RECORD: Anon. 1890. [Review of Journal of researches]. Observer (23 February): 5.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2022. RN1

[page] 5


A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World. By CHARLES DARWIN, M.A., F.R.S. 1 vol. [Murray.]

The Voyage of the Beagle, to give its old and familiar title, is not only the best-read book of its kind in the language, but probably one of the best worth reading. As nearly everybody will remember, it contains in the form of a journal a history of the voyage made by Darwin as a volunteer on board H.M.S. Beagle, which lasted from December 1831, to October, 1836.

In the course of the expedition, which was undertaken for purely scientific purposes, the Beagle explored the Straits of Magellan, both coasts of South America, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos, besides visiting several Polynesian groups, Australia, Cape Town, and the Mauritius. Besides the sea voyages, there were long land journeys made by Darwin, chiefly through South America, from which he never came back empty-handed. Everywhere he toiled with that enthusiastic industry which is only possible where every labour is a labour of delight, while his scientific sympathies are so wide that the reader is constantly wondering whether he is greatest as geologist or as botanist, as naturalist or as philosopher. Whether he is discussing the soaring of a condor, the religious feelings of a Fuegian, the sinking of a coral island, the elevation of the Cordilleras, or the habits of a burrowing lizard, the facts are set forth with the same anxious accuracy, and discussed with the same earnestness and candour. A great part of his work was done, too, under the most trying conditions, for he was always an execrable sailor, and, as we know from his charming autobiography, the permanent break down of his health was due to his protracted sufferings from sea sickness. It was indeed high time for a reprint of this fascinating volume, and Mr. Murray's new edition is not only a vast improvement on its forerunners in point of type, but is adorned with more than a hundred well-executed illustrations. These have either been taken from engravings selected by Darwin, in his lifetime, or from sketches since made "on the spot" by Mr. Pritchett with The Voyage of the Beagle at his side.


This document has been accessed 101 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 10 November, 2022