In Darwin's Footsteps - Te Waimate Mission

The Bay of Islands is a subtropical region in New Zealand's far north and is a popular destination for big-game fishing, sailing, and dolphin watching. It is an area rich in the history of Maori (Māori in their own language) and European (Pākehā) relations and conflict.

The American author of adventure novels, Zane Grey (1872-1939 CE), catapulted the region to international fame when he visited the Bay of Islands in the 1920s CE. A renowned angler, Grey brought along an entourage that included cooks and cameramen. He managed to upset New Zealanders with his criticism of local fishing practices and his lavish lifestyle at a time when economic depression was looming.

But before Zane Grey's notorious visit, the Bay of Islands was known for its role in establishing a model farm that was visited and admired by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882 CE). The farm was part of a once-extensive mission station that hosted the second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document (1840 CE).

The Waimate Mission station and farm sits atop a small rise surrounded by the sloping pastoral landscape of Waimate, Bay of Islands and preserves New Zealand's early colonial architecture and missionary history. The British missionaries who set up the mission can be given credit for introducing European farming practices to New Zealand, and their story is one of courage and resilience.

The Founding of Te Waimate Mission

The Waimate Mission station is now called Te Waimate Mission (te being “the” in Maori), and it was established by the Church Missionary Society of London when the site was chosen in 1830 CE by the Reverend Samuel Marsden (1765 – 1838 CE). The Society was founded in 1796 CE with the objective of carrying the Christian message to distant lands, particularly Africa, India, and New Zealand.

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KORORAREKA was called the "hell hole of the Pacific".

Marsden had already set up Anglican missions in the Bay of Islands at Rangihoua (1814 CE), Kerikeri (1820 CE), and Paihia (1823 CE), and he strongly believed that an inland mission station was needed to bring missionaries in closer contact with Maori tribes (iwi). But a strong reason for locating the mission in Waimate was the distraction to missionaries and Maori of the lawless outpost of Kororareka.

Kororareka means 'The Place of the Sweet Penguins' in Maori language (Te Reo). It was anything but in the early 1800s CE. Kororareka (now called Russell) was the biggest whaling station in the southern hemisphere and ships, sealers, sailors, and merchants would visit to "refit and refresh". Drunkenness and prostitution were the town's main attractions. Observers referred to Kororareka as the “hell hole of the Pacific” or “Gomorrah, the scourge of the Pacific”.

Marsden was troubled by what he saw and decided that twelve miles inland from Kororareka was a safe enough distance away from the mischievous ways of sailors and the temptation of alcohol. Missionaries had visited the Waimate area for many years prior to 1830 CE. Marsden had also held talks with the Maori chief (rangatira), Hongi Hika (1772-1828 CE), in 1823 CE about the possibility of establishing a farm in the area.

What the missionaries found were abundant fields of maize, sweet potatoes (kumara) brought to New Zealand from the Pacific Islands by early Maori settlers, and native tree ferns the height of which prevented Marsden and his missionaries from getting a clear view to survey potential land sites. Marsden most likely selected the area because of the volcanic clay loam soil, and he felt it would be fertile land for agriculture because he was also a farmer of some note.

The Church Missionary Society selected the Reverend William Yate (1802-1877 CE) to be the resident clergyman of the mission, along with lay missionaries George Clarke (1823-1913 CE), Richard Davis (1790-1863 CE), and James Hamlin (1803-1865 CE). Men who took up missionary work often came from interesting and varied backgrounds; Yate was a scholar, Clarke was a gunsmith, while Davis had been a successful tenant farmer in Dorsetshire, England, and Hamlin a weaver by trade.

Yate signed the deed of purchase for 735 acres (297 hectares) in September 1830 CE following negotiations with the Ngapuhi tribe (Ngāpuhi iwi) and walking over the region for many months to find the right parcel of land. The missionaries also needed to respect the land where Maori laid their dead before permanent burial (wahi tapu).

Yate left in disgrace having been accused of improper relations with an officer on board the Prince Regent, which brought him from England. On hearing the news, Marsden sent Yate back to England, where the Church Missionary Society promptly dismissed him. His colleagues in New Zealand burnt his belongings and shot his horse.

Despite this fall from grace, work started on the permanent homes for the missionaries and the model farm, with George Clarke taking a leading role.

The Mission Houses

Three houses of similar design were originally constructed but the only one remaining on the site is Clarke's house, which was built in 1832 CE. The house is the second oldest building in New Zealand and displays remarkable craftsmanship. The visitor can wander through the 187-year-old house and stroll around the lush subtropical gardens filled with monkey puzzle trees and Norfolk Island pines.

The two-storeyed Georgian style (1714-1830 CE) architectural design was adapted to suit the climate of the Bay of Islands, which can be humid with heavy rainfall. Wide verandahs, low-pitched hipped roofs, and three small dormer windows give the house its graceful appearance.

Clarke was most likely the designer of the homes, having seen similar styles in Sydney, Australia, and he also supervised the construction and trained Maori in carpentry work. The interior was simple but practical. On the ground floor, there are main rooms either side of a central entrance hall. There are smaller rooms at the back including a skillion – a lean-to or shed attached to the house and sometimes used for cooking or additional accommodation. Upstairs, the visitor will find a small corridor from which three bedrooms branch off. Clarke's home also had a cellar. There was no internal bathroom or plumbing, and missionary wives fetched water from wells and washed clothes outside. The kitchen was a large open fireplace that can still be seen today.

The missionaries, assisted by Maori labour, moulded and baked 50,000 clay bricks and felled 700,000 ft (213 m) of timber from local forests for planks, boards, and furniture.

The houses took 14 months to build and one of the missionaries described a typical day beyond the construction:

Mixing medicine, visiting the sick, scolding the idle, rousing the hippish, and remonstrating with the obstinate, have taken up the whole of my day; indeed, it is no small portion of my time which is thus employed. Examined a few candidates for Baptism in the evening. (Standish, 18)

The Model Farm

Because the Waimate district was densely populated by Maori, the missionaries considered it an ideal opportunity to set up a model farm and teach English agricultural methods. Marsden was convinced that if modern farming practice and English crops were introduced, war between tribes (iwi) would cease and Christianity and useful training in the skills of weaving, smithing (metalwork), and carpentry would follow.

Maori practised shifting cultivation, which meant that land was cleared by burning, crops were then planted and the site was abandoned a few years later as Maori moved on. The missionaries chose not to follow the Maori practice of using ash from the burning of trees and scrub as fertiliser. Instead, the missionaries cleared the tangled bush by hand with bean or weed hooks, hoes, ploughshares, and harrows. By 1835 CE, 35 acres (14 hectares) had been prepared and planted with wheat.

Wheat was an essential crop because flour had to be imported from New South Wales, Australia at considerable cost to the mission. Sickles were used to harvest the wheat, and threshing was done by the flail (an ancient manual tool with a long wooden handle and a shorter free-swinging stick that separates the grains from the husk).

Caterpillars, rats, and mice caused the loss of stored grain and the climate often proved too wet for the successful growth of wheat. But by December 1834 CE, the mission had constructed the first water-powered mill to be built in New Zealand. By 1837 CE, 30,520 pounds (approximately 14,000 kg) of flour had been produced for both the mission and Maori.

Vegetable gardens were laid out and schools were built. In the orchard, pears, rhubarb, figs, peaches, plums, quinces, gooseberries, apricots, and apples were planted. Most seeds were imported from England, and it is probably in these seeds that the troublesome Scottish Thistle was introduced into New Zealand. Sheep were run and dairy cattle grazed. The cattle caused some tension with Maori as they disturbed sacred (tapu) land.

In 1835 CE, 26-year-old Charles Darwin (1809-1882 CE) spent nine days in the Bay of Islands after arriving on the HMS Beagle, which had been circumnavigating the globe since December 1831 CE. Darwin had collected fossils and scientific specimens on his trips ashore and kept a diary full of observations and drawings that ultimately led to his theory of natural selection. The Beagle anchored off Kororareka flanked by its many liquor shops and brothels. Darwin wrote in his diary: “This little village is the stronghold of vice."

Thankfully, he was invited to spend Christmas at the mission, and he made the journey by foot and boat, guided by a Maori chief (rangatira). Darwin went by canoe (waka) as far as Haruru Falls before he had to follow tracks through dense bush.

He admired the mission where he enjoyed cups of tea and cricket on the lawn, recording his thoughts in his diary on December 23, 1835 CE:

At length we reached Waimate; after having passed over so many miles of an uninhabited useless country, the sudden appearance of an English farm house & its well dressed fields, placed there as if by an enchanter's wand, was exceedingly pleasing.

In the same diary entry, Darwin referred to seeing an English oak tree, which was near the mission station. It had started its life as an acorn brought by ship from England in 1824 CE by Richard Davis and was planted at Waimate around 1830 CE. Sadly, this majestic oak was knocked down by a strong wind in 2018 CE.

Te Waimate Mission seemed to be the one bright spot in Darwin's short visit to New Zealand for on December 27, 1835 CE Darwin wrote: "I am disappointed in New Zealand, both in the country & in its inhabitants. After the Tahitians, the natives appear savages."

Darwin's diaries, manuscripts, and private papers are available online and make for fascinating reading. Should you visit Te Waimate mission, you will walk in the footsteps of Darwin.

St. John's Church is also a part of the mission and is a stunning example of Gothic Revival (c. 1740s - early 1900s CE) architecture. Charles Darwin would not have seen or visited this church as it was built in 1871 CE as a replacement for the 1839 CE chapel. But the original stone font still stands.

The Decline of Te Waimate Mission

George Clarke joined the new colonial government as Chief Protector of Aborigines, and his house was left empty until 1842 CE when Bishop Selwyn (1809-1878 CE) arrived and rented the mission to train Maori candidates for ordination.

