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A Yahgan for the killing: murder, memory and Charles Darwin


In March 1742, British naval officer John Byron witnessed a murder on the western coast of South America. Both Charles Darwin and Robert FitzRoy seized upon Byron's story a century later, and it continues to play an important role in Darwin scholarship today. This essay investigates the veracity of the murder, its appropriation by various authors, and its false association with the Yahgan people encountered during the second voyage of the Beagle (1831–1836). Darwin's use of the story is examined in multiple contexts, focusing on his relationship with the history of European expansion and cross-cultural interaction and related assumptions about slavery and race. The continuing fascination with Byron's story highlights the key role of historical memory in the development and interpretation of evolutionary theory.

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1 Byron John, The Narrative of the Honourable John Byron … Containing an Account of the Great Distresses Suffered by Himself and His Companions on the Coast of Patagonia, From the Year 1740, till their Arrival in England, 1746, 2nd edn, London: S. Baker, G. Leigh and T. Davies, 1768, p. iii.

2 Byron, op. cit. (1), pp. 148–149.

3 Hunt Margaret, ‘Racism, imperialism, and the traveler's gaze in eighteenth-century England’, Journal of British Studies (1993) 32, pp. 333357; Bridget Orr, ‘“Stifling pity in a parent's breast”: infanticide and savagery in late eighteenth-century travel writing’, in Steve Clark (ed.), Travel Writing and Empire: Postcolonial Theory in Transit, London: Zed Books, 1999, pp. 137–138; McDonagh Josephine, Child Murder and British Culture, 1720–1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 4546.

4 Rennie Neil, Far-Fetched Facts: The Literature of Travel and the Idea of the South Seas, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, pp. 3054.

5 Moorehead Alan, Darwin and the Beagle, New York: Harper and Row, 1969, p. 99; Hazelwood Nick, Savage: The Life and Times of Jemmy Button, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000, pp. 2324. Another account adds to the confusion by placing Byron's voyage in the 1820s and conflating him with his grandson, also a naval explorer. See McCalman Iain, Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009, pp. 6465.

6 Harris Lee, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the Enlightenment, New York: Basic Books, 2007, pp. 79, 88; Woram John, Here Be Giants: Travelers' Tales from the Land of the Patagons, Rockville Centre, NY: Rockville Press, 2009, p. 198.

7 Chapman Anne, Darwin in Tierra del Fuego, Buenos Aires: Imago Mundi, 2006, p. 63. Chapman reiterates the false association of Byron's story with the people of Tierra del Fuego in subsequent work. See idem, European Encounters with the Yamana People of Cape Horn before and after Darwin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 187188.

8 Desmond Adrian and Moore James, Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin's Views on Human Evolution, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009, pp. 375376.

9 The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–1882, ed. Nora Barlow, London: Collins, 1958, p. 77; Murchison Roderick Impey, ‘Address to the Royal Geographical Society’, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society (1865) 9, pp. 195274, esp. 217.

10 Livingstone David N., Putting Science in Its Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003; Sulloway Frank J., ‘Darwin's conversion: the Beagle voyage and its aftermath’, Journal of the History of Biology (1982) 15, pp. 325396; MacLeod Roy M. and Rehbock Philip F. (eds.), Darwin's Laboratory: Evolutionary Theory and Natural History in the Pacific, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994; Ronald L. Numbers and Stenhouse John (eds.), Disseminating Darwinism: The Role of Place, Race, Religion, and Gender, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999; Keynes Richard Darwin, Fossils, Finches and Fuegians: Charles Darwin's Adventures and Discoveries on the Beagle, 1832–1836, London: HarperCollins, 2002; Armstrong Patrick, Darwin's Other Islands, London: Continuum, 2004; Finnegan Diarmid A., ‘The spatial turn: geographical approaches in the history of science’, Journal of the History of Biology (2008) 41, pp. 369388; Grant K. Thalia and Estes Gregory B., Darwin in Galápagos: Footsteps to a New World, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009; McCalman Iain and Erskine Nigel (eds.), In the Wake of the Beagle: Science in the Southern Oceans from the Age of Darwin, Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2009; Brinkman Paul D., ‘Charles Darwin's Beagle voyage, fossil vertebrate succession, and “The gradual birth & death of species”’, Journal of the History of Biology (2010) 43, pp. 363399.

11 Although she dismisses the significance of the Beagle encounters, see Herbert Sandra, ‘The place of man in the development of Darwin's theory of transmutation: Part I. To July 1837’, Journal of the History of Biology (1974) 7, pp. 217258. For more recent interest, see Schmitt Cannon, Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 3256; Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 68–110. Janet Browne argues for a trend in Darwin studies towards ‘social-constructivist’ interpretations, but neglects her own superb work on travel and cultural contact. See Browne Janet, ‘Making Darwin: biography and the changing representations of Charles Darwin’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2010) 40, pp. 347373, esp. 371.

12 Schmitt, op. cit. (11), pp. 32–56, esp. 56. On modern Tierra del Fuego as a ‘primitivist’ playground see Magee Paul, From Here to Tierra del Fuego, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

13 [Walter Richard and Robins Benjamin], A Voyage Round the World, In the Years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV by George Anson, 2nd edn, London: John and Knapton Paul, 1748, pp. 19, 203217; Bulkeley John and Cummins John, A Voyage to the South-Seas, In the Years 1740–1, London: Jacob Robinson, 1743, pp. 1105; Byron, op. cit. (1), pp. 1–65. On the War of Jenkins' Ear (1739–1742) see Woodfine Philip, Britannia's Glories: the Walpole Ministry and the 1739 War with Spain, Woodbridge, Suffolk and Rochester, NY: Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press, 1998. On the Anson Squadron see Williams Glyndwr, The Great South Sea: English Voyages and Encounters, 1570–1750, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997, pp. 214250.

