DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882) -- FITZROY, Robert (1805-1865, editor). Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle. London: J.L. Cox and Sons [vols. I-II and appendix] and Whiting [vol. III] for Henry Colburn, 1839.
4 volumes including appendix to vol. II, 8° (233 x 145mm). 47 plates and one folding engraved map, 8 folding engraved maps loosely inserted in cover pockets, woodcut illustrations. Half-titles. Without advertisements at end of the appendix. (Some variable browning and spotting to plates and maps, a couple of very minor tears to maps at folds without loss, marginal paper flaw to leaves 2R-2R2 in vol. II.) Original dark-blue cloth, spines with title, author's name, and imprint 'Colburn, London' in gilt at foot [Freeman variant a], blind-stamped covers, pockets retaining their original ribbons for extracting the maps (extremities lightly rubbed, headcaps to vols I & II with short splits, short split to upper joint at head of vol. II, corners lightly bumped, with the top rear corner on vol. 1 creased more heavily, small white mark to spine of vol. III). Provenance: S.E. Widdrington, Newton Hall (19th-century engraved armorial bookplates pasted over remains of previous bookplates).
FIRST EDITION OF DARWIN'S FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK, Journal and Remarks 1832-1836, in volume III. Darwin seems to have been genuinely surprised by FitzRoy's invitation to publish it as part of the official narrative of the voyage. Next to the Origin, it was his most important and most popular book, leading to the opening of his first notebook on 'Transmutation of Species' in 1837. While his studies on the voyage concentrated initially on geology, the experience also aroused a desire to understand and explain the distribution and development of the species he encountered. He returned 'almost convinced that species had not always been as they were since the creation, but had undergone change' (DSB III, p. 566). Overall the great open-mindedness and pointed curiosity of the Journal make it the finest example of a scientific autobiography ever written. Freeman 10; Hill 607; Norman 584; Sabin 37826. (4)