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The Voyage of the Beagle
Charles Robert Darwin
(1839)

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The Voyage of the Beagle The Voyage of the Beagle
PrefacePreface
I have stated in the preface to the first Edition of this work, and in the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, that it was in consequence of a wish expressed by Captain Fitz Roy, of having some scientific person on board, accompanied by an offer from him of giving up part of his own accommodations, that I volunteered my services, which received, through the kindness of the hydrographer, Captain Beaufort, the sanction of the Lords of the Admiralty. As I feel that the opportunities which I enjoyed of studying the Natural History of the different countries we visited, have been wholly due to Captain Fitz Roy, I hope I may here be permitted to repeat my expression of gratitude to him; and to add that, during the five years we were together, I received from him the most cordial friendship and steady assistance. Both to Captain Fitz Roy and to all the Officers of the Beagle [1] I shall ever feel most thankful for the undeviating kindness with which I was treated during our long voyage.

This volume contains, in the form of a Journal, a history of our voyage, and a sketch of those observations in Natural History and Geology, which I think will possess some interest for the general reader. I have in this edition largely condensed and corrected some parts, and have added a little to others, in order to render the volume more fitted for popular reading; but I trust that naturalists will remember, that they must refer for details to the larger publications which comprise the scientific results of the Expedition. The Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle includes an account of the Fossil Mammalia, by Professor Owen; of the Living Mammalia, by Mr. Waterhouse; of the Birds, by Mr. Gould; of the Fish, by the Rev. L. Jenyns; and of the Reptiles, by Mr. Bell. I have appended to the descriptions of each species an account of its habits and range. These works, which I owe to the high talents and disinterested zeal of the above distinguished authors, could not have been undertaken, had it not been for the liberality of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, who, through the representation of the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have been pleased to grant a sum of one thousand pounds towards defraying part of the expenses of publication.

I have myself published separate volumes on the 'Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs;' on the 'Volcanic Islands visited during the Voyage of the Beagle;' and on the 'Geology of South America.' The sixth volume of the 'Geological Transactions' contains two papers of mine on the Erratic Boulders and Volcanic Phenomena of South America. Messrs. Waterhouse, Walker, Newman, and White, have published several able papers on the Insects which were collected, and I trust that many others will hereafter follow. The plants from the southern parts of America will be given by Dr. J. Hooker, in his great work on the Botany of the Southern Hemisphere. The Flora of the Galapagos Archipelago is the subject of a separate memoir by him, in the 'Linnean Transactions.' The Reverend Professor Henslow has published a list of the plants collected by me at the Keeling Islands; and the Reverend J. M. Berkeley has described my cryptogamic plants.

I shall have the pleasure of acknowledging the great assistance which I have received from several other naturalists, in the course of this and my other works; but I must be here allowed to return my most sincere thanks to the Reverend Professor Henslow, who, when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, was one chief means of giving me a taste for Natural History,—who, during my absence, took charge of the collections I sent home, and by his correspondence directed my endeavours,—and who, since my return, has constantly rendered me every assistance which the kindest friend could offer.

Down, Bromley, Kent, June 9, 1845



[1] I must take this opportunity of returning my sincere thanks to Mr. Bynoe, the surgeon of the Beagle, for his very kind attention to me when I was ill at Valparaiso.

I have stated in the preface to the first Edition of this work, and in the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, that it was in consequence of a wish expressed by Captain Fitz Roy, of having some scientific person on board, accompanied by an offer from him of giving up part of his own accommodations, that I volunteered my services, which received, through the kindness of the hydrographer, Captain Beaufort, the sanction of the Lords of the Admiralty. As I feel that the opportunities which I enjoyed of studying the Natural History of the different countries we visited, have been wholly due to Captain Fitz Roy, I hope I may here be permitted to repeat my expression of gratitude to him; and to add that, during the five years we were together, I received from him the most cordial friendship and steady assistance. Both to Captain Fitz Roy and to all the Officers of the Beagle [1] I shall ever feel most thankful for the undeviating kindness with which I was treated during our long voyage.

This volume contains, in the form of a Journal, a history of our voyage, and a sketch of those observations in Natural History and Geology, which I think will possess some interest for the general reader. I have in this edition largely condensed and corrected some parts, and have added a little to others, in order to render the volume more fitted for popular reading; but I trust that naturalists will remember, that they must refer for details to the larger publications which comprise the scientific results of the Expedition. The Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle includes an account of the Fossil Mammalia, by Professor Owen; of the Living Mammalia, by Mr. Waterhouse; of the Birds, by Mr. Gould; of the Fish, by the Rev. L. Jenyns; and of the Reptiles, by Mr. Bell. I have appended to the descriptions of each species an account of its habits and range. These works, which I owe to the high talents and disinterested zeal of the above distinguished authors, could not have been undertaken, had it not been for the liberality of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, who, through the representation of the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have been pleased to grant a sum of one thousand pounds towards defraying part of the expenses of publication.

I have myself published separate volumes on the 'Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs;' on the 'Volcanic Islands visited during the Voyage of the Beagle;' and on the 'Geology of South America.' The sixth volume of the 'Geological Transactions' contains two papers of mine on the Erratic Boulders and Volcanic Phenomena of South America. Messrs. Waterhouse, Walker, Newman, and White, have published several able papers on the Insects which were collected, and I trust that many others will hereafter follow. The plants from the southern parts of America will be given by Dr. J. Hooker, in his great work on the Botany of the Southern Hemisphere. The Flora of the Galapagos Archipelago is the subject of a separate memoir by him, in the 'Linnean Transactions.' The Reverend Professor Henslow has published a list of the plants collected by me at the Keeling Islands; and the Reverend J. M. Berkeley has described my cryptogamic plants.

