DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809-1882) and other contributors. 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. Edited by Captain Robert Fitzroy. London: Henry Colburn, 1839.
3 volumes in 5, 4° (234 x 146mm). 48 plates and maps, one folding, most etched. 8 folding engraved charts, mounted on linen, in final volume. (Some light browning and spotting to plates and charts, lacking half-titles.) Contemporary calf, except for final volume in calf-backed marbled boards with uniform spine, spines gilt (lightly rubbed, rebacked preserving old spines). Provenance: 'William Peel from his friend R.[obert]. F.[itzroy].' (inscription on title to vol. I, dated 1839) -- Sir Robert Peel, Drayton Manor (bookplate).
PEEL FAMILY COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION PRESENTED TO WILLIAM PEEL FROM FITZROY. Volume I comprises Proceedings of the First Expedition, 1826-1830, under the command of Captain P. Parker King and Volume II Proceedings of the Second Expedition, 1831-1836, under the Command of Captain Robert Fitzroy. As is well known, the third volume with the subsidiary title Journal and Remarks 1832-1836 forms THE FIRST ISSUE OF DARWIN'S FIRST BOOK. When issued separately in the same year, it bore the title Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the various countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle. Today Darwin's work is universally referred to as The Voyage of the Beagle, Freeman describing it as 'the most often read' of all his books and one that 'stands second only to On the Origin of Species as the most often printed. It is an important travel book in its own right and its relation to the background of his evolutionary ideas has often been stressed.' While it is natural that the Darwin volume should have proved more popular and enduring than the others in the Narrative, the broader political and economic intentions of the voyage, on which he was from the Admiralty's viewpoint only a supernumary, are also of considerable interest. George Basalla stressed the importance of the latter in 'The Voyage of the Beagle without Darwin', Mariner's Mirror, vol. 49, pp. 42-48, 1963. Freeman 10; Sabin 37826. (5)