar. The passage is heavily scored in Darwin's copy of the work held at CUL.
105 DAR 41, ‘Cleavage’, fols. 12–13.
106 DAR 41, ‘Cleavage’, fol. 35.
107 DAR 41, ‘Cleavage’, fols. 32, 33; also DAR 32.2: 115v, the added comment, ‘From other observations I now consider it as established that there is some physical connection between lines of Elevation, metamorphic action & cleavage.’
109 CI, , op. cit. (18)Google Scholar. Darwin's original draft is dated 1835 and presumably would have been written in the interval between 26 November 1835, when the ship departed Tahiti, and 21 December, when the ship arrived at New Zealand.
110 On Lyell's immediately favourable response to Darwin's theory see Stoddart, D. R., ‘Darwin, Lyell, and the geological significance of coral reefs’, BJHS. (1976), 9, pp. 211–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar; on Lyell's discomfort with regard to the large-scale subsidence required by Darwin's theory see Herbert, , op. cit. (99), pp. 72–6Google Scholar. On an important early attempt to confirm Darwin's theory by deep boring a reef see MacLeod, R., ‘Imperial reflections in the Southern seas: the Funafuti expeditions, 1896–1904’, in MacLeod, R. and Rehbock, P. F. (eds.), Nature in its Greatest Extent: Western Science in the Pacific, Honolulu, 1988, pp. 181–91Google Scholar. For current views organized from an historical perspective see Steers, J. A. and Stoddart, D. R., ‘The origin of fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls’, in Jones, O. A. and Endean, R. (eds.), Biology and Geology of Coral Reefs, 4 vols., New York, 1977, iv, pp. 21–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
111 Beaufort as cited in FitzRoy, , op. cit. (8), ii, p. 38Google Scholar
An exact geological map of the whole [coral] island should be constructed, showing its form, the greatest height to which the solid coral has risen, as well as that to which the fragments appear to have been forced. The slope of its sides should be carefully measured in different places, and particularly on the external face, by a series of soundings,…. A modern and very plausible theory has been put forward, that these wonderful formations, instead of ascending from the bottom of the sea, have been raised from the summits of extinct volcanoes; and therefore the nature of the bottom at each of these soundings should be noted, and every means exerted that ingenuity can devise of discovering at what depth the coral formation begins, and of what materials the substratum on which it rests is composed. The shape, slope, and elevation of the coral knolls in the lagoon would also help the investigation; and no circumstances should be neglected which can render an account of the general structure clear and perspicuous.
FitzRoy did comment on coral formations (chapter 22, 26) but referred to Darwin the question of the depth at which coral formation begins (p. 634) and, by implication, left the larger questions regarding reefs to him as well.
114 De la Beche, H. T., A Geological Manual, London, 1831, pp. 140–3Google Scholar. Beechey, F. W., Narrative ofa Voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait,… in His Majesty's Ship Blossom… in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28, Philadelphia, 1832, pp. 159–70Google Scholar. Lyell, , op. cit. (9), ii, pp. 283–301Google Scholar. These were the editions Darwin had on board. Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, pp. 558–66Google Scholar. The London edition of Beechey had been published in 1831. De la Beche and Beechey, writing independently, both accepted Quoy and Gaimard's findings. Lyell built on their views, relying particularly on the navigator Beechey for descriptions of reefs.
115 Beechey, , op. cit. (114), p. 169Google Scholar. Beechey was also aware of the difficulties of the ‘general opinion’.
116 Burkhardt, F., ‘Darwin's early notes on coral reef formation’, Earth Sciences History, (1984), 3, pp. 160–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar; reprinted in Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, pp. 567–71Google Scholar. Nora Barlow referred to the entries on reefs in the notebook but did not quote them. See Barlow, , op. cit. (12), pp. 243–4Google Scholar, and CI, , op. cit. (24), p. 4Google Scholar, n. 8. On the relation between entries in the notebook and in ‘Coral Islands’ see Sulloway, F., op. cit. (17), pp. 367–81.Google Scholar
119 DAR 37.2:791. In JR, op. cit. (41), p. 453Google Scholar, the craters are described as being of volcanic sandstone; in VI, op. cit. (3), pp. 113–14 the craters are treated in detail and described as being formed of tuff. Darwin was the first to describe these craters, now termed tuff cones, and to connect their lowered southern lips with the action of waves formed by the prevailing winds. Also see McBirney, A. R. and Williams, H., ‘Geology and petrology of the Galápagos Islands’, Geol. Soc. Am. Memoir, (1969), 118, p. 3.Google Scholar