The mission suffered a blow in 1840 CE with the death of a little Maori girl who attended the infants' school. She had been living at Clarke's house and Hōne Heke (c. 1807/1808 – 1850 CE), an influential Maori chief (rangatira) and war leader, arrived with a party of Maori to confront Clarke who was away from the mission at that time. Hōne Heke left, taking mission Maori with him, and persuaded them to have nothing further to do with Clarke and the missionaries.

The story of the mission then becomes one of deteriorating Maori-European relations. The Bay of Islands lost its trading predominance to Auckland and this affected Maori economically. Many Maori also could not understand what was meant by New Zealand's cession to Great Britain.

Hōne Heke led aggrieved Maori down the path of escalating clashes that culminated in the Northern Wars of 1844-1846 CE. The neutrality of the mission was compromised when large reinforcements of troops arrived and used the mission as British headquarters for several months. Casualties from the fierce Battle of Ohaeawai (1845 CE) were buried in the graveyard of St. John's church. Hōne Heke was defeated in 1846 CE.

Te Waimate mission never really recovered. The Maori population declined in the Bay of Islands from an estimated 8,000 in 1843 CE to around 2,500 in 1878 CE. Gum-digging and land selling were more profitable exploits. Although the mission school managed to attract 60 pupils in 1846 CE, a bout of whooping cough and dysentery caused the death of six children.

The Church Missionary Society leased or sold land surrounding the mission until only a few acres around Clarke's house were left. Over the years, shingles and weatherboards have been replaced but the Te Waimate Mission house is largely as George Clarke and Maori builders constructed it, complete with period furniture.

How to Get There

The Bay of Islands is a three-hour drive north of Auckland (North Island) and the nearest large town is Kerikeri. If you drive from Auckland, it is a further 20 minutes from Kerikeri to Te Waimate Mission.

You can also fly into Kerikeri airport and hire a car or take a private tour around the Bay of Islands that will include the mission. The entry fee to the house and gardens is NZD 10.00 (approximately USD 6.50), and summer and winter opening hours are available on the mission's website.

If you visit the sun-soaked Bay of Islands, make sure to stop off at the Makana Chocolate Boutique in Kerikeri and then pop into their chocolate factory next door. This will be sure to give you enough energy to spend hours at the mission exploring the house and gardens - treading the path that Charles Darwin once walked.

William Williams (bishop)

William Williams (18 July 1800 – 9 February 1878) was consecrated as the first Anglican Bishop of Waiapu, New Zealand, on 3 April 1859 by the General Synod at Wellington. [1] His son, Leonard Williams became the third Bishop of Waiapu and his grandson, Herbert Williams, the sixth. His brother, the Rev. Henry Williams, led the Church Missionary Society (CMS) mission in New Zealand. William Williams led the CMS missionaries in translating the Bible into Māori and published an early dictionary and grammar of the Māori language.

On the Old Mission Route

A map on a barrel outside the Stone Store piqued my interest. “Travel the old trade route,” it said, showing the locations of early Christian mission properties dotted across the countryside from the Bay of Islands to the Hokianga Harbour.

Being Northlanders, we’ve visited these places over the years but we decided it was high time to revisit and see what was new. I picked up the Historic Northland brochure and we began our tour. The reference to trade is evident at the Stone Store it was built as a storehouse and opened for business in 1836.

Nowadays, the ground floor of the building is a combination of museum and shop. The storekeepers are dressed in period costume, and the items for sale are authentic trade goods, like those sold here a hundred or more years ago. There are agricultural tools, ladles, bolts of cloth, barrels, jute sacks and much more.

In the adjacent room are quaint reproduction posters, toys, games, books – everything with a Victorian or retro vibe. It’s the sort of place in which you could spend hours browsing. The Stone Store’s two upper floors are the museum proper. We are members of Heritage New Zealand so were waved through.

After removing our shoes to help preserve the wooden flooring, we went up windy stairs to the second floor. There is a reference library here, with files of information on the early missionary families and their lives – a historian and genealogist’s delight.

Then, after peering down through the glassed-over trapdoor to the store below, we perused information panels outlining the history of the Stone Store, Kemp House, the missionaries who lived there and the Māori chiefs who watched over them.

A snapshot of settler life

The Stone Store is the country’s oldest surviving stone building and adjacent Kemp House is the oldest European wooden building. The two buildings are all that remains of the Church Missionary Society’s mission to New Zealand, founded in 1819. Kemp House was built in 1821.

Ten years later, the Kemp family moved in, and they stayed on after the mission closed in 1848. Amazingly, Kemp descendants continued to live in the house until 1974, when the house and contents were presented to New Zealand Historic Places Trust, now Heritage New Zealand.

The interior of Kemp House is little changed from its original state. The locally milled wide Kauri boards are painted the floors have rugs and mats. The last Kemps to live in the house were elderly spinsters who kept things as they were in their grandparents’ day.

It is easy to picture the missionary families going about their daily lives – what is harder to imagine are the hundreds, and on occasion thousands, of troops preparing for war right outside the front door. Since the Kerikeri Basin was bypassed in 2008, the area has become a haven.

Moored yachts are reflected in the water children feed ducks while their parents enjoy a drink or meal in one of the cafés. Besides the aptly-named Pear Tree restaurant is New Zealand’s oldest remaining pear tree, planted 200 years ago and still thriving. Behind the café is a track to Kororipo Pā, once Hongi Hika’s stronghold, now an empty hillside, topped by palisades and information panels.

A French-style tannery and printery

Next on our itinerary was Russell, a ferry ride from Opua. Back in the early 1800s, Māori and settlers, whalers, sealers and missionaries were all mingling in the Bay of Islands. Māori were keen to trade with the Europeans and to sample their new technologies and foodstuffs (although many just wanted muskets).

Russell was so rough and rowdy it became known as the ‘hell-hole of the Pacific’. Now its quiet streets are home to cafés and shops, its old buildings neatly painted – the little town is more paradise than hell. Russell is also home to the Pompallier Mission, named after Bishop Pompallier who established a Catholic mission station here in 1839.

Over the next decade, the brothers built a residence, dormitory, chapel, cookhouse and the surviving building – now known as the Mission House. In reality, this building was where religious tracts and books were produced. It housed a tannery, currier’s workshop, composition (type-setting), binding and printing rooms.

Unlike the English mission houses, which were Georgian-style wooden buildings, the French built a two-storey, rammed-earth structure. Pompallier House looks like a little piece of France. Surrounded by gardens with heritage fruit trees and flower beds, and facing the beach where waves gently lap and boats bob at anchor, everything was serene when we arrived.

I half expected to see a robed priest flit between the trees. We were just in time for a tour. This turned out to be excellent. Our guide spent 45 minutes explaining how the mission developed and how the Marists produced the books they used to spread their Catholic beliefs. In pits behind the house, hides are processed in urine as they were in days past.

Our guide told us that just one small hide produced a stench she could smell from the gatehouse. Luckily, the skins we saw were further along in the process, being stretched and dried. This leather was for the book covers.

In a downstairs room, known to the guides as the ‘workout room’, the brothers used to treat the leather by putting it on a frame they walked on while using rollers on their arms to further treat other hides.

There was other equipment in this gym-like room, but we were told that one brother got to ‘skive off’. The skive, a sharp tool that cut and smoothed leather, was not as physically demanding to use, though it required a skilled hand.

Upstairs we saw the old printing presses, late 16th- and early 17th-century technology and out of date even when they were brought to New Zealand. We saw how the printers used to ‘coin a phrase’, the quoin being a wedge that held the type in place, then they ‘cut (the paper) to the chase’ before making a ‘first impression’. Many of our everyday expressions and words owe a lot to this printing process.

West to Waimate

On another day we headed west along the old missionary route (New Zealand’s first road) from Kerikeri to Waimate North. Our destination was the mission known as Te Waimate. This was the Church Missionary Society’s model farm, founded in 1830 by Samuel Marsden with the encouragement of local Ngāpuhi, who were keen to learn the benefits of agriculture.

Charles Darwin was an early visitor. He had been unimpressed with vice-ridden Russell and the scrubby ‘useless’ scenery between Paihia and Waimate. Then he got a pleasant surprise – he saw an English-style settlement with tidy fields, fruit trees and all the signs of English civilisation: tea and cricket on the lawn.

Nowadays Waimate North is a sleepy crossroads with almost all the mission buildings gone. The church of St John the Baptist is surrounded by its graveyard where early missionaries and settler families were laid to rest.

There are also graves of British soldiers who died fighting Māori during the Northern Wars. Beside the church is the only remaining house from the mission era, the ‘old vicarage’ built by George Clarke in 1831 (the second-oldest wooden building in New Zealand).

There are spacious rooms inside, though it is hard to imagine where George and Martha’s 13 children found a place to go to bed. In the mission grounds are the sites of other homesteads, schools and cottages, although all that is left now are mounds and hollows.

Historic Hōreke

We continued on our discovery of the old trade route by heading to the Hokianga Harbour. Just past the sleepy settlement of Hōreke, once one of New Zealand’s first shipyards, we came to Mangungu Mission House. This was a Wesleyan venture, established in 1828, with the present house built just before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

After Waitangi, the treaty was taken around the country and, at Mangungu, the most significant signing took place. There were between 2000 and 3000 Māori present that day and 700 chiefs debated and signed the document.

Later, the mission at Mangungu was disbanded, and the house moved to Onehunga in Auckland where it was used as a Methodist manse. In the 1970s, the building was returned to Mangungu and restored by Heritage New Zealand.