14 Byron, op. cit. (1), p. 102.

15 For narrative overviews of the Wager disaster, see Pack S.W.C., The Wager Mutiny, London: A. Redman, 1964; Hough Richard, The Blind Horn's Hate, London: Hutchinson, 1971, pp. 181241; Shankland Peter, Byron of the Wager, London: Collins, 1975; Williams Glyn, The Prize of All the Oceans: The Triumph and Tragedy of Anson's Voyage round the World, London: HarperCollins, 1999, pp. 76103. For the best (and most recent) scholarly treatment see Peter Hulme, ‘Abject in Patagonia: stories from the Wager’, in Fernanda Peñaloza, Jason Wilson and Claudio Canaparo (eds.), Patagonia: Myths and Realities, New York: Peter Lang, 2010, pp. 27–56.

16 Reynolds Joshua, Captain The Honourable John Byron, oil on canvas, 1759, Caird Collection, National Maritime Museum, London, object BHC2592. A facsimile is available online at

17 ‘Histories of the tête-à-tête annexed; or, memoirs of the nautical lover and Miss Betsy G–n’, Town and Country Magazine, or, Universal Repository of Knowledge, Instruction, and Entertainment, December 1773, p. 625; ‘Memoirs of the Honourable John Byron, Vice Admiral of the White’, Hibernian Magazine, Or Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge, November, December 1778, January 1779, pp. 593–594, 654–655, 35–37; ‘Some account of the life and adventures of the Hon. John Byron, Vice-Admiral of the Blue, and Commander in Chief of the British Fleet which now blocks up that of France in the Island of Martinique’, Westminster Magazine, July–August 1779, pp. 331335, 393–396; Charnock John, Biographia Navalis; or, Impartial Memoirs of the Lives and Characters of Officers of the Navy of Great Britain, from the Year 1660 to the Present Time; Drawn from the Most Authentic Sources, and Disposed in a Chronological Arrangement, 6 vols., London: R. Faulder, 1797, vol. 5, pp. 423439; Rowse A.L., The Byrons and Trevanions, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978, pp. 130139. On the link between sexual and imperial conquest see Stoler Ann Laura, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

18 The other five were Bulkeley and Cummins, op. cit. (13); Campbell Alexander, The Sequel to Bulkeley and Cummins's Voyage to the South Seas, London: W. Owen, 1747; [Walter and Robins], op. cit. (13); Morris Isaac, A Narrative of the Dangers and Difficulties Which Befel Isaac Morris, and Seven More of the Crew, Belonging to the Wager Store-Ship, Which Attended Commodore Anson, In His Voyage to the South Sea, London: S. Birt, 1750; Young John, An Affecting Narrative of the Unfortunate Voyage and Catastrophe of His Majesty's Ship Wager, London: John Norwood, 1751.

19 The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1768, London: J. Dodsley, 1786, p. 261; Gentleman's Magazine, May 1768, p. 233; Royal Magazine, May 1768, pp. 221–226; Critical Review, or Annals of Literature, May 1768, pp. 334–344; Political Register, and Impartial Review of New Books, June 1768, pp. 404–405; Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, June 1768, pp. 281–287; Scots Magazine, July 1768, pp. 357–360; Weekly Magazine, or Edinburgh Amusement, 7, 14, 21 July 1768; Nova-Scotia Gazette, 6 October 1768; Monthly Review, October 1768, pp. 319–320; Gentlemen and Ladies’ Town and Country Magazine, May, June, August, September 1789, pp. 175–176, 251–253, 355–356, 409–410. On the significance of the murder story for contemporary readers see Millar John, Observations Concerning the Distinction of Ranks in Society, London: John Murray, 1771, pp. 9697; Fawcett John, An Essay on Anger, Leeds: Thomas Wright, 1787, pp. 8081; [Thornton Robert John], The Politician's Creed, 3 vols., London: Robinsons, 1799, vol. 1, pp. 1011; Orr, op. cit. (3), pp. 137–138; McDonagh, op. cit. (3), pp. 45–46.

20 [Byron George Gordon], Don Juan, London: Thomas Davison, 1819, p. 187. For the narrative's enduring appeal see The wreck of the Wager: shewing the improved state of naval discipline of late years’, United Service Magazine and Naval and Military Journal (1842) 1, pp. 161177; Post John D., The United States Reader … For the Use of Schools, New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1842, p. 252; Sutcliffe Thomas, Crusoniana; Or, Truth Versus Fiction, Elucidated in a History of the Islands of Juan Fernandez, Manchester: P. Grant, 1843, pp. 113191; Byron John, Foul Weather Jack: Being the Narrative of the Hon. John Byron, Etc., London: John Neale, 1844; Gurney Alan (ed.), The Loss of the Wager: The Narratives of John Bulkeley and the Hon. John Byron, Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2004, pp. viixvi.

21 O'Brian Patrick, The Unknown Shore, New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996, p. 254.

22 [Walpole] Horace, An Account of the Giants Lately Discovered: In a letter to a Friend in the Country, London: F. Noble, 1766; A Voyage Round the World, In His Majesty's Ship the Dolphin, Commanded by the Honourable Commodore Byron … by an Officer on Board the said Ship, London: J. Newbery and F. Newbery, 1767; Coyer Abbé, A Letter to Doctor Maty, Secretary of the Royal Society, London: T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1767; Charles Clarke, ‘An account of the very tall men, seen near the Streights of Magellan, in the Year 1764, by the equipage of the Dolphin Man of War, under the Command of the Hon. Commodore Byron’, Philosophical Transactions, Giving some Account of the Present Undertakings, Studies, and Labours, of the Ingenious, in Many Considerable Parts of the World (1767) 57, pp. 7579; Hawkesworth John (ed.), An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and Successively Performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour, 3 vols., London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, vol. 1, pp. 2139; Henry David (ed.), An Historical Account of all the Voyages Round the World, Performed by English Navigators; Including Those Lately Undertaken by Order of His Present Majesty, 4 vols., London: F. Newbery, 1773, vol. 3, pp. 151; Pennant Thomas, Of the Patagonians, Darlington: George Allan, 1788, p. 16; Helen Wallis, ‘The Patagonian giants’, in Robert E. Gallagher (ed.), Byron's Journal of his Circumnavigation, 1764–1766, Cambridge: Published for the Hakluyt Society at the University Press, 1964, pp. 185–196; Jean-Paul Duviols, ‘The Patagonian “giants”’, in Colin McEwan, Luis A. Borrero and Alfredo Prieto (eds.), Patagonia: Natural History, Prehistory and Ethnography at the Uttermost End of the Earth, London: British Museum Press, 1997, pp. 127–139.