120 DAR 37.2:791v.
120 DAR 37.2:791v.
121 DAR 37.2:792. In ‘Coral Islands’ Darwin put aside this question, CI, op. cit. (16), p. 14.Google Scholar
122 DAR 37.2:793–3v.
123 CI, op. cit. (16), p. 7.Google Scholar Darwin pointed out (p. 8) that his new understanding of the origin of atolls solved the difficulty posed by Beechey that the size of some atolls exceeds that of any known craters. Beechey, , op. cit. (114), p. 169.Google Scholar For a photograph of the approximate view of Moorea sighted by Darwin see Herbert, , op. cit. (19), p. 117.Google Scholar
127 Correspondence, op. cit. (2), i, p. 568.Google ScholarBarlow, , op. cit. (12), pp. 243–4.Google ScholarHerbert, , op. cit. (52), pp. 32–6Google Scholar; ‘On remembering Darwin as a geologist’, in Chapman, R. G. and Duval, C. T. (eds.), Charles Darwin: A Centennial Commemorative, Wellington, 1982, pp. 256–8Google Scholar; op. cit. (19), pp. 120–21. Browne, J., The Secular Ark: Studies in the History of Biogeography. New Haven, 1983, pp. 185–6.CrossRefGoogle ScholarSteers, and Stoddart, , op. cit. (110), p. 23.Google Scholar The difficulty in recognizing the primacy of general ideas concerning crustal motion in the origin of Darwin's views on coral reefs has undoubtedly stemmed from the fact that as a theory it was published separately from his work on South America.
129 RN: 49, op. cit. (17).
131 RN: 46, op. cit. (17).
132 RN: 22, op. cit. (17).
133 RN: 72–3, op. cit. (17).
134 Hodge, M. J. S., ‘Darwin and the laws of the animate part of the terrestrial system (1835–1837): On the Lyellian origins of his zoonomical explanatory program’, Studies Hist. Biol. (1983), 6, pp. 1–106Google Scholar; Geological specimen notebooks, op. cit. (13)Google Scholar; Porter, D. M., ‘The Beagle collector and his collections’ in Kohn, op. cit. (22), pp. 973–1019.Google Scholar
136 Geological passages added to the narrative include those on: fossil quadrupeds at Punta Alta and the Pampas (pp. 95–8, 149–55), the Toxodon (pp. 181–2)Google Scholar, the tertiary formation of Patagonia (pp. 201–8), the extinction of species and the law of succession of types (pp. 208–12), the Santa Cruz River (pp. 216–18), the Falkland Islands (pp. 253–6), glaciers and erratic blocks at Tierra del Fuego (pp. 279–90), the South American climate (pp. 291–8), the Concepción earthquake (pp. 377–81), the structure of the Cordillera (pp. 390–3), shingle terraces at Coquimbo (pp. 423–4), earthquakes (pp. 431–5), the Galápagos Islands (p. 453), coral reef theory (pp. 553–69), St Helena Island (p. 581), and Ascension Island (p. 587) [JR, op. cit. (41)].Google Scholar An addenda, with an important section on erratic blocks (pp. 615–25), was included in October 1838. Correspondence, op. cit. (2), ii, p. 432.Google Scholar
137 Rhodes, , op. cit. (95)Google Scholar; Herbert, S., ‘The place of man in the development of Darwin's theory of transmutation. Part II’, J. Hist. Biol. (1977), 10, pp. 157–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Herbert, , op. cit. (22)Google Scholar; Rudwick, M. J. S., ‘Darwin and the world of geology (commentary)’Google Scholar in Kohn, , op. cit. (22), pp. 511–18Google Scholar; and Rudwick, , ‘Charles Darwin in London: the integration of public and private science’, Isis, (1982), 73, pp. 186–98.Google Scholar
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