Inside the house are relics of missionary days with portraits of the missionaries and their Māori protector, Patuone. The house is on the rise overlooking the Hokianga Harbour and has a historic cemetery where I discovered that many early settlers and visitors sadly died by drowning.

There is a tiny church and also a wonderful (fully wallpapered) long-drop toilet. We were the only visitors on this occasion, although it is interesting to visit on February 12 (as we have done in the past) since this is the date the mission commemorates the treaty signing.

Mangungu, like Te Waimate, Pompallier, the Stone Store and Kemp House are all owned and maintained by Heritage New Zealand. Opening hours vary, but admission is free for Heritage New Zealand members. We found the guided tours at Kemp House and Pompallier Mission fascinating. Following the old trade route gave us the perfect excuse to explore the Bay of Islands and the Hokianga Harbour.

Waimate Mission House

Te Waimate Mission Station is the second oldest building in New Zealand and is also the scene of the second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. It was built in the Georgian style of architecture and is the earliest inland farm in New Zealand. The station was set up to instruct locals in farming techniques and to supply other missions with food.

BOI-T002 | from Adults NZ บ.00 | Children NZ ū.50

You will see

  • An archaeological trail
  • New Zealand's oldest oak tree
  • New Zealand’s second oldest building
  • Spacious grounds - perfect for a picnic plus much more.

New Zealand’s second oldest building, Te Waimate Mission, preserves farming history as well as stories of important early encounters between Māori and Europeans.

The Mission House is very well preserved and is fascinating to visit. In 1835 Te Waimate was visited by Charles Darwin who waxed lyrical over Te Waimate’s “English farm house and its well-dressed fields, placed there as if by an enchanter’s wand”.

Te Waimate’s role in fostering Māori-Pākehā relations is particularly significant. In February 1840, the Mission House hosted the second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document.

Harbours and history: A day in The Hokianga, New Zealand

The Hokianga Harbour, on the west coast of New Zealand’s Northland region, is one of those places people miss out on simply because they don’t know it’s there. It’s very easy to stick to the main highways when heading up north to Cape Reinga (New Zealand’s most northerly accessible point) and bypass this bucolic little slice of New Zealand altogether.

One fine day while Shaun was camping with the boys and tasting beers, I headed up to the Bay of Islands by bus ($15 from Auckland to Paihia, what a bargain!). My parents picked me up and we went on a little tiki tour of the Hokianga Harbour and Waimate North for the day before returning to our holiday home.

Hokianga Harbour, New Zealand

The Hokianga Harbour is a thin harbour that extends about 30 km inland from its mouth on the west coast. Not many people live in the area so there are lots of skinny roads, farms, and tracts of bush. We got predictably lost (the signage isn’t the best when you aren’t taking main roads!) but eventually found our way to Rawene, a little town on the southern shore of the harbour.

Rawene is such a cute little place, and pretty much its only reason for being there is that it’s one end of the vehicle ferry that crosses the harbour. Oh, and the other reason is the fabulous Boatshed Cafe that sits in an old boat shed right over the calm waters of the harbour. The food is so, so good – I had a delicious avocado and pine nut salad for lunch, and Dad really enjoyed his pan fried trevally (a type of fish found in New Zealand). Sitting over the water on the balcony of the boat shed was a great way to spend an hour on a lovely summer’s day!

Boatshed Cafe, Rawene, Hokianga

Avocado and pine nut salad at the Boatshed Cafe

View from the Boatshed Cafe, Rawene

After lunch we perused the art gallery in Rawene and then hopped on the ferry across to Kohukohu, an even smaller town on the northern shore of the harbour. The ferry cost a whopping $20 for the car (it’s about a 10 minute journey), but the only alternative is a 1.5 hour drive! No thanks!

Kohukohu is an artist’s enclave, and we had a peek around the local gallery there too. The town is full of cute old villas that have loads of character. You can drive up the narrow lanes and have a sneaky peek if you’d like to! This gorgeous Masonic Lodge is actually for sale at the moment – it is made of kauri wood (one of New Zealand’s most revered trees, the giants of the forest that were logged to oblivion back in the 1800s) and looks like it has an awesome space inside. Dreams are free!

Masonic Lodge in Kohukohu

Fun fact: New Zealand’s oldest remaining bridge can be found in Kohukohu, if you look hard (it’s quite small and hidden, and you have to walk up a stream bed to find it, but it’s there!).

From Kohukohu we drove around the head of the harbour back to the southern edge, to an even smaller town called Horeke. We tried to have a beer but the pub was closed (it was a Tuesday, I guess!) so we continued on to the Mangungu Mission House.

Missionaries came to New Zealand from England in the 1800s to ‘spread the word’ to the indigenous Maori. Mangungu was a Wesleyan mission and the largest signing of the Treaty of Waitangi was held here in 1840, with over 70 Maori chiefs signing the document there (the Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document between Maori and the British Crown).

The Mission House offers a stunning view over the Hokianga Harbour. It wouldn’t have been a bad place to live back in the 1800s!

View from Mangungu Mission House

Next, to continue our New Zealand history lesson, we headed back to Paihia via the Te Waimate Mission House. The Waimate North area was one of the earliest centres of European settlement in New Zealand, and the site of another mission house. Coincidentally, my great-great-great-great-grandparents (that’s a lot of greats!) were the missionaries that built and occupied this house for a number of years back in the 1800s. My 4x great-grandfather George Clarke actually signed the Treaty of Waitangi!

Fun fact: Charles Darwin spent Christmas at the Te Waimate Mission House while on his worldwide expedition on the HMS Beagle!

The Te Waimate Mission was the first inland mission (the others before it, like Mangungu, were by the coast or on harbours). This mission was New Zealand’s first model farm, aimed at showing Maori how to use European techniques of farming and agriculture. New Zealand’s first oak tree was planted here, and New Zealand’s first road was built from Te Waimate to Kerikeri. It’s a very historically significant place in terms of Europeans in New Zealand, and it’s even more special for me considering the family connection.

George and Martha Clarke’s gravestone at Te Waimate

Our day concluded with the drive back to our holiday home in the eastern Bay of Islands. What a day! We drove over 250 km and saw some interesting places that we’d never been to before, despite having our place in the area for my whole lifetime. It was fun to trip around with my parents for the day, something that I don’t do often!


"The Battle of the Hydaspes" V isual Verse Vol. 03 Chapter 11, September 2016.

"The Glove Maker" Visual Verse Vol. 04, Chapter 1, November 2016.

"Cartographia" Visual Verse Vol 4 Chapter 10, 2017.

"The Final Voyage" The Copperfield Review , Volume 16 Number 1 Spring 2017

"Of this Land." 'a fine line', NZ Poetry Society August 2017

"Lady of Margate Furtive Dalliance Issue #2, Summer 2018

"There is a Light" Furtive Dalliance Issue #2, Summer 2018

"Anniversary" Furtive Dalliance Issue #2, Summer 2018

"Caught" Furtive Dalliance Issue #2, Summer 2018

"Maybe Today " The Drabble December 28 2018

"Russian Jack" The Copperfield Review June 18, 2019

"Birds with Stone Hearts" NZ Poetry Society "A Fine Line" Autumn 2020.

Haiku in Echidna Tracks Issue 5 2020 August 27, 2020

"Lost in Iceland" Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. Issue #45 January 2021.

Kerikeri and Waimate Missions Group Tour

This group tour focuses on the history of the Mission Stations located at Kerikeri and Waimate, two of the most important historic buildings in New Zealand. With plenty of stops throughout the day you will see why the Bay of Islands is is such a popular holiday destination.

BOI-G11 | 6 hrs

You will see

  • Great scenery
  • Kemp House and Stone Store
  • Paihia - Kerikeri - Kawakawa
  • The famous toilet block at Kawakawa
  • The Haruru Falls
  • Waimate Mission Station

From Cruise Port: Bay of Islands

Our tour starts at the Waitangi Wharf where the cruise ships tenders bring you to shore. Our first stop is at the Haruru Falls, a breathtaking waterfall, its name meaning "big noise". Back in the 1800's, more than 100 Maori villages lined the banks of the Haruru River and Maori legend says that a taniwha [water monster] lives in the lagoon below the Falls.

Next to the town ship of Kerikeri which has a rich and colourful history. Here we stop to see the "The Stone Store" New Zealand's oldest stone building and also the adjacent "Kemp House", once a Mission Station, we will take a guided tour through this wooden building, New Zealand's oldest building still standing.

Kerikeri is also known for its successful horticulture, niche food products, fabulous chocolates, boutique vineyards, art galleries and crafts and we will visit Makana Chocolates to taste their amazing treats.

Heading inland through farmland and forests, our next stop is the very significant historic "Te Waimate Mission House" , built in 1832, it is the only survivor of three mission houses founded in 1830 by the Church Missionary Society. Time to enjoy the beauty of the Mission house, a simple Georgian building which was the Church Missionary Society's first farm and the forerunner of modern agriculture in New Zealand. It is also where Charles Darwin spent Christmas in 1835 on his visit to New Zealand.

Leaving the mission station we head to Kawakawa, its main street is unusual in that the railway runs down the middle of the road. It is also location to the now world famous "Hundertwasser Toilets" one of the few public toilets seen as an international work of art. Designed by the expatriate Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser who lived in Kawakawa from 1975 until his death in 2000.

We then return along the coastline to Paihia where you can leave the tour to do some sightseeing [the ships shuttle buses can return you to the wharf at Waitangi] or stay on board the coach to end the tour at Waitangi, the ships usual tender point.

From Cruise Port: Bay of Islands

  • Air conditioned transport
  • Full commentary throughout
  • Guided tour of Waimate Mission House
  • Guided tour through Kemp House.
  • Visit to the Makana Chocolate factory for tastings
  • Any meals, but these can be arranged if needed.
  • The tour starts and ends at the Waitangi Wharf. The tour time can be adjusted to suit the ships arrival and departure.