23 Adams Percy G., Travelers and Travel Liars, 1660–1800, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962, pp. 1943; Edwards Philip, The Story of the Voyage: Sea-Narratives in Eighteenth-Century England, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 5379, esp. 55.

24 John Byron, ‘Journal of the Dolphin, 1764–66’, Manuscript Collection, National Maritime Museum, London, JOD/58; Gallagher, op. cit. (22).

25 I have identified over three hundred seemingly plagiarized fragments in Byron's narrative, which suggests that Byron used Campbell's book as an outline for his own. They also could be evidence of a forger or ghostwriter.

26 Campbell, op. cit. (18), pp. iii–viii; Williams, op. cit. (15), pp. 98–99, 101–102.

27 García José, ‘Diario de viaje i navegación hechos por el padre José García de la Compañía de Jesús desde su misión de Cailín, en Chiloé, hacia el sur en los años 1766–1767’, Anuario Hidrográfico de la Marina de Chile (1889) 14, pp. 342, esp. 26; Byron, op. cit. (1), pp. 103–107; Campbell, op. cit. (18), pp. 52–53, 60; Burgos Rodolfo Urbina, La Periferia Meridional Indiana: Chiloé en el Siglo XVIII, Valparaíso: Ediciones Universitarias de Valparaiso, 1983, p. 219. On indigenous groups and the greater Chiloé region see Hervás Lorenzo, Catalogo delle Lingue Conosciute e Notizia della Loro Affinita, e Diversita, Cesena: Gregorio Biasini, 1784, p. 16; Burgos Rodolfo Urbina, ‘Los Chonos en Chiloé: itinerario y aculturación’, Chiloé: Revista de Divulgación del Centro Chilote (1988) 9, pp. 2942. On the ambiguity surrounding the guide's ethnicity see Cooper John M., Analytical and Critical Bibliography of the Tribes of Tierra del Fuego and Adjacent Territory, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1917, p. 76.

28 David Cheap to Richard Lindsey, 26 February 1744, Additional Manuscripts 35396, Department of Manuscripts, British Library, London (hereafter AM), ff. 192–196, esp. 195; Cheap to Lindsey, 26 March 1744, AM 15955, f. 216; Cheap to George Anson, 12 December 1745, AM 15955, f. 214; ‘Extract of a Letter written by a Spanish Officer’, Gentleman's Magazine, April 1745, p. 218. A brief account of the journey to Chiloé, attributed to Cheap, is paraphrased in a longer text, but offers no new information. See Bulkeley John and Cummins John, A Voyage to the South-Seas, In the Years 1740–1, 2nd edn, Philadelphia: James Chattin, 1757, pp. 228235.

29 Campbell, op. cit. (18), pp. 19–20, 58; García, op. cit. (27), p. 26.

30 Edwards, op. cit. (23), p. 78; Moss Chris, Patagonia: A Cultural History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 6770; Hulme, op. cit. (15), pp. 27–56. The murder itself is reminiscent of a biblical revenge story: ‘Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones’. See Psalms 137:9.

31 For an intriguing, but very dated, analysis of infanticide and violence in the region see Cooper, op. cit. (27), pp. 171, 174–175.

32 Tierra del Fuego and the Cape Horn Archipelago bordered a popular route for explorers and whaling vessels on their way to Asia and the South Pacific. See Francis Allyn Olmsted, ‘Journal of a Voyage around Cape Horn, 1840’, General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, vol. 151; Charles Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition. During the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 5 vols., Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1845, vol. 1, pp. 119–129.

33 For ethnographic details on the Yahgans and their encounters with Europeans, see Michael Taussig, ‘Tierra del Fuego – land of fire, land of mimicry’, in McEwan, Borrero and Prieto, op. cit. (22), pp. 153–172. On Darwin's experience in Tierra del Fuego, see Desmond Adrian and Moore James, Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991, pp. 132148; Browne Janet, Charles Darwin: A Biography, 2 vols., New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995–2002, vol. 1, pp. 234253; Chapman, op. cit. (7), pp. 7–8, pp. 67–102.

34 Darwin Charles, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, 2 vols., London: John Murray, 1871, vol. 2, p. 404. On Darwin's thoughts about the Fuegians in later life see Bowler Peter J., ‘From “savage” to “primitive”: Victorian evolutionism and the interpretation of marginalized peoples’, Antiquity (1992) 66, pp. 721729; Martínez-Contreras Jorge, ‘Darwin's apes and “savages”’, Comptes rendus biologies (2010) 333, pp. 166173; Radick Gregory, ‘Did Darwin change his mind about the Fuegians?’, Endeavour (2010) 34, pp. 5054.

35 Darwin also believed that Fuegian egalitarianism and lack of private property would ‘prevent their civilization’. See Taussig, op. cit. (33), pp. 171–172; Chapman, op. cit. (7), pp. 37–65. On the decision to expand the section on the Fuegians in the second edition of the Journal see Charles Darwin to John Murray, [6 June 1845], in Frederick H. Burkhardt et al. (eds.), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vols. 1–18, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985–2010, vol. 3, p. 204.

