DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). -- Robert FITZROY, editor (1805-1865), and Capt. Philip Parker KING (1793-1856). A Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836. London: Henry Colburn, 1839.
4 volumes, including Appendix to vol. II, 8vo (228 x 138 mm). 9 folding maps (a few with short marginal tears to folds, otherwise fine), 47 lithographed plates and views. (Lacking advertisements.) Contemporary calf gilt (neatly rebacked to style preserving original lettering-pieces). FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF DARWIN'S FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK. Described as "one of the most famous journeys ever undertaken," the Admiralty Surveying Expedition of H.M.S. Beagle (1831-1836) carried the 23-year old Charles Darwin as Naturalist and Geologist. It was his observations on the voyage which gave birth to and gradually strengthened his convictions regarding natural selection and evolution. On the first voyage of 1826-1830, King and Fitzroy charted the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and on the second voyage (1831-1836) further charted the South American and Australian coasts, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand and Tahiti. Magnetic observations in the appendix are by Edward Sabine who was with both John Ross and William Parry in the Arctic. Darwin's own investigations, most notably in the Galapagos, are fully contained in vol. III, together with his journey up the Parana River and into the Andes towards the Cordillera. He later wrote that this voyage had "been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career." Expedition artists were Augustus Earle and Conrad Martens from whose drawings many of the engravings were prepared. Freeman 11; Hill 607; Norman 585; Sabin 37826. A VERY FINE COPY.
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