Please contact us for a quotation for your group

Is there much walking involved in this tour?

The tour program does not involve any significant walking as the coach can park close to each destination. There are a few steps involved at some locations but no significant flights of steps.

What happens if we are unable to get to the meeting point in time?

As this port is one where passengers are taken ashore by the ships tenders, it is important for your tour leader on board to reserve a suitable time for your transfer to shore. If you are delayed we will off course wait for you but it may mean we have to cut part of the program short to be back at the ship in time.

Lunch is not included in the tour plan?

No, as the lunch venue we could use depends on the number of persons in the group, we will quote a tour with an included lunch venue on demand.

There are no prices given for this tour, why?

We do not include prices as the overall cost will depend on the number of persons in the group, so please contact us for a quotation to suit your group number. We can then also include lunch if needed.

Page 3. First years of the CMS mission

From the start there were many disagreements between the early Church Missionary Society (CMS) missionaries. Thomas Kendall set up a school, produced the first examples of written Māori and published the first Māori dictionary. However his skills were lost to the mission after he was suspended for adultery in 1822. More missionaries arrived, including the Reverend John Butler, who was briefly superintendent of the mission. Marsden suspended him in 1823 after accusing him of drunkenness.

A new mission station was opened at Kerikeri in 1819 under the sponsorship of Hongi Hika, who demanded guns in return. The missionaries depended for food and shelter on trading with their Māori hosts, and when Māori insisted on being paid in muskets, the missionaries supplied them. This trade contributed to the musket wars of the early 1820s.

Henry Williams

In 1823 the Reverend Henry Williams, a retired naval captain, arrived to lead the mission. He encouraged the missionaries to become fluent in Māori, and to teach Māori to read and write in their own language. In 1826 Henry’s brother William arrived, and he greatly advanced Thomas Kendall’s work in developing a written form of the Māori language. Williams’s wife Jane, and other missionary wives, helped to create a more stable community with neat cottages, schools and medical care.

Enchanter’s wand

Charles Darwin, the future author of the theory of evolution, visited the missionary settlement at Waimate in 1835. He saw ‘large gardens, with every fruit and vegetable which England produces … Around the farm-yard there were stables, a threshing-barn with its winnowing machine, a blacksmith’s forge, and on the ground ploughshares and other tools … native workmanship, taught by the missionaries, has effected this change the lesson of the missionaries is the enchanter’s wand. The house has been built, the windows framed, the fields ploughed, and even the trees grafted, by a New Zealander [a Māori].’ 1

The first inland mission station at Waimate, established in 1830, included a productive farm, so the missionaries were no longer totally dependent on Māori for food. The launching of a mission schooner enabled them to travel beyond the Bay of Islands.

As a result of the musket wars, tribes living near the mission station brought back thousands of captives and slaves from other areas. William Williams says it was these ‘persons of little note’ 2 who became some of the first Christian converts.

Political influence

As the missionaries’ reputations grew, some became trusted go-betweens for Māori in their dealings with the New South Wales government, traders and the law. Henry Williams gained support among many Māori by opposing the activities of grog-sellers, gun-runners and other irreligious Europeans in the Bay of Islands. The CMS deliberately set up a mission at Paihia, directly opposite the notoriously lawless settlement of Kororāreka (later Russell), to contrast Christianity with the decadent forms of European life.

Henry Williams was accused of unfairly manipulating Māori by buying large areas of their land. He defended his actions as trying to provide for his large family. He has also been criticised for persuading Māori to sign the Treaty of Waitangi – although he probably did this out of a sense of responsibility towards them.

Historically interesting

We visited the Waimate Mission to see what is the second oldest building on NZ and where the Waitangi Treaty was signed by a second Maori group. The building has been well preserved and is surrounded by very peasant gardens. Nearby is the mission church built in the early 19th century. Well worth the visit if you are in the Northland region.

The family wouldn't have missed this visit inside the well furnished period 1835 mission house. The neighbouring Church next door with its beautiful organ and stained glass windows is very impressive. leave a donation for both places to show appreciation. Spread the word so others visit. Close to Paihia.

A lovely historic building in the Georgian style. Much original furniture. Well presented by Heritage NZ and its staff.
Heritage NZ has excellent shops with quirky stock selected and sold by HNZ whose buyer has stock all the shops with a mix to match the property.
The asdjacent church and graveyard is worth a visit to.

Just walking around the grounds you can imagine the feelings of these first missionaries. Far from home, unrest brewing among some of the Maori tribes, an uncertain future in what must have been a strange but promising land. Many mixed feelings. Now, the trees they planted are old and stately and the people themselves are just a memory. Mind you, they didn't live badly. Lots of 19th century mod-cons, but still I'd guess a pretty isolated life.


Early life and education

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on 12 February 1809, at his family's home, The Mount. [24] [25] He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). His grandfathers Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood were both prominent abolitionists. Erasmus Darwin had praised general concepts of evolution and common descent in his Zoonomia (1794), a poetic fantasy of gradual creation including undeveloped ideas anticipating concepts his grandson expanded. [26]

Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwoods were adopting Anglicanism. Robert Darwin, himself quietly a freethinker, had baby Charles baptised in November 1809 in the Anglican St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, but Charles and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. The eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. That July, his mother died. From September 1818, he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder. [27]

Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School (at the time the best medical school in the UK) with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. Darwin found lectures dull and surgery distressing, so he neglected his studies. He learned taxidermy in around 40 daily hour-long sessions from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave who had accompanied Charles Waterton in the South American rainforest. [28]

In Darwin's second year at the university, he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural-history group featuring lively debates in which radical democratic students with materialistic views challenged orthodox religious concepts of science. [29] He assisted Robert Edmond Grant's investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech. One day, Grant praised Lamarck's evolutionary ideas. Darwin was astonished by Grant's audacity, but had recently read similar ideas in his grandfather Erasmus' journals. [30] Darwin was rather bored by Robert Jameson's natural-history course, which covered geology—including the debate between Neptunism and Plutonism. He learned the classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum, one of the largest museums in Europe at the time. [31]

Darwin's neglect of medical studies annoyed his father, who shrewdly sent him to Christ's College, Cambridge, to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican country parson. As Darwin was unqualified for the Tripos, he joined the ordinary degree course in January 1828. [32] He preferred riding and shooting to studying. During the first few months of Darwin's enrollment, his second cousin William Darwin Fox was also studying at Christ's College. Fox impressed him with his butterfly collection, introducing Darwin to entomology and influencing him to pursue beetle collecting. [33] [34] He did this zealously, and had some of his finds published in James Francis Stephens' Illustrations of British entomology (1829–32). [34] [35] Also through Fox, Darwin became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow. [33] He met other leading parson-naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology, becoming known to these dons as "the man who walks with Henslow". When his own exams drew near, Darwin applied himself to his studies and was delighted by the language and logic of William Paley's Evidences of Christianity [36] (1794). In his final examination in January 1831 Darwin did well, coming tenth out of 178 candidates for the ordinary degree. [37]

Darwin had to stay at Cambridge until June 1831. He studied Paley's Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (first published in 1802), which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature. [38] He read John Herschel's new book, Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831), which described the highest aim of natural philosophy as understanding such laws through inductive reasoning based on observation, and Alexander von Humboldt's Personal Narrative of scientific travels in 1799–1804. Inspired with "a burning zeal" to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick's geology course, then on 4 August travelled with him to spend a fortnight mapping strata in Wales. [39] [40]

Survey voyage on HMS Beagle

After leaving Sedgwick in Wales, Darwin spent a week with student friends at Barmouth, then returned home on 29 August to find a letter from Henslow proposing him as a suitable (if unfinished) naturalist for a self-funded supernumerary place on HMS Beagle with captain Robert FitzRoy, emphasising that this was a position for a gentleman rather than "a mere collector". The ship was to leave in four weeks on an expedition to chart the coastline of South America. [41] Robert Darwin objected to his son's planned two-year voyage, regarding it as a waste of time, but was persuaded by his brother-in-law, Josiah Wedgwood II, to agree to (and fund) his son's participation. [42] Darwin took care to remain in a private capacity to retain control over his collection, intending it for a major scientific institution. [43]

After delays, the voyage began on 27 December 1831 it lasted almost five years. As FitzRoy had intended, Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while HMS Beagle surveyed and charted coasts. [13] [44] He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. [45] He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates, but in all other areas was a novice and ably collected specimens for expert appraisal. [46] Despite suffering badly from seasickness, Darwin wrote copious notes while on board the ship. Most of his zoology notes are about marine invertebrates, starting with plankton collected in a calm spell. [44] [47]

On their first stop ashore at St Jago in Cape Verde, Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs included seashells. FitzRoy had given him the first volume of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which set out uniformitarian concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods, [II] and Darwin saw things Lyell's way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology. [48] When they reached Brazil, Darwin was delighted by the tropical forest, [49] but detested the sight of slavery, and disputed this issue with Fitzroy. [50]

The survey continued to the south in Patagonia. They stopped at Bahía Blanca, and in cliffs near Punta Alta Darwin made a major find of fossil bones of huge extinct mammals beside modern seashells, indicating recent extinction with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe. He identified the little-known Megatherium by a tooth and its association with bony armour, which had at first seemed to him to be like a giant version of the armour on local armadillos. The finds brought great interest when they reached England. [51] [52]

On rides with gauchos into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils, Darwin gained social, political and anthropological insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. [53] [54] Further south, he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as raised beaches showing a series of elevations. He read Lyell's second volume and accepted its view of "centres of creation" of species, but his discoveries and theorising challenged Lyell's ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species. [55] [56]