36 Darwin Charles, Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World, Under the Command of Capt. Fitz Roy, R.N., 2nd edn.London: John Murray, 1845, pp. 215216.

37 Greg Dening, ‘The theatricality of observing and being observed: eighteenth-century Europe “discovers” the ? century “Pacific”’, in Stuart B. Schwartz (ed.), Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 451–483, esp. p. 464.

38 On Park, see Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood, 6–7 January 1839, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 2, pp. 159–160; Pratt Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, New York: Routledge, 2008, pp. 6783. On Darwin's early interest in travelogues, see Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 28–29. On the significance of heroic travel narratives for science history more generally, see Terrall Mary, ‘Heroic narratives of quest and discovery’, Configurations (1998) 6, pp. 223242.

39 Charles Darwin to Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, 1 November 1839, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 2, pp. 239–240, esp. 240. On Humboldt's influence see Sachs Aaron, The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism, New York: Viking, 2006, pp. 4172; Nigel Leask, ‘Darwin's “second sun”: Alexander von Humboldt and the genesis of The Voyage of the Beagle’, in Helen Small and Trudi Tate (eds.), Literature, Science, Psychoanalysis, 1830–1970: Essays in Honour of Gillian Beer, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 13–36; Robert J. Richards, ‘Darwin's romantic biology: the foundation of his evolutionary ethics’, in Jane Maienschein and Michael Ruse (eds.), Biology and the Foundation of Ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 113–153. For a contrasting view see Michael Ruse, ‘The romantic conception of Richards Robert J.’, Journal of the History of Biology (2004) 37, pp. 323.

40 Charles Darwin to John Henslow, 9 [September 1831], in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, pp. 148–150, esp. 149; Robert FitzRoy to Darwin, 23 September 1831, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, p. 167. For a partial catalogue of the Beagle library see Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, pp. 553–566. On FitzRoy's turbulent career and personal life see Nichols Peter, Evolution's Captain: The Dark Fate of the Man Who Sailed Charles Darwin around the World, New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

41 FitzRoy Robert, 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. Volume II. Proceedings of the Second Expedition, 1831–1836, London: Henry Colburn, 1839, pp. 144, 154155, appendix, pp. 130–131.

42 Darwin completed the first draft of his Journal in 1837, two years before FitzRoy's volume appeared carrying Byron's story. See Freeman R.B., The Works of Charles Darwin: An Annotated Bibliographical Handlist, Folkestone: Dawson, 1977, pp. 3234; Darwin Richard Keynes (ed.), Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988; Darwin Charles, 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. Volume III. Journal and Remarks, 1832–1836, London: Henry Colburn, 1839; Di Gregorio Mario A. and Gill N.W. (eds.), Charles Darwin's Marginalia, vol. 1, New York: Garland Publishing, 1990, p. 230. Although Byron's narrative is listed among the books Darwin consulted on the Beagle, it is unclear whether or to what extent he read the book during the voyage. A passing reference in Darwin's zoology notebook is offered as proof, but the reference is to Byron's 1764–1766 circumnavigation, not his Wager narrative. A quote from Byron scrawled on the back of another notebook page is more promising, though hardly conclusive. See Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, p. 559; Keynes Richard (ed.), Charles Darwin's Zoology Notes & Specimen Lists from H.M.S. Beagle, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 181; Hawkesworth, op. cit. (22), vol. 1, p. 17; Charles Darwin, ‘Chonos and Tres Montes’, Darwin Papers, Manuscripts Department, Cambridge University Library, DAR 35: 233–258, esp. 235v.

43 King P. Parker, 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. Volume I. Proceedings of the First Expedition, 1826–1830, London: Henry Colburn, 1839, p. 95, pp. 323331, esp. 327. King also discusses Byron's narrative in a earlier work. See King Phillip Parker, Sailing Directions for the Coasts of Eastern and Western Patagonia, from Port St. Elena on the East Side, to Cape Tres Montes on the West Side; Including the Strait of Magalhaens, and the Sea Coast of Tierra del Fuego, London: Hydrographical Office, Admiralty, 1832, pp. 123125.

44 FitzRoy, op. cit. (41), pp. 154–155.

45 Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, p. 95; FitzRoy, op. cit. (41), p. 154.

46 Hanaford P.A., The Captive Boy in Terra del Fuego: Being an Authentic Narrative of the Loss of the Ship Manchester, and the Adventures of the Sole White Survivor, New York: Carlton & Porter, 1867, pp. 208209; Wilkes, op. cit. (32), vol. 1, p. 126; Coppinger R.W., Cruise of the ‘Alert.’ Four Years in Patagonian, Polynesian, and Mascarene Waters, London: W. Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1883, p. 51.

47 Weddell James, A Voyage towards the South Pole, Performed in the Years 1822–24. Containing an Examination of the Antarctic Sea, to the Seventy-Fourth Degree of Latitude: And a Visit to Terra del Fuego, with a Particular Account of the Inhabitants, London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1827, pp. 156157; MacDouall John, Narrative of a Voyage to Patagonia and Terra del Fuégo, through the Straits of Magellan, in H.M.S. Adventure and Beagle, in 1826 and 1827, London: Renshaw and Rush, 1833, p. 108; Morrell Benjamin, A Narrative of Four Voyages to the South Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean, Chinese Sea, Ethiopic and Southern Atlantic Ocean, Indian and Antarctic Ocean, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1832, p. 97; Snow W. Parker, A Two Years’ Cruise off Tierra del Fuego, The Falkland Islands, Patagonia, and in the River Plate, 2 vols., London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts, 1857, vol. 1, pp. 349, 362363; Clark Joseph G., Lights and Shadows of Sailor Life, as Exemplified in Fifteen Years’ Experience, Boston: John Putnam, 1847, pp. 4445.