I shall have the pleasure of acknowledging the great assistance which I have received from several other naturalists, in the course of this and my other works; but I must be here allowed to return my most sincere thanks to the Reverend Professor Henslow, who, when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, was one chief means of giving me a taste for Natural History,—who, during my absence, took charge of the collections I sent home, and by his correspondence directed my endeavours,—and who, since my return, has constantly rendered me every assistance which the kindest friend could offer.

Down, Bromley, Kent, June 9, 1845



[1] I must take this opportunity of returning my sincere thanks to Mr. Bynoe, the surgeon of the Beagle, for his very kind attention to me when I was ill at Valparaiso.

  • pleased: When someone is pleased, they are happy.
  • describe: To describe is to say or write what someone or something is like.
  • ever: Ever means at any time.
  • several: Several is more than two but not many.
  • habit: A habit is a thing that you do often.
  • represent: To represent is to speak or act for a person or group.
  • result: A result is something that happens because of something else.
  • since: Since is used to talk about a past event still happening now.
  • face: If you face a problem, you deal with it.
  • follow: To follow means to go behind someone and go where they go.
  • return: To return is to go back to a place.
  • allow: To allow something to happen means to let it happen.
  • taste: A taste is the flavor something makes in your mouth.
  • rest: To rest is to stop being active while the body gets back its strength.
  • separate: If two things are separate, they are not together.
  • site: A site is a place.
  • tail: A tail is a part of an animal’s body, sticking out from its rear or back.
  • collect: To collect things is to group them together all in one place.
  • thin: If someone or something is thin, they are not fat.
  • cell: A cell is a small room where a person is locked in.
  • contain: To contain something is to have it inside.
  • correct: To be correct is to be right.
  • owe: To owe is to have to pay or give back something received from another.
  • description: A description of someone or something says what they are like.
  • direct: If something is direct, it goes straight between two places.
  • respond: To respond is to give an answer to what someone else said.
  • board: A board is a flat piece of wood.
  • pound: To pound something is to hit it many times with a lot of force.
  • publish: To publish a book is to get it printed and ready to sell.
  • offer: To offer is to present someone with something.
  • treat: To treat is to act in a certain way toward someone.
  • toward: If you go toward something, you go closer to it.
  • bit: A bit is a small amount of something.
  • war: A war is a big fight between two groups of people.
  • charge: A charge is the price to pay for something.
  • include: To include something means to have it as part of a group.
  • receive: To receive something is to get it.
  • course: A course is a class in school.
  • member: A member is a person who is part of a group.
  • fit: If something fits, it is small enough orthe right size to go there.
  • friendship: Friendship is the relationship between people who are friends.
  • public: If something is public, it is meant for everyone to use.
  • range: A range is a number or a set of similar things.
  • list: A list is a record of information printed with an item on each line.
  • own: To own something means to have it. That thing belongs to you.
  • mean: Mean describes someone who is unkind or cruel.
  • above: If something is above, it is at a higher level than something else.
  • different: Different describes someone or something that is not the same as others.

  • pleased: When someone is pleased, they are happy.
  • describe: To describe is to say or write what someone or something is like.
  • ever: Ever means at any time.
  • several: Several is more than two but not many.
  • habit: A habit is a thing that you do often.
  • represent: To represent is to speak or act for a person or group.
  • result: A result is something that happens because of something else.
  • since: Since is used to talk about a past event still happening now.
  • face: If you face a problem, you deal with it.
  • follow: To follow means to go behind someone and go where they go.
  • return: To return is to go back to a place.
  • allow: To allow something to happen means to let it happen.
  • taste: A taste is the flavor something makes in your mouth.
  • rest: To rest is to stop being active while the body gets back its strength.
  • separate: If two things are separate, they are not together.
  • site: A site is a place.
  • tail: A tail is a part of an animal’s body, sticking out from its rear or back.
  • collect: To collect things is to group them together all in one place.
  • thin: If someone or something is thin, they are not fat.
  • cell: A cell is a small room where a person is locked in.
  • contain: To contain something is to have it inside.
  • correct: To be correct is to be right.
  • owe: To owe is to have to pay or give back something received from another.
  • description: A description of someone or something says what they are like.
  • direct: If something is direct, it goes straight between two places.
  • respond: To respond is to give an answer to what someone else said.
  • board: A board is a flat piece of wood.
  • pound: To pound something is to hit it many times with a lot of force.
  • publish: To publish a book is to get it printed and ready to sell.
  • offer: To offer is to present someone with something.
  • treat: To treat is to act in a certain way toward someone.
  • toward: If you go toward something, you go closer to it.
  • bit: A bit is a small amount of something.
  • war: A war is a big fight between two groups of people.
  • charge: A charge is the price to pay for something.
  • include: To include something means to have it as part of a group.
  • receive: To receive something is to get it.
  • course: A course is a class in school.
  • member: A member is a person who is part of a group.
  • fit: If something fits, it is small enough orthe right size to go there.
  • friendship: Friendship is the relationship between people who are friends.
  • public: If something is public, it is meant for everyone to use.
  • range: A range is a number or a set of similar things.
  • list: A list is a record of information printed with an item on each line.
  • own: To own something means to have it. That thing belongs to you.
  • mean: Mean describes someone who is unkind or cruel.
  • above: If something is above, it is at a higher level than something else.
  • different: Different describes someone or something that is not the same as others.

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