Three Fuegians on board had been seized during the first Beagle voyage, then during a year in England were educated as missionaries. Darwin found them friendly and civilised, yet at Tierra del Fuego he met "miserable, degraded savages", as different as wild from domesticated animals. [57] He remained convinced that, despite this diversity, all humans were interrelated with a shared origin and potential for improvement towards civilisation. Unlike his scientist friends, he now thought there was no unbridgeable gap between humans and animals. [58] A year on, the mission had been abandoned. The Fuegian they had named Jemmy Button lived like the other natives, had a wife, and had no wish to return to England. [59]

Darwin experienced an earthquake in Chile in 1835 and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the Andes he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose, oceanic islands sank, and coral reefs round them grew to form atolls. [60] [61]

On the geologically new Galápagos Islands, Darwin looked for evidence attaching wildlife to an older "centre of creation", and found mockingbirds allied to those in Chile but differing from island to island. He heard that slight variations in the shape of tortoise shells showed which island they came from, but failed to collect them, even after eating tortoises taken on board as food. [62] [63] In Australia, the marsupial rat-kangaroo and the platypus seemed so unusual that Darwin thought it was almost as though two distinct Creators had been at work. [64] He found the Aborigines "good-humoured & pleasant", and noted their depletion by European settlement. [65]

FitzRoy investigated how the atolls of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had formed, and the survey supported Darwin's theorising. [61] FitzRoy began writing the official Narrative of the Beagle voyages, and after reading Darwin's diary he proposed incorporating it into the account. [66] Darwin's Journal was eventually rewritten as a separate third volume, on natural history. [67]

In Cape Town, South Africa, Darwin and FitzRoy met John Herschel, who had recently written to Lyell praising his uniformitarianism as opening bold speculation on "that mystery of mysteries, the replacement of extinct species by others" as "a natural in contradistinction to a miraculous process". [68] When organising his notes as the ship sailed home, Darwin wrote that, if his growing suspicions about the mockingbirds, the tortoises and the Falkland Islands fox were correct, "such facts undermine the stability of Species", then cautiously added "would" before "undermine". [69] He later wrote that such facts "seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species". [70]

Inception of Darwin's evolutionary theory

By the time Darwin returned to England, he was already a celebrity in scientific circles as in December 1835 Henslow had fostered his former pupil's reputation by publishing a pamphlet of Darwin's geological letters for select naturalists. [71] On 2 October 1836 the ship anchored at Falmouth, Cornwall. Darwin promptly made the long coach journey to Shrewsbury to visit his home and see relatives. He then hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised him on finding available naturalists to catalogue Darwin's animal collections and to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin's father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking experts to describe the collections. British zoologists at the time had a huge backlog of work, due to natural history collecting being encouraged throughout the British Empire, and there was a danger of specimens just being left in storage. [72]

Charles Lyell eagerly met Darwin for the first time on 29 October and soon introduced him to the up-and-coming anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen's surprising results included other gigantic extinct ground sloths as well as the Megatherium, a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium and a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were actually from Glyptodon, a huge armadillo-like creature, as Darwin had initially thought. [73] [52] These extinct creatures were related to living species in South America. [74]

In mid-December, Darwin took lodgings in Cambridge to organise work on his collections and rewrite his Journal. [75] He wrote his first paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and with Lyell's enthusiastic backing read it to the Geological Society of London on 4 January 1837. On the same day, he presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, "gros-beaks" and finches, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches. On 17 February, Darwin was elected to the Council of the Geological Society, and Lyell's presidential address presented Owen's findings on Darwin's fossils, stressing geographical continuity of species as supporting his uniformitarian ideas. [76]

Early in March, Darwin moved to London to be near this work, joining Lyell's social circle of scientists and experts such as Charles Babbage, [77] who described God as a programmer of laws. Darwin stayed with his freethinking brother Erasmus, part of this Whig circle and a close friend of the writer Harriet Martineau, who promoted the Malthusianism that underpinned the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. As a Unitarian, she welcomed the radical implications of transmutation of species, promoted by Grant and younger surgeons influenced by Geoffroy. Transmutation was anathema to Anglicans defending social order, [78] but reputable scientists openly discussed the subject and there was wide interest in John Herschel's letter praising Lyell's approach as a way to find a natural cause of the origin of new species. [68]

Gould met Darwin and told him that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and what Darwin had thought was a "wren" was also in the finch group. Darwin had not labelled the finches by island, but from the notes of others on the ship, including FitzRoy, he allocated species to islands. [79] The two rheas were also distinct species, and on 14 March Darwin announced how their distribution changed going southwards. [80]

By mid-March 1837, barely six months after his return to England, Darwin was speculating in his Red Notebook on the possibility that "one species does change into another" to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as the strange extinct mammal Macrauchenia, which resembled a giant guanaco, a llama relative. Around mid-July, he recorded in his "B" notebook his thoughts on lifespan and variation across generations—explaining the variations he had observed in Galápagos tortoises, mockingbirds, and rheas. He sketched branching descent, and then a genealogical branching of a single evolutionary tree, in which "It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another", thereby discarding Lamarck's idea of independent lineages progressing to higher forms. [81]

Overwork, illness, and marriage

While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow's help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, a sum equivalent to about £92,000 in 2019. [82] He stretched the funding to include his planned books on geology, and agreed to unrealistic dates with the publisher. [83] As the Victorian era began, Darwin pressed on with writing his Journal, and in August 1837 began correcting printer's proofs. [84]

As Darwin worked under pressure, his health suffered. On 20 September he had "an uncomfortable palpitation of the heart", so his doctors urged him to "knock off all work" and live in the country for a few weeks. After visiting Shrewsbury he joined his Wedgwood relatives at Maer Hall, Staffordshire, but found them too eager for tales of his travels to give him much rest. His charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin Emma Wedgwood, nine months older than Darwin, was nursing his invalid aunt. His uncle Josiah pointed out an area of ground where cinders had disappeared under loam and suggested that this might have been the work of earthworms, inspiring "a new & important theory" on their role in soil formation, which Darwin presented at the Geological Society on 1 November 1837. [85]

William Whewell pushed Darwin to take on the duties of Secretary of the Geological Society. After initially declining the work, he accepted the post in March 1838. [86] Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation, taking every opportunity to question expert naturalists and, unconventionally, people with practical experience in selective breeding such as farmers and pigeon fanciers. [13] [87] Over time, his research drew on information from his relatives and children, the family butler, neighbours, colonists and former shipmates. [88] He included mankind in his speculations from the outset, and on seeing an orangutan in the zoo on 28 March 1838 noted its childlike behaviour. [89]

The strain took a toll, and by June he was being laid up for days on end with stomach problems, headaches and heart symptoms. For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress, such as attending meetings or making social visits. The cause of Darwin's illness remained unknown, and attempts at treatment had only ephemeral success. [90]

On 23 June, he took a break and went "geologising" in Scotland. He visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel "roads" cut into the hillsides at three heights. He later published his view that these were marine raised beaches, but then had to accept that they were shorelines of a proglacial lake. [91]

Fully recuperated, he returned to Shrewsbury in July. Used to jotting down daily notes on animal breeding, he scrawled rambling thoughts about marriage, career and prospects on two scraps of paper, one with columns headed "Marry" and "Not Marry". Advantages under "Marry" included "constant companion and a friend in old age . better than a dog anyhow", against points such as "less money for books" and "terrible loss of time". [92] Having decided in favour of marriage, he discussed it with his father, then went to visit his cousin Emma on 29 July. He did not get around to proposing, but against his father's advice he mentioned his ideas on transmutation. [93]

Malthus and natural selection

Continuing his research in London, Darwin's wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population, and on 28 September 1838 he noted its assertion that human "population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio", a geometric progression so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. Darwin was well prepared to compare this to Augustin de Candolle's "warring of the species" of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. As species always breed beyond available resources, favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, while unfavourable variations would be lost. He wrote that the "final cause of all this wedging, must be to sort out proper structure, & adapt it to changes", so that "One may say there is a force like a hundred thousand wedges trying force into every kind of adapted structure into the gaps of in the economy of nature, or rather forming gaps by thrusting out weaker ones." [13] [94] This would result in the formation of new species. [13] [95] As he later wrote in his Autobiography:

In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work. [96]

By mid-December, Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian Nature selecting from chance variants so that "every part of newly acquired structure is fully practical and perfected", [97] thinking this comparison "a beautiful part of my theory". [98] He later called his theory natural selection, an analogy with what he termed the "artificial selection" of selective breeding. [13]

On 11 November, he returned to Maer and proposed to Emma, once more telling her his ideas. She accepted, then in exchanges of loving letters she showed how she valued his openness in sharing their differences, also expressing her strong Unitarian beliefs and concerns that his honest doubts might separate them in the afterlife. [99] While he was house-hunting in London, bouts of illness continued and Emma wrote urging him to get some rest, almost prophetically remarking "So don't be ill any more my dear Charley till I can be with you to nurse you." He found what they called "Macaw Cottage" (because of its gaudy interiors) in Gower Street, then moved his "museum" in over Christmas. On 24 January 1839, Darwin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). [2] [100]

On 29 January, Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in an Anglican ceremony arranged to suit the Unitarians, then immediately caught the train to London and their new home. [101]

Geology books, barnacles, evolutionary research

Darwin now had the framework of his theory of natural selection "by which to work", [96] as his "prime hobby". [102] His research included extensive experimental selective breeding of plants and animals, finding evidence that species were not fixed and investigating many detailed ideas to refine and substantiate his theory. [13] For fifteen years this work was in the background to his main occupation of writing on geology and publishing expert reports on the Beagle collections, and in particular, the barnacles. [103]