48 It is worth remembering that the concept of the noble savage was applied retroactively to bolster a new view of marginalized people as perverse anachronisms. See Ellingson Ter, The Myth of the Noble Savage, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. On domestic affection see Gusinde Martin, Los Indios de Tierra del Fuego, book 3, vol. 2, Buenos Aires: CAEA, 1991, pp. 375376.

49 Sauer R., ‘Infanticide and abortion in nineteenth-century Britain’, Population Studies (1978) 32, pp. 8193, esp. 81; Rose Lionel, The Massacre of the Innocents: Infanticide in Britain, 1800–1939, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986, p. 8. I am indebted to Cathy Monholland for these references. See Cathy S. Monholland, ‘Infanticide in Victorian England, 1856–1878: thirty legal cases’, MA thesis, Rice University, 1989, pp. 18–20. An ‘infant’ in contemporary parlance meant ‘A child from the birth to the end of the seventh year’. See Johnson Samuel et al. , Johnson's English Dictionary, Boston: Nathan Hale, 1835, p. 509.

50 Baines M.A., ‘A few thoughts concerning infanticide’, Journal of Social Science (1866) 10, pp. 535540, esp. 535, quoted in Monholland, op. cit. (49), p. 21. See also Thorn Jennifer (ed.), Writing British Infanticide: Child-Murder, Gender, and Print, 1722–1859, London: Associated University Presses, 2003.

51 Martin Daunton and Rick Halpern, ‘Introduction: British identities, indigenous peoples, and the empire’, in Martin Daunton and Rick Halpern (eds.), Empire and Others: British Encounters with Indigenous Peoples, 1600–1850, London: UCL Press, 1999, p. 4.

52 Wood J. Carter, ‘A useful savagery: the invention of violence in nineteenth-century England’, Journal of Victorian Culture (2004) 9, pp. 2242, esp. 24.

53 Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (33), pp. 303–304, 287, 289, 312, 327; Keynes Randal, Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter and Human Evolution, London: Fourth Estate, 2001.

54 Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, pp. 134–135, vol. 2, pp. 363–365. Darwin acknowledged the role of infanticide among ‘lower’ animals, under exceptional circumstances, in the Origin of Species, but appeared less concerned with this nuance in Descent. See McDonagh, op. cit. (3), pp. 160–161, 170–171.

55 On Darwin's need to denaturalize ‘savage’ conduct see Duncan Ian, ‘Darwin and the Savages’, Yale Journal of Criticism (1991) 4, pp. 1345, esp. 25; Jann Rosemary, ‘Darwin and the anthropologists: sexual selection and its discontents’, Victorian Studies (1994) 37, pp. 287306; Schmitt, op. cit. (11), pp. 32–56.

56 Weikart Richard, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004; Robert P. Forbes, ‘“Truth systematized”: the changing debate over slavery and abolition, 1761–1916’, in Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer (eds.), Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism, New York: The New Press, 2006, pp. 3–22, esp. 19. For some highlights of the Weikart controversy see Andrew Zimmerman, review of From Darwin to Hitler by Richard Weikart, American Historical Review (2005) 110, pp. 566567; Hector Avalos, ‘Creationists for genocide’, Talk Reason, 24 August 2007, available at; Robert J. Richards, ‘Myth 19: that Darwin and Haeckel were complicit in Nazi biology’, in Ronald L. Numbers (ed.), Galileo Goes to Jail, and Other Myths about Science and Religion, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009, pp. 170–177.

57 Robert A. Stafford, ‘Scientific exploration and Empire’, in Andrew Porter (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3: The Nineteenth Century, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 294–319; James Delbourgo and Nicholas Dew (eds.), Science and Empire in the Atlantic World, New York: Routledge, 2008. On the relationship between scientific voyages and racial formation see Douglas Bronwen and Ballard Chris (eds.), Foreign Bodies: Oceania and the Science of Race, 1750–1940, Canberra ACT: Australian National University E Press, 2008.

58 Gillian Beer, ‘Travelling the other way: travel narratives and truth claims’, in McEwan, Borrero and Prieto, op. cit. (22), pp. 140–152, esp. 143. For compelling arguments in support of Beer's statement see Drayton Richard, Nature's Government: Science, Imperial Britain, and the ‘Improvement’ of the World, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000; Irving Sarah, Natural Science and the Origins of the British Empire, London: Pickering and Chatto, 2008.

59 Hofstadter Richard, Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860–1915, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1944. On the utility of social Darwinism as both category of analysis and blanket pejorative see Bellomy Donald C., ‘“Social Darwinism” revisited’, Perspectives in American History (1984) 1, pp. 1129; Jim Moore, ‘Socializing Darwinism: historiography and the fortunes of a phrase’, in Les Levidow (ed.), Science as Politics, London: Free Association Books, 1986, pp. 38–80; Richard J. Evans, ‘In search of German social Darwinism: the history and historiography of a concept’, in Manfred Berg and Geoffrey Cocks (eds.), Medicine and Modernity: Public Health and Medical Care in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Germany, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 55–79; Leonard Thomas C., ‘Origins of the myth of social Darwinism: the ambiguous legacy of Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought’, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2009) 71, pp. 3751.

60 Greene John C., ‘Darwin as a social evolutionist’, Journal of the History of Biology (1977) 10, pp. 127; Richards Robert J., Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, pp. 20330.

61 Kohn David, ‘Darwin's ambiguity: the secularization of biological meaning’, BJHS (1989) 22, pp. 215239; Moore James R., The Post-Darwinian Controversies: A Study of the Protestant Struggle to Come to Terms with Darwin in Great Britain and America, 1870–1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979, pp. 157161; Greene, op. cit. (60), pp. 2–3, 25–26. The question of Darwin's relationship with biological determinism remains hotly contested. For an impressively nuanced account of Darwin's non-reductive naturalism see Richards, op. cit. (60), pp. 71–242. For a more critical view see Weikart Richard, ‘Was Darwin or Spencer the father of laissez-faire social Darwinism?’, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2009) 71, pp. 2028. For an excellent introduction to the voluminous literature on this topic see Allchin Douglas, ‘Was Darwin a social Darwinist?’, American Biology Teacher (2007) 69, pp. 4951.

