DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882); Philip Parker KING (1791-1856); and Robert FITZROY (1805-1865)
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 ... [with:] Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle
London: Henry Colburn, 1839. 4 volumes, 8vo. [Narrative:] 54 maps and plates (including 6 loose folding charts housed in pockets at the front of each volume, as issued). Mostly unopened. First edition, first issue (with author's names on the spines and Colburn/London reading). [Journal:] 2 folding maps (bound in at pages 1 and 539 and without front cover pocket, as issued). Publisher's 16pp. (dated August 1839) and 8pp.ads in the rear. First separate issue.
Publisher's blindstamped blue cloth, spines ruled in blind and lettered in gilt, yellow endpapers
First edition of the Narrative of the Beagle, with the first separate edition of Darwin's Journal.
"The English Catalogue makes it clear that the set was available, with or without Darwin's volume, at £3.18s. or £2.18s., and that his volume alone cost 18s. What was being advertised as three volumes was really two volumes and the appendix ... It has usually been stated that Darwin's volume was reissued in its own covers later in the same year, because the demand for it was greater than that for the other two volumes of technical narrative. That the demand for it was greater than the rest was probably true, and that it must be considered technically the later issue is certainly correct ... Nevertheless, it is also certain that both were advertised in the same set of advertisements in August 1839" (Freeman).
The first volume of the Narrative contains Captain King's account of the expedition in the Adventure and Beagle between 1826 and 1830, which surveyed the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. The second volume and appendix volume describe the second voyage of the Beagle under Captain Fitzroy between 1831 and 1836, which visited Brazil, Argentina, Tierra de Fuego, Chile, Peru, the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia and other islands and countries. The final volume is Darwin's Journal, his own account of the Beagle's voyage, and his first published book - it is an outstanding account of natural history exploration which described the fieldwork which ultimately led to On the Origin of Species. "The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career ... I have always felt that I owe to the voyage the first real training or education of my mind; I was led to attend closely to several branches of natural history, and thus my powers of observation were improved" (Life and Letters, 1:61).
One of the most important records of natural history exploration ever written, and the foundation for the study of modern biology.
Freeman, Darwin 10 and 11; Borba de Moraes p.247; Hill (2004) 607; Norman 584; Sabin 37826.