When FitzRoy's Narrative was published in May 1839, Darwin's Journal and Remarks was such a success as the third volume that later that year it was published on its own. [104] Early in 1842, Darwin wrote about his ideas to Charles Lyell, who noted that his ally "denies seeing a beginning to each crop of species". [105]

Darwin's book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs on his theory of atoll formation was published in May 1842 after more than three years of work, and he then wrote his first "pencil sketch" of his theory of natural selection. [106] To escape the pressures of London, the family moved to rural Down House in September. [107] On 11 January 1844, Darwin mentioned his theorising to the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, writing with melodramatic humour "it is like confessing a murder". [108] [109] Hooker replied "There may in my opinion have been a series of productions on different spots, & also a gradual change of species. I shall be delighted to hear how you think that this change may have taken place, as no presently conceived opinions satisfy me on the subject." [110]

By July, Darwin had expanded his "sketch" into a 230-page "Essay", to be expanded with his research results if he died prematurely. [112] In November, the anonymously published sensational best-seller Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation brought wide interest in transmutation. Darwin scorned its amateurish geology and zoology, but carefully reviewed his own arguments. Controversy erupted, and it continued to sell well despite contemptuous dismissal by scientists. [113] [114]

Darwin completed his third geological book in 1846. He now renewed a fascination and expertise in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days with Grant, by dissecting and classifying the barnacles he had collected on the voyage, enjoying observing beautiful structures and thinking about comparisons with allied structures. [115] In 1847, Hooker read the "Essay" and sent notes that provided Darwin with the calm critical feedback that he needed, but would not commit himself and questioned Darwin's opposition to continuing acts of creation. [116]

In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Darwin went in 1849 to Dr. James Gully's Malvern spa and was surprised to find some benefit from hydrotherapy. [117] Then, in 1851, his treasured daughter Annie fell ill, reawakening his fears that his illness might be hereditary, and after a long series of crises she died. [118]

In eight years of work on barnacles (Cirripedia), Darwin's theory helped him to find "homologies" showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions, and in some genera he found minute males parasitic on hermaphrodites, showing an intermediate stage in evolution of distinct sexes. [119] In 1853, it earned him the Royal Society's Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist. [120] In 1854 he became a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, gaining postal access to its library. [121] He began a major reassessment of his theory of species, and in November realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to "diversified places in the economy of nature". [122]

Publication of the theory of natural selection

By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Hooker increasingly doubted the traditional view that species were fixed, but their young friend Thomas Henry Huxley was still firmly against the transmutation of species. Lyell was intrigued by Darwin's speculations without realising their extent. When he read a paper by Alfred Russel Wallace, "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species", he saw similarities with Darwin's thoughts and urged him to publish to establish precedence. Though Darwin saw no threat, on 14 May 1856 he began writing a short paper. Finding answers to difficult questions held him up repeatedly, and he expanded his plans to a "big book on species" titled Natural Selection, which was to include his "note on Man". He continued his researches, obtaining information and specimens from naturalists worldwide including Wallace who was working in Borneo. In mid-1857 he added a section heading "Theory applied to Races of Man", but did not add text on this topic. On 5 September 1857, Darwin sent the American botanist Asa Gray a detailed outline of his ideas, including an abstract of Natural Selection, which omitted human origins and sexual selection. In December, Darwin received a letter from Wallace asking if the book would examine human origins. He responded that he would avoid that subject, "so surrounded with prejudices", while encouraging Wallace's theorising and adding that "I go much further than you." [124]

Darwin's book was only partly written when, on 18 June 1858, he received a paper from Wallace describing natural selection. Shocked that he had been "forestalled", Darwin sent it on that day to Lyell, as requested by Wallace, [125] [126] and although Wallace had not asked for publication, Darwin suggested he would send it to any journal that Wallace chose. His family was in crisis with children in the village dying of scarlet fever, and he put matters in the hands of his friends. After some discussion, with no reliable way of involving Wallace, Lyell and Hooker decided on a joint presentation at the Linnean Society on 1 July of On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. On the evening of 28 June, Darwin's baby son died of scarlet fever after almost a week of severe illness, and he was too distraught to attend. [127]

There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory the president of the Linnean Society remarked in May 1859 that the year had not been marked by any revolutionary discoveries. [128] Only one review rankled enough for Darwin to recall it later Professor Samuel Haughton of Dublin claimed that "all that was new in them was false, and what was true was old". [129] Darwin struggled for thirteen months to produce an abstract of his "big book", suffering from ill health but getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends. Lyell arranged to have it published by John Murray. [130]

On the Origin of Species proved unexpectedly popular, with the entire stock of 1,250 copies oversubscribed when it went on sale to booksellers on 22 November 1859. [131] In the book, Darwin set out "one long argument" of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections. [132] In making the case for common descent, he included evidence of homologies between humans and other mammals. [133] [III] Having outlined sexual selection, he hinted that it could explain differences between human races. [134] [IV] He avoided explicit discussion of human origins, but implied the significance of his work with the sentence "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." [135] [IV] His theory is simply stated in the introduction:

As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. [136]

At the end of the book he concluded that:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. [137]

The last word was the only variant of "evolved" in the first five editions of the book. "Evolutionism" at that time was associated with other concepts, most commonly with embryological development, and Darwin first used the word evolution in The Descent of Man in 1871, before adding it in 1872 to the 6th edition of The Origin of Species. [138]

Responses to publication

The book aroused international interest, with less controversy than had greeted the popular and less scientific Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. [140] Though Darwin's illness kept him away from the public debates, he eagerly scrutinised the scientific response, commenting on press cuttings, reviews, articles, satires and caricatures, and corresponded on it with colleagues worldwide. [141] The book did not explicitly discuss human origins, [135] [IV] but included a number of hints about the animal ancestry of humans from which the inference could be made. [142] The first review asked, "If a monkey has become a man–what may not a man become?" and said it should be left to theologians as it was too dangerous for ordinary readers. [143] Amongst early favourable responses, Huxley's reviews swiped at Richard Owen, leader of the scientific establishment Huxley was trying to overthrow. [144] In April, Owen's review attacked Darwin's friends and condescendingly dismissed his ideas, angering Darwin, [145] but Owen and others began to promote ideas of supernaturally guided evolution. Patrick Matthew drew attention to his 1831 book which had a brief appendix suggesting a concept of natural selection leading to new species, but he had not developed the idea. [146]

The Church of England's response was mixed. Darwin's old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas, but liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God's design, with the cleric Charles Kingsley seeing it as "just as noble a conception of Deity". [147] In 1860, the publication of Essays and Reviews by seven liberal Anglican theologians diverted clerical attention from Darwin, with its ideas including higher criticism attacked by church authorities as heresy. In it, Baden Powell argued that miracles broke God's laws, so belief in them was atheistic, and praised "Mr Darwin's masterly volume [supporting] the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of nature". [148] Asa Gray discussed teleology with Darwin, who imported and distributed Gray's pamphlet on theistic evolution, Natural Selection is not inconsistent with natural theology. [147] [149] The most famous confrontation was at the public 1860 Oxford evolution debate during a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, where the Bishop of Oxford Samuel Wilberforce, though not opposed to transmutation of species, argued against Darwin's explanation and human descent from apes. Joseph Hooker argued strongly for Darwin, and Thomas Huxley's legendary retort, that he would rather be descended from an ape than a man who misused his gifts, came to symbolise a triumph of science over religion. [147] [150]

Even Darwin's close friends Gray, Hooker, Huxley and Lyell still expressed various reservations but gave strong support, as did many others, particularly younger naturalists. Gray and Lyell sought reconciliation with faith, while Huxley portrayed a polarisation between religion and science. He campaigned pugnaciously against the authority of the clergy in education, [147] aiming to overturn the dominance of clergymen and aristocratic amateurs under Owen in favour of a new generation of professional scientists. Owen's claim that brain anatomy proved humans to be a separate biological order from apes was shown to be false by Huxley in a long running dispute parodied by Kingsley as the "Great Hippocampus Question", and discredited Owen. [151]

Darwinism became a movement covering a wide range of evolutionary ideas. In 1863 Lyell's Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man popularised prehistory, though his caution on evolution disappointed Darwin. Weeks later Huxley's Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature showed that anatomically, humans are apes, then The Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates provided empirical evidence of natural selection. [152] Lobbying brought Darwin Britain's highest scientific honour, the Royal Society's Copley Medal, awarded on 3 November 1864. [153] That day, Huxley held the first meeting of what became the influential "X Club" devoted to "science, pure and free, untrammelled by religious dogmas". [154] By the end of the decade most scientists agreed that evolution occurred, but only a minority supported Darwin's view that the chief mechanism was natural selection. [155]

The Origin of Species was translated into many languages, becoming a staple scientific text attracting thoughtful attention from all walks of life, including the "working men" who flocked to Huxley's lectures. [156] Darwin's theory also resonated with various movements at the time [V] and became a key fixture of popular culture. [VI] Cartoonists parodied animal ancestry in an old tradition of showing humans with animal traits, and in Britain these droll images served to popularise Darwin's theory in an unthreatening way. While ill in 1862 Darwin began growing a beard, and when he reappeared in public in 1866 caricatures of him as an ape helped to identify all forms of evolutionism with Darwinism. [139]

Descent of Man, sexual selection, and botany

Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last twenty-two years of his life, Darwin's work continued. Having published On the Origin of Species as an abstract of his theory, he pressed on with experiments, research, and writing of his "big book". He covered human descent from earlier animals including evolution of society and of mental abilities, as well as explaining decorative beauty in wildlife and diversifying into innovative plant studies.