62 Darwin, op. cit. (36), p. 435; idem, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, pp. 201, 236–240; Brantlinger Patrick, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800–1930, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003, pp. 164188; Beer Gillian, ‘Darwin and the uses of extinction’, Victorian Studies (2009) 51, pp. 321331.

63 Kennedy Dane, The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian World, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005, pp. 131163. For an overview of Darwin's strongly ‘meliorist’ paternalism see Gould Stephen Jay, ‘The moral state of Tahiti – and of Darwin’, in idem, Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History, New York: Norton, 1993, pp. 262274; Janet Browne, ‘Missionaries and the human mind: Charles Darwin and Robert FitzRoy’, in MacLeod and Rehbock, op. cit. (10), pp. 263–282. For colonial tropes in Darwin's thought see Barta Tony, ‘Mr Darwin's shooters: on natural selection and the naturalizing of genocide’, Patterns of Prejudice (2005) 39, pp. 116137.

64 Keynes, op. cit. (42), p. 222; Charles Darwin to Caroline Darwin, 30 March–12 April 1833, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, pp. 302–306; Darwin to John Henslow, 11 April 1833, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, pp. 306–309, esp. 306; Darwin to Charles Whitley, 23 July 1834, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, pp. 396–397. The ‘hideous faces’ passage is reproduced in the second edition of the Journal, minus the creationist rhetoric. See Darwin, op. cit. (36), p. 213.

65 William Reynolds to Lydia Reynolds, 22 May 1839, in Cleaver Anne Hoffman and Stann E. Jeffrey (eds.), Voyage to the Southern Ocean: The Letters of Lieutenant William Reynolds from the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838–1842, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988, pp. 5067, esp. 63; Silas Holmes, ‘Journal’, 3 vols., Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (hereafter WAC), vol. 1, pp. 69–71, esp. 70; Joseph Underwood, ‘Journal of a Cruise in the U.S.S. Relief’, WAC, 29 January 1839; George Foster Emmons, ‘Journal’, 3 vols., George Foster Emmons Papers, WAC, vol. 1, 25 February 1839; Wilkes, op. cit. (32), vol. 1, p. 122; MacDouall, op. cit. (47), p. 109, p. 117, p. 168. For examples of Fuegian ethnocentrism, however credible, see FitzRoy, op. cit. (41), p. 203.

66 Although historians may quibble about the exact degree of its influence, there is little doubt about Darwin's abolitionist commitment. For a thorough treatment, see Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8). For an interesting critique, see Richards Robert J., ‘The Descent of Man’, American Scientist (2009) 97, pp. 415417. On Humboldtian Romanticism and encounters with slavery see Sachs, op. cit. (39), pp. 70–71, esp. 70; Richards, op. cit. (39), pp. 135–136.

67 Darwin, op. cit. (36), p. 499. On the immediate impetus for this passage see Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 180–183.

68 On the significance of witnessing slavery at first hand, although in a somewhat different context, see Huston James L., ‘The experiential basis of the Northern antislavery impulse’, Journal of Southern History (1990) 56, pp. 609640; Yannielli Joseph, ‘George Thompson among the Africans: empathy, authority, and insanity in the Age of Abolition’, Journal of American History (2010) 96, pp. 9791000. On the key role of Brazil for supporters and opponents of slavery alike see Horn Gerald, The Deepest South: The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade, New York: New York University Press, 2007.

69 Darwin, op. cit. (36), p. 500. On the significance of Darwin's emotional awareness see Endersby Jim, ‘Sympathetic science: Charles Darwin, Joseph Hooker, and the passions of Victorian naturalists’, Victorian Studies (2009) 51, pp. 299320. Likewise, Desmond and Moore point to the ‘moral fire’ driving his work. See Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), p. xix. On the revolutionary temporality intrinsic to Darwin's brand of abolitionism see David Brion Davis, “The emergence of immediatism in British and American antislavery thought,” in idem, From Homicide to Slavery: Studies in American Culture, New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, pp. 238–257.

70 FitzRoy, op. cit. (41), pp. 61–62.

71 Freeman R.B., ‘Darwin's negro bird-stuffer’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (1978) 33, pp. 8386; Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 18–26. On the significance of interracial contact and friendship for antislavery movements see Stauffer John, The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002; Newman Richard S., The Transformation of American Abolitionism: Fighting Slavery in the Early Republic, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002; Harrold Stanley, Subversives: Antislavery Community in Washington, D.C., 1828–1865, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003.

72 Charles Darwin to Catherine Darwin, 22 May[–14 July] 1833, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 1, pp. 311–315, esp. 312–313. Desmond and Moore discuss the immediate context for this remarkable letter, but ignore the important comparison between the ‘fine muscular’ Afro-Brazilians and the ‘murderous’ Portuguese. See Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 82–83, 87.

73 Matthews Gelien, Caribbean Slave Revolts and the British Abolitionist Movement, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006; Rugemer Edward Bartlett, The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008, pp. 42142.

74 Darwin, op. cit. (36), p. 500; Browne, op. cit. (33), vol. 1, p. 245; Richard Huzzey, ‘“A nation of abolitionists”? the politics and culture of British anti-slavery, c.1838–1874’, D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 2009.

75 Charles Darwin to Asa Gray, 5 June 1861, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 9, pp. 162–164, esp. 163; Darwin to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 27 February 1873, in Darwin Francis (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Including an Autobiographical Chapter, 3 vols., London: John Murray, 1887, vol. 3, p. 176.

76 Charles Darwin to John Higgins, 19 June [1852], in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 5, p. 94; Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), p. 167; Weikart, op. cit. (61), pp. 20–28; Huzzey Richard, ‘Free trade, free labour, and slave sugar in Victorian Britain’, Historical Journal (2010) 53, pp. 359379.

