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LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA

SAN DIEGO



%eabers in Science




DAR\VIN AND THE SQUIRRELS,



OLeafcers in Science



CHARLES DARWIN



HIS LIFE AND WORK



BY

CHARLES FREDERICK HOLDER



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

NEW YORK LONDON

27 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET 24 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND

Iht IJnichtrbocktr grtss
1892



COPYRIGHT, 1891

BV
CHARLES FREDERICK HOLDER



Ube fmicfcerbocfter press, *Uw Bock

Electrotyped. Printed, and Bound by
G. P. Putnam's Son*




W^fc HEN the publishers proposed to
IH me the subject of the present
fe volume, a life of Charles Darwin
for American and English read-
ers, I was particularly gratified
with the suggestion that the work
should be adapted .o young readers
as well as old. It has always seemed to
me that the life of Charles Darwin was
one eminently fitted to be held up as an
example to the youth of all lands. He stood as
the central figure in the field of natural science in
this century, and while it is yet too early to present
his life with any approximation of its results upon
the thought of the future, it is apparent to every
one that his influence upon the intellectual growth
of the country, and upon biological science in par-
ticular, has been marked and epoch making.

In the preparation of the work I have not at-
tempted an analytical dissertation upon Darwin's
life-work, neither have I discussed his theories or
their possible effect upon the scientific world, but



vi Preface.

have simply presented the story of his life, that of
one of the greatest naturalists of the age ; a life of
singular purity ; the life of a man who, in loftiness of
purpose and the accomplishment of grand results,
was the centre of observation in his time ; revered
and honored, yet maligned and attacked as few
have been.

}-' J>rh]ave asked my readers to follow with me the
footsteps of the naturalist from school-days in Eng-
land to foreign shores, seeking to interest them in
the pursuits which he loved and to enable them to
observe the things which he" saw, believing that in
this way the remarkable traits of the man as an
observer and thinker can be best and most forcibly
shown. I have had an object beyond that of simply
.telling his story, and one which I believe would com-
mend itself to the great investigator were he living :
it is, by tracing and following his work and investiga-
tions, to encourage, young men and women to emu-
late his methods, become students in the great field
of nature, and enjoy the delights of actual contact
with the world o'f which he was an active worker.
That such a career is ennobling I trust the following
pages will demonstrate.

In the preparation of this volume I am indebted
to Francis Darwin, Esq., of Cambridge, England,
whose life .of his father is the only work extant
giving fully the life and letters of the naturalist. My
thanks are also due the Biological Society of Wash-
ington for the extracts from the Darwin Memorial,
/.which .'I conceive to be of especial interest to Eng-
lish . readers as. an expression from the leading



Preface. vii

naturalists of America on the English scientist. My
acknowledgments are also given to Professor True,
of the Smithsonian Institution, for the loan of a rare
and excellent likeness of Darwin, and important
papers ; and to my wife, whose aid and cooperation
have been invaluable.

C. F. H.

PASADENA, CAL., November i, 1890.




CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PACK

THE BOY DARWIN I

The First Paper Taste for Natural History Birthplace
Early School-DaysReligious Nature Books Which Influ-
enced Him Associates Introduction to Scientific Men
Taste for Sport.



CHAPTER II.
COLLEGE DAYS 12

College Life Thoughts of Entering the Church A Poor
Mathematician Beetle Collecting First Appearance in
Print Associations with Eminent Men Scientific Reading
Favourite Authors Interest in Geology.

CHAPTER III.

THE YOUNG NATURALIST 19

The Beagle An Offer of Importance The Young Natural-
ist The Voyage Powers of Observation Cape Verd
Islands Tours of Investigation Dust-Showers Wonderful
Phenomena Geological Studies St. Paul's Rocks Fernan-
do de Noronha.



Contents.



CHAPTER IV.

PAGE

IN SOUTHERN SEAS 31

The Log-Book Bahia Singular Appearance of the Water
The Vampire Bat Slavery Trips into the Country
Rare Collections In the Brazilian Forest Shooting Mon-
keys The Click of a Butterfly Jumping Spiders Electri-
cal Displays The Plata.

CHAPTER V.

IN THE LAND OF THE SACRED TREE . . . .47

The Rio Negro Trips into the Interior The Sacred Tree
Superstition of Natives Salt Lakes Bahia Blanca A
Tomb of Giants The Mylodon Danvinii The Armadillo
Hibernation Careful Work War General Rosas Bru-
tal Natives Skilled Equestrians.

CHAPTER VI.
AMONG THE FOSSILS 58

A Long Bullock Ride Santa Fe An Animal Collector-
Large Fossils Indian Superstitions Darwin 111 A Native
Doctor Geology Gigantic Armoured Animals Drought
The Parana The Jaguar Darwin a Prisoner Swimming
Horses Shower of Butterflies Phosphorescence.

CHAPTER VII.
THE LAND OF GIANTS J2

The Patagonians Guanaco Hunting Singular Burial Cus-
toms A Horse with a Proboscis Extinction Up the Santa
Cruz Puma Tracks Catching the Condor Falkland Isl-
ands Among the Glaciers The Fuegians Giant Sea-
Weed and Its Work.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE FOOT OF THE ANDES .83

At Valparaiso Andean Life An Old Schoolmate An



Contents.



PAGE

Ocean Bottom In the Mines Hot Springs Darwin Ex-
cites Suspicion Volcanoes Tame Birds The Myopota-
mus Predaceous Gulls Birds Killed by Them.

CHAPTER IX.

IN THE EARTHQUAKE COUNTRY . . . .89

At the Bay of San Carlos Earthquakes Destruction of
Concepcion At Talcahuana Tidal Waves Poverty of the
Victims Elevation of the Coast Darwin's Coolness in ,
Danger Narrow Escapes.

CHAPTER X.

IN THE RED SNOW COUNTRY . .... 97

Valparaiso The Portillo Pass Land of the Red Snow-
Electrical Conditions A Swarm of Locusts Experiments
with the Reduvius A Forest of Stone Valley of the Copi-
apo Ruins at Old Callao Antiquity of Man.

CHAPTER XI.

AMONG THE OCEAN VOLCANOES . . . . 1 06

Galapagos Islands Number of Craters Gigantic Tor-
toises Land and Marine Lizards New Marine Forms
Flora Number of Cryptogamic Plants Variety of Forms
on the Different Islands Tameness of