Enquiries about insect pollination led in 1861 to novel studies of wild orchids, showing adaptation of their flowers to attract specific moths to each species and ensure cross fertilisation. In 1862 Fertilisation of Orchids gave his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection to explain complex ecological relationships, making testable predictions. As his health declined, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with inventive experiments to trace the movements of climbing plants. [157] Admiring visitors included Ernst Haeckel, a zealous proponent of Darwinismus incorporating Lamarckism and Goethe's idealism. [158] Wallace remained supportive, though he increasingly turned to Spiritualism. [159]

Darwin's book The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication (1868) was the first part of his planned "big book", and included his unsuccessful hypothesis of pangenesis attempting to explain heredity. It sold briskly at first, despite its size, and was translated into many languages. He wrote most of a second part, on natural selection, but it remained unpublished in his lifetime. [160]

Lyell had already popularised human prehistory, and Huxley had shown that anatomically humans are apes. [152] With The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex published in 1871, Darwin set out evidence from numerous sources that humans are animals, showing continuity of physical and mental attributes, and presented sexual selection to explain impractical animal features such as the peacock's plumage as well as human evolution of culture, differences between sexes, and physical and cultural racial classification, while emphasising that humans are all one species. [161] His research using images was expanded in his 1872 book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, one of the first books to feature printed photographs, which discussed the evolution of human psychology and its continuity with the behaviour of animals. Both books proved very popular, and Darwin was impressed by the general assent with which his views had been received, remarking that "everybody is talking about it without being shocked." [162] His conclusion was "that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." [163]

His evolution-related experiments and investigations led to books on orchids, Insectivorous Plants, The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom, different forms of flowers on plants of the same species, and The Power of Movement in Plants. He continued to collect information and exchange views from scientific correspondents all over the world, including Mary Treat, whom he encouraged to persevere in her scientific work. [164] His botanical work [IX] was interpreted and popularised by various writers including Grant Allen and H. G. Wells, and helped transform plant science in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In his last book he returned to The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms.

Death and funeral

In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called "angina pectoris" which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed "anginal attacks", and "heart-failure". [165] It has been speculated that Darwin may have suffered from chronic Chagas disease. [166] This speculation is based on a journal entry written by Darwin, describing he was bitten by the "Kissing Bug" in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1835 [167] and based on the constellation of clinical symptoms he exhibited, including cardiac disease which is a hallmark of chronic Chagas disease. [168] [166] Exhuming Darwin's body would probably be necessary to definitively determine his state of infection by detecting DNA of infecting parasite, T. cruzi, that causes Chagas disease. [166] [167]

He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma "I am not the least afraid of death—Remember what a good wife you have been to me—Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me", then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis "It's almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you". [169] He had expected to be buried in St Mary's churchyard at Downe, but at the request of Darwin's colleagues, after public and parliamentary petitioning, William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) arranged for Darwin to be honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. The funeral was held on Wednesday 26 April and was attended by thousands of people, including family, friends, scientists, philosophers and dignitaries. [170] [10]

By the time of his death, Darwin and his colleagues had convinced most scientists that evolution as descent with modification was correct, and he was regarded as a great scientist who had revolutionised ideas. In June 1909, though few at that time agreed with his view that "natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification", he was honoured by more than 400 officials and scientists from across the world who met in Cambridge to commemorate his centenary and the fiftieth anniversary of On the Origin of Species. [171] Around the beginning of the 20th century, a period that has been called "the eclipse of Darwinism", scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms, which eventually proved untenable. Ronald Fisher, an English statistician, finally united Mendelian genetics with natural selection, in the period between 1918 and his 1930 book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. [172] He gave the theory a mathematical footing and brought broad scientific consensus that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution, thus founding the basis for population genetics and the modern evolutionary synthesis, with J.B.S. Haldane and Sewall Wright, which set the frame of reference for modern debates and refinements of the theory. [14]


During Darwin's lifetime, many geographical features were given his name. An expanse of water adjoining the Beagle Channel was named Darwin Sound by Robert FitzRoy after Darwin's prompt action, along with two or three of the men, saved them from being marooned on a nearby shore when a collapsing glacier caused a large wave that would have swept away their boats, [173] and the nearby Mount Darwin in the Andes was named in celebration of Darwin's 25th birthday. [174] When the Beagle was surveying Australia in 1839, Darwin's friend John Lort Stokes sighted a natural harbour which the ship's captain Wickham named Port Darwin: a nearby settlement was renamed Darwin in 1911, and it became the capital city of Australia's Northern Territory. [175]

Stephen Heard identified 389 species that have been named after Darwin, [176] and there are at least 9 genera. [177] In one example, the group of tanagers related to those Darwin found in the Galápagos Islands became popularly known as "Darwin's finches" in 1947, fostering inaccurate legends about their significance to his work. [178]

Darwin's work has continued to be celebrated by numerous publications and events. The Linnean Society of London has commemorated Darwin's achievements by the award of the Darwin–Wallace Medal since 1908. Darwin Day has become an annual celebration, and in 2009 worldwide events were arranged for the bicentenary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. [179]

Darwin has been commemorated in the UK, with his portrait printed on the reverse of £10 banknotes printed along with a hummingbird and HMS Beagle, issued by the Bank of England. [180]

A life-size seated statue of Darwin can be seen in the main hall of the Natural History Museum in London. [181]

A seated statue of Darwin, unveiled 1897, stands in front of Shrewsbury Library, the building that used to house Shrewsbury School, which Darwin attended as a boy. Another statue of Darwin as a young man is situated in the grounds of Christ's College, Cambridge.

Darwin College, a postgraduate college at Cambridge University, is named after the Darwin family. [182]

In 2008–09, the Swedish band The Knife, in collaboration with Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma and other musicians from Denmark, Sweden and the US, created an opera about the life of Darwin, and The Origin of Species, entitled Tomorrow, in a Year. The show toured European theatres in 2010.

William Erasmus 27 December 1839 – 8 September 1914
Anne Elizabeth 2 March 1841 – 23 April 1851
Mary Eleanor 23 September 1842 – 16 October 1842
Henrietta Emma 25 September 1843 – 17 December 1927
George Howard 9 July 1845 – 7 December 1912
Elizabeth 8 July 1847 – 8 June 1926
Francis 16 August 1848 – 19 September 1925
Leonard 15 January 1850 – 26 March 1943
Horace 13 May 1851 – 29 September 1928
Charles 6 December 1856 – 28 June 1858

The Darwins had ten children: two died in infancy, and Annie's death at the age of ten had a devastating effect on her parents. Charles was a devoted father and uncommonly attentive to his children. [17] Whenever they fell ill, he feared that they might have inherited weaknesses from inbreeding due to the close family ties he shared with his wife and cousin, Emma Wedgwood.

He examined inbreeding in his writings, contrasting it with the advantages of outcrossing in many species. [183] Despite his fears, most of the surviving children and many of their descendants went on to have distinguished careers.

Of his surviving children, George, Francis and Horace became Fellows of the Royal Society, [184] distinguished as astronomer, [185] botanist and civil engineer, respectively. All three were knighted. [186] Another son, Leonard, went on to be a soldier, politician, economist, eugenicist and mentor of the statistician and evolutionary biologist Ronald Fisher. [187]

Religious views

Darwin's family tradition was nonconformist Unitarianism, while his father and grandfather were freethinkers, and his baptism and boarding school were Church of England. [27] When going to Cambridge to become an Anglican clergyman, he did not "in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible". [36] He learned John Herschel's science which, like William Paley's natural theology, sought explanations in laws of nature rather than miracles and saw adaptation of species as evidence of design. [38] [39] On board HMS Beagle, Darwin was quite orthodox and would quote the Bible as an authority on morality. [189] He looked for "centres of creation" to explain distribution, [62] and suggested that the very similar antlions found in Australia and England were evidence of a divine hand. [64]

By his return, he was critical of the Bible as history, and wondered why all religions should not be equally valid. [189] In the next few years, while intensively speculating on geology and the transmutation of species, he gave much thought to religion and openly discussed this with his wife Emma, whose beliefs also came from intensive study and questioning. [99] The theodicy of Paley and Thomas Malthus vindicated evils such as starvation as a result of a benevolent creator's laws, which had an overall good effect. To Darwin, natural selection produced the good of adaptation but removed the need for design, [190] and he could not see the work of an omnipotent deity in all the pain and suffering, such as the ichneumon wasp paralysing caterpillars as live food for its eggs. [149] Though he thought of religion as a tribal survival strategy, Darwin was reluctant to give up the idea of God as an ultimate lawgiver. He was increasingly troubled by the problem of evil. [191] [192]

Darwin remained close friends with the vicar of Downe, John Brodie Innes, and continued to play a leading part in the parish work of the church, [193] but from around 1849 would go for a walk on Sundays while his family attended church. [188] He considered it "absurd to doubt that a man might be an ardent theist and an evolutionist" [194] [195] and, though reticent about his religious views, in 1879 he wrote that "I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. – I think that generally . an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind". [99] [194]

The "Lady Hope Story", published in 1915, claimed that Darwin had reverted to Christianity on his sickbed. The claims were repudiated by Darwin's children and have been dismissed as false by historians. [196]

