Charles Darwin HMS Beagle Journal

hms beagle marine chronometer that accompanied charles darwin

unnamed (1)An important two-day marine chronometer from HMS Beagle, the legendary Admiralty survey ship that took Charles Darwin on an epic five-year voyage to South America and the Galapagos Islands, has surfaced at Bonhams. It will be offered in the 9th July Fine Clocks sale at New Bond Street, London with an estimate of £30, 000-50, 000.

The previously unrecorded marine chronometer, dated 1825 and signed by William Edward Frodsham, was one of 22 that were on board HMS Beagle. Until now, only two other recorded chronometers from the ship are known to have survived, both of which are owned by the British Museum.

‘W.E.Frodsham 2’

The offered lot, ‘W.E.Frodsham 2’, was the second chronometer produced by William Edward Frodsham (1804-1825), second son of a famous clock making family. Tragically, soon after the chronometer was completed William drowned whilst swimming. The chronometer, however, was not overlooked and was sent to Greenwhich to take part in the chronometer trials. In testament to William’s skill, it performed so well that it was purchased by the Admiralty.

The chronometer had a long and distinguished career: It was present on the second voyage of the Admiralty survey ship HMS Beagle (1831-1836) along with a science graduate by the name of Charles Darwin.

Later, it was used on the North American Boundary Expedition (1843-1846) which established the border between the USA and Canada. In 1857 it joined HMS Herald for the survey of the Australian coast. In all, it served on 15 ships between 1831 and 1911 when it was de-accessioned by the Admiralty and sold. After this, it disappeared from records.

unnamed (2)Charles Darwin and HMS Beagle

HMS Beagle was an Admiralty survey ship which was sent on three major expeditions:

The first voyage (1826-1830) was to survey the coast of South America in order to help establish a chain of reliable navigational co-ordinates around the globe. During the long voyage the ship’s Captain, Pringle Stokes, sank into a terrible depression. As the ship neared the southernmost tip of the continent, in the desolate waters of Tierra del Fuego (Spanish for ‘Land of Fire’) he took a gun and shot himself. The command was given initially to Lieutenant W.G. Skyring and then to Lieutenant Robert Fitzroy, under whom the survey continued until 1830.

The second voyage of The Beagle (1831-1836) under Captain (later Rear-Admiral) Robert Fitzroy continued the work of the first expedition and then sailed east across the South Pacific towards the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand and Australia. To avoid the same fate as Captain Pringle Stokes, Fitzroy sought to recruit a “gentleman companion” with a scientific background to help record the geology of the region – but more crucially – to reduce the isolation that had doomed his predecessor. Charles Darwin was chosen from a number of University candidates, but had to pay for all his own supplies, the Admiralty having refused to fund a civilian scientist.

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From Wikipedia, with references:

by k832395

Charles Darwin recounted in his biography of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin how false stories were circulated claiming that Erasmus had called for Jesus on his deathbed. Charles concluded by writing "Such was the state of Christian feeling in this country [in 1802].... We may at least hope that nothing of the kind now prevails." Despite this hope, very similar stories were circulated following Darwin's own death, most prominently the "Lady Hope Story", published in 1915 which claimed he had converted on his sickbed.[6] Such stories have been propagated by some Christian groups, to the extent of becoming urban legends, though the claims were refuted by Darwin's children and have been dismissed as false by historians

Bird brainiacs: The genius of pigeons

— New Scientist
Before a visit from his friend the geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin wrote: "I will show you my pigeons! Which is the greatest treat, in my opinion, which ..

Penguin Classics The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches (Penguin Classics)
Book (Penguin Classics)
Modern Library The Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World (Modern Library Classics)
Book (Modern Library)
Heritage Press Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of HMS Beagle, under the Command of Capain Fitzroy, RN
Book (Heritage Press)
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