77 Frederickson George M., The Black Image in the White Mind: the Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817–1914, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1987, pp. 97129.

78 Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, p. 232. On Darwin's experience with the Fuegian captives see Toumey Christopher P., ‘Jemmy Button’, The Americas (1987) 44, pp. 195207; Browne, op. cit. (63), pp. 265–273; Hazelwood, op. cit. (5), pp. 109–152. Fuegian minds were ‘similar’, according to Darwin, but not identical. Although I emphasize his racial progressivism in this context, other authors point to a creeping pessimism about the Fuegians’ ability to be successfully ‘civilized’. See Mayer Ruth, ‘The things of civilization, the matters of empire: representing Jemmy Button’, New Literary History (2008) 39, pp. 193215, esp. 200–203; Radick, op. cit. (34), pp. 50–54.

79 For FitzRoy's views on racial transformation see Beer, op. cit. (58), pp. 148–149; Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 94–95.

80 Autobiography of Charles Darwin, op. cit. (9), p. 79; Wyhe John van, Phrenology and the Origins of Victorian Scientific Naturalism, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 165201. Desmond and Moore dismiss the elder Darwin's remark as ‘a joke’, but the context is unclear. In the passage in question, Darwin claims that his father discovered physical proof of mental alteration despite his scepticism of phrenology. See Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 116–117.

81 Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, p. 225. As Stephen Alter has established, Darwin's ‘account of human origins made little appeal to racial hierarchy but depended much on an original racial unity’. Edward Beasley offers a more critical view, noting that Darwin believed in the inheritance of acquired racial characteristics. Both are correct. See Alter Stephen, ‘Race, language, and mental evolution in Darwin's Descent of Man’, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (2007) 43, pp. 239255, esp. 240; Beasley Edward, The Victorian Reinvention of Race: New Racisms and the Problem of Grouping in the Human Sciences, New York: Routledge, 2010, pp. 97111.

82 Galton Francis, The Art of Travel: Or, Shifts and Contrivances Available in Wild Countries, London: John Murray, 1855.

83 Quoted in The Times, 1 December 1886, p. 8.

84 Galton Francis, The Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South Africa, London: John Murray, 1853, p. 15; idem, ‘Africa for the Chinese’, The Times, 5 June 1873, p. 8; Fancher Raymond E., ‘Francis Galton's African ethnography and its role in the development of his psychology’, BJHS (1983) 16, pp. 6779. For an important caveat see Gavan Tredoux, ‘Fancher on Galton's African ethnography’, March 2004, available at Although Darwin admired ‘the spirit & style’ of his cousin's adventures, he showed little interest in the latter's brazenly racist screeds. See Charles Darwin to Francis Galton, 24 July [1853], in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 5, pp. 149–150, esp. 149.

85 Louis Agassiz to Rose Mayor Agassiz, 2 December 1846, Louis Agassiz Correspondence and Other Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Am 1419, pp. 13–14. A facsimile is available online at For a closer analysis see Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 232–233.

86 Agassiz Louis and Agassiz Elizabeth, A Journey in Brazil, Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1868, p. 49, pp. 6566, 128131, 296299; Rogers Molly, Delia's Tears: Race, Science, and Photography in Nineteenth-Century America, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. The couple's position was similar to that of Thomas Huxley, another naturalist–voyager, who opposed slavery without ‘the smallest sentimental sympathy for the negro’. Quoted in Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), p. 334.

87 Lorimer Douglas A., Colour, Class, and the Victorians: English Attitudes to the Negro in the Mid-nineteenth Century , Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1978, pp. 131161, esp. 149. Lorimer develops this point by tracing the hard-line racial science of the later nineteenth century. See Lorimer Douglas A., ‘Theoretical racism in late-Victorian anthropology’, 1870–1900’, Victorian Studies (1988) 31, pp. 405430; Lorimer, ‘Science and the secularization of Victorian images of race’, in Bernard Lightman (ed.), Victorian Science in Context, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997, pp. 212–235.

88 Darwin's early attention ‘to the contrasts and to the similarities between civilized and uncivilized races of human beings’, writes Janet Browne, ‘created an intellectual context in which ideas about a real evolutionary connection could take root and subsequently flourish’. See Browne, op. cit. (33), vol. 1, pp. 244–250, esp. 249.

89 Keynes, op. cit. (42), p. 45.

90 Browne, op. cit. (33), vol. 2, pp. 271–272.

91 Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, p. 35.

92 Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 1, pp. 94–97, 100–101; Davis David Brion, Slavery and Human Progress, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984, pp. 107116; Bowler Peter J., The Invention of Progress: The Victorians and the Past, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989; Greene, op. cit. (60), pp. 25–26; Browne, op. cit. (33), vol. 1, pp. 248–249; Desmond and Moore, op. cit. (8), pp. 367–370.

93 For more on the ‘enslavement’ of indigenous women see Darwin, op. cit. (34), vol. 2, pp. 366–368. On gendered labour in Fuegian society, see Chapman, op. cit. (7), pp. 60–63. On Darwin's approach to gender difference and its ramifications, see Matthews Glenna, ‘Just a Housewife’: The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 116144; Shields Stephanie A. and Bhatia Sunil, ‘Darwin on race, gender, and culture’, American Psychologist (2009) 64, pp. 111119; Cohen Claudine, ‘Darwin on woman’, Comptes rendus biologies (2010) 333, pp. 157165. Rosemary Jann points to ‘the crucial role played by sexual conduct in Victorian (and later) attempts to construct the boundary that demarcates the fully human from the animal and to chart the progress of civilization’. See Jann, op. cit. (55), pp. 287–306, esp. 287.