Human society

Darwin's views on social and political issues reflected his time and social position. He grew up in a family of Whig reformers who, like his uncle Josiah Wedgwood, supported electoral reform and the emancipation of slaves. Darwin was passionately opposed to slavery, while seeing no problem with the working conditions of English factory workers or servants. His taxidermy lessons in 1826 from the freed slave John Edmonstone, whom he long recalled as "a very pleasant and intelligent man", reinforced his belief that black people shared the same feelings, and could be as intelligent as people of other races. He took the same attitude to native people he met on the Beagle voyage. [197] These attitudes were not unusual in Britain in the 1820s, much as it shocked visiting Americans. British society started to envisage racial differences more vividly in mid-century, [28] but Darwin remained strongly against slavery, against "ranking the so-called races of man as distinct species", and against ill-treatment of native people. [198] [VII] Darwin's interaction with Yaghans (Fuegians) such as Jemmy Button during the second voyage of HMS Beagle had a profound impact on his view of indigenous peoples. At his arrival to Tierra del Fuego he made a colourful description of "Fuegian savages". [199] This view changed as he came to know Yaghan people more in detail. By studying the Yaghans, Darwin concluded that a number of basic emotions by different human groups were the same and that mental capabilities were roughly the same as for Europeans. [199] While interested in Yaghan culture Darwin failed to appreciate their deep ecological knowledge and elaborate cosmology until the 1850s when he inspected a dictionary of Yaghan detailing 32,000 words. [199] He saw that European colonisation would often lead to the extinction of native civilisations, and "tr[ied] to integrate colonialism into an evolutionary history of civilization analogous to natural history". [200]

He thought men's eminence over women was the outcome of sexual selection, a view disputed by Antoinette Brown Blackwell in her 1875 book The Sexes Throughout Nature. [201]

Darwin was intrigued by his half-cousin Francis Galton's argument, introduced in 1865, that statistical analysis of heredity showed that moral and mental human traits could be inherited, and principles of animal breeding could apply to humans. In The Descent of Man, Darwin noted that aiding the weak to survive and have families could lose the benefits of natural selection, but cautioned that withholding such aid would endanger the instinct of sympathy, "the noblest part of our nature", and factors such as education could be more important. When Galton suggested that publishing research could encourage intermarriage within a "caste" of "those who are naturally gifted", Darwin foresaw practical difficulties, and thought it "the sole feasible, yet I fear utopian, plan of procedure in improving the human race", preferring to simply publicise the importance of inheritance and leave decisions to individuals. [202] Francis Galton named this field of study "eugenics" in 1883. [VIII] After Darwin's death, his theories were cited to promote eugenic policies. [200]

Darwin's fame and popularity led to his name being associated with ideas and movements that, at times, had only an indirect relation to his writings, and sometimes went directly against his express comments.

Thomas Malthus had argued that population growth beyond resources was ordained by God to get humans to work productively and show restraint in getting families this was used in the 1830s to justify workhouses and laissez-faire economics. [203] Evolution was by then seen as having social implications, and Herbert Spencer's 1851 book Social Statics based ideas of human freedom and individual liberties on his Lamarckian evolutionary theory. [204]

Soon after the Origin was published in 1859, critics derided his description of a struggle for existence as a Malthusian justification for the English industrial capitalism of the time. The term Darwinism was used for the evolutionary ideas of others, including Spencer's "survival of the fittest" as free-market progress, and Ernst Haeckel's polygenistic ideas of human development. Writers used natural selection to argue for various, often contradictory, ideologies such as laissez-faire dog-eat-dog capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. However, Darwin's holistic view of nature included "dependence of one being on another" thus pacifists, socialists, liberal social reformers and anarchists such as Peter Kropotkin stressed the value of co-operation over struggle within a species. [205] Darwin himself insisted that social policy should not simply be guided by concepts of struggle and selection in nature. [206]

After the 1880s, a eugenics movement developed on ideas of biological inheritance, and for scientific justification of their ideas appealed to some concepts of Darwinism. In Britain, most shared Darwin's cautious views on voluntary improvement and sought to encourage those with good traits in "positive eugenics". During the "Eclipse of Darwinism", a scientific foundation for eugenics was provided by Mendelian genetics. Negative eugenics to remove the "feebleminded" were popular in America, Canada and Australia, and eugenics in the United States introduced compulsory sterilisation laws, followed by several other countries. Subsequently, Nazi eugenics brought the field into disrepute. [VIII]

The term "Social Darwinism" was used infrequently from around the 1890s, but became popular as a derogatory term in the 1940s when used by Richard Hofstadter to attack the laissez-faire conservatism of those like William Graham Sumner who opposed reform and socialism. Since then, it has been used as a term of abuse by those opposed to what they think are the moral consequences of evolution. [207] [203]

Darwin was a prolific writer. Even without publication of his works on evolution, he would have had a considerable reputation as the author of The Voyage of the Beagle, as a geologist who had published extensively on South America and had solved the puzzle of the formation of coral atolls, and as a biologist who had published the definitive work on barnacles. While On the Origin of Species dominates perceptions of his work, The Descent of Man and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals had considerable impact, and his books on plants including The Power of Movement in Plants were innovative studies of great importance, as was his final work on The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms. [208] [209]

I . ^ Darwin was eminent as a naturalist, geologist, biologist, and author. After a summer as a physician's assistant (helping his father) and two years as a medical student, he went to Cambridge for the ordinary degree to qualify as a clergyman he was also trained in taxidermy. [210]

II . ^ Robert FitzRoy was to become known after the voyage for biblical literalism, but at this time he had considerable interest in Lyell's ideas, and they met before the voyage when Lyell asked for observations to be made in South America. FitzRoy's diary during the ascent of the River Santa Cruz in Patagonia recorded his opinion that the plains were raised beaches, but on return, newly married to a very religious lady, he recanted these ideas.(Browne 1995, pp. 186, 414)

III . ^ In the section "Morphology" of Chapter XIII of On the Origin of Species, Darwin commented on homologous bone patterns between humans and other mammals, writing: "What can be more curious than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern, and should include the same bones, in the same relative positions?" [211] and in the concluding chapter: "The framework of bones being the same in the hand of a man, wing of a bat, fin of the porpoise, and leg of the horse … at once explain themselves on the theory of descent with slow and slight successive modifications." [212]

IV . 1 2 3 In On the Origin of Species Darwin mentioned human origins in his concluding remark that "In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." [135]

In "Chapter VI: Difficulties on Theory" he referred to sexual selection: "I might have adduced for this same purpose the differences between the races of man, which are so strongly marked I may add that some little light can apparently be thrown on the origin of these differences, chiefly through sexual selection of a particular kind, but without here entering on copious details my reasoning would appear frivolous." [134]

In The Descent of Man of 1871, Darwin discussed the first passage: "During many years I collected notes on the origin or descent of man, without any intention of publishing on the subject, but rather with the determination not to publish, as I thought that I should thus only add to the prejudices against my views. It seemed to me sufficient to indicate, in the first edition of my 'Origin of Species,' that by this work 'light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history' and this implies that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth." [213] In a preface to the 1874 second edition, he added a reference to the second point: "it has been said by several critics, that when I found that many details of structure in man could not be explained through natural selection, I invented sexual selection I gave, however, a tolerably clear sketch of this principle in the first edition of the 'Origin of Species,' and I there stated that it was applicable to man." [214]

V . ^ See, for example, WILLA volume 4, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Feminization of Education by Deborah M. De Simone: "Gilman shared many basic educational ideas with the generation of thinkers who matured during the period of "intellectual chaos" caused by Darwin's Origin of the Species. Marked by the belief that individuals can direct human and social evolution, many progressives came to view education as the panacea for advancing social progress and for solving such problems as urbanisation, poverty, or immigration."

VI . ^ See, for example, the song "A lady fair of lineage high" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida, which describes the descent of man (but not woman!) from apes.

VII . ^ Darwin's belief that black people had the same essential humanity as Europeans, and had many mental similarities, was reinforced by the lessons he had from John Edmonstone in 1826. [28] Early in the Beagle voyage, Darwin nearly lost his position on the ship when he criticised FitzRoy's defence and praise of slavery. (Darwin 1958, p. 74) He wrote home about "how steadily the general feeling, as shown at elections, has been rising against Slavery. What a proud thing for England if she is the first European nation which utterly abolishes it! I was told before leaving England that after living in slave countries all my opinions would be altered the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much higher estimate of the negro character." (Darwin 1887, p. 246) Regarding Fuegians, he "could not have believed how wide was the difference between savage and civilized man: it is greater than between a wild and domesticated animal, inasmuch as in man there is a greater power of improvement", but he knew and liked civilised Fuegians like Jemmy Button: "It seems yet wonderful to me, when I think over all his many good qualities, that he should have been of the same race, and doubtless partaken of the same character, with the miserable, degraded savages whom we first met here."(Darwin 1845, pp. 205, 207–208)

In the Descent of Man, he mentioned the similarity of Fuegians' and Edmonstone's minds to Europeans' when arguing against "ranking the so-called races of man as distinct species". [215]

He rejected the ill-treatment of native people, and for example wrote of massacres of Patagonian men, women, and children, "Every one here is fully convinced that this is the most just war, because it is against barbarians. Who would believe in this age that such atrocities could be committed in a Christian civilized country?"(Darwin 1845, p. 102)

IX . ^ David Quammen writes of his "theory that [Darwin] turned to these arcane botanical studies – producing more than one book that was solidly empirical, discreetly evolutionary, yet a 'horrid bore' – at least partly so that the clamorous controversialists, fighting about apes and angels and souls, would leave him. alone". David Quammen, "The Brilliant Plodder" (review of Ken Thompson, Darwin's Most Wonderful Plants: A Tour of His Botanical Legacy, University of Chicago Press, 255 pp. Elizabeth Hennessy, On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden, Yale University Press, 310 pp. Bill Jenkins, Evolution Before Darwin: Theories of the Transmutation of Species in Edinburgh, 1804–1834, Edinburgh University Press, 222 pp.), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXVII, no. 7 (23 April 2020), pp. 22–24. Quammen, quoted from p. 24 of his review.

Watch the video: Is Darwinism impeding the development of modern science? (January 2022).