94 On Darwin's rejection of ‘evolutionary ethics’ see Engels Eve-Marie, ‘Charles Darwin's moral sense – on Darwin's ethics of non-violence’, Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology (2005) 10, pp. 3154. For a slightly different view see Richards, op. cit. (39), pp. 113–153.

95 Bartholomew Sulivan to Charles Darwin, 13 February [1868], 1 July 1870, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 16, pp. 111–112, vol. 18, pp. 194–196; Sulivan to Darwin, 23 February 1874, 2 January 1879 (quote), 18 March 1881, Darwin Papers, DAR 177: 301, 308, 314; Radick, op. cit. (34), pp. 50–54. On FitzRoy Button, grandson of the famous Orundellico, see Sulivan to Darwin, April [1878], 13 October 1879, 3 December 1881, Darwin Papers, DAR 177: 304, 310, 317; Hazelwood, op. cit. (5), pp. 343–346.

96 Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography (1879) 1, pp. 397–398, esp. 397; Musters George Chaworth, At Home with the Patagonians: A Year's Wanderings over Untrodden Ground from the Straits of Magellan to the Rio Negro, London: John Murray, 1871, p. 1.

97 Joseph Hooker to Charles Darwin, 14 September 1845, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 3, pp. 254–255, esp. 254. I am grateful to Nigel Leask for this reference. On Darwin's Journal as popular travelogue, see Tallmadge John, ‘From chronicle to quest: the shaping of Darwin's “Voyage of the Beagle”’, Victorian Studies (1980) 23, pp. 325345; Leask, op. cit. (39), pp. 13–36. For its use as a standard reference work see Snow, op. cit. (47), vol. 2, pp. 71–72; Sutherland Alexander, The Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct, 2 vols., London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898, vol. 1, pp. 112, 117, 178, 350, 371.

98 Kjærgaard Peter C., ‘The Darwin enterprise: from scientific icon to global product’, History of Science (2010) 48, pp. 105122; Simons Eric, Darwin Slept Here: Discovery, Adventure, and Swimming Iguanas in Charles Darwin's South America, Woodstock: Overlook Press, 2009.

99 Lubbock John, Pre-historic Times, as Illustrated by Ancient Remains, and the Manners and Customs of Modern Savages, London: Williams and Norgate, 1865, pp. 464465, esp. 465. For Lubbock's interest in the Beagle see John Lubbock to Charles Darwin, 2 September 1864, in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 12, p. 316.

100 Charles Darwin to John Lubbock, 11 June [1865], in Burkhardt et al., op. cit. (35), vol. 13, p. 182. Darwin scored the chapter in the second edition of Lubbock's book, published in 1869. See Di Gregorio and Gill, op. cit. (42), vol. 1, p. 513.

101 Darwin Carlo, Viaggio di un Naturalista Intorno al Mondo (tr. Michele Lessona), Turin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice, [1872], p. 189. For some post-Darwinian appropriations of Byron's story see Hamilton James, A Memoir of Richard Williams, Surgeon: Catechist to the Patagonian Missionary Society in Tierra del Fuego, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1854, p. 116; Pictures of Travel in Far-Off Lands: A Companion to the Study of Geography. South America, London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1871, p. 20; Murray J. Clark, A Handbook of Psychology, London: Alexander Gardner, 1885, pp. 373374; Ethelmer Ellis, Woman Free, Congleton: Women's Emancipation Union, 1893, p. 61; Sutherland, op. cit. (97), vol. 1, pp. vii, 112.

102 Gould Stephen Jay, ‘The tooth and claw centennial’, in idem, Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History, New York: Harmony Books, 1995, pp. 6375.

103 See, for example, Wrangham Richard and Peterson Dale, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996; Thayer Bradley A., Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004; Smith David Livingstone, The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War, New York: St Martin's Press, 2007; Potts Malcolm, Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World, Dallas: BenBella Books, 2008. For an important critique see David Adams (ed.), The Seville Statement on Violence, Paris: UNESCO, 1991. Further information is available online at

104 Kropotkin Peter, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, Boston: Extending Horizon Books, 1955, pp. 90, 95; Todes Daniel P., Darwin without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 123142.

105 Wendell Phillips Garrison to Charles Darwin, 4 October 1879, Darwin Papers, DAR 165: 8; [Garrison Wendell Phillips], What Mr. Darwin Saw in His Voyage Round the World in the Ship “Beagle”, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1879, pp. 208209.

106 [Grant Charles William], Our Blood Relations; Or, the Darwinian Theory, London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co., 1872, p. 81; Platt James, Men and Women, London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1890, p. 46.

107 Raum Otto Friedrich, Chaga Childhood: A Description of Indigenous Education in an East African Tribe, London: International African Institute, 1940, p. 1.

108 Charles Darwin, notebook M, 1838, Darwin Papers, DAR 125: 142; Chancellor Gordon Russell (ed.), ‘Charles Darwin's St. Helena Model Notebook’, Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Historical Series (1990) 18, pp. 203228, esp. p. 214. For the ‘story of the women’ see Byron, op. cit. (1), pp. 124–128.

109 Ann Laura Stoler, ‘Tense and tender ties: the politics of comparison in North American history and (post) colonial studies’, in idem (ed.), Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 23–67, esp. p. 55.

110 Charles Darwin to A. Stephen Wilson, 5 March 1879, in Darwin Francis and Seward A.C. (eds.), More Letters of Charles Darwin: A Record of His Work in a Series of Hitherto Unpublished Letters, 2 vols., London: John Murray, 1903, vol. 2, p. 42.

I would like to thank Jon Agar and the BJHS editorial staff for taking a risk on an unusual interdisciplinary project. I am especially grateful to the referees for their generous and detailed critiques. Special thanks are due to Richard Huzzey, Elaine Jackson, Petra Rodriguez, the librarians at the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile and The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. This essay is dedicated to my father, biology teacher and grass-roots ecologist, whose deceptively simple question (‘Do you think it's true?’) led to a fascinating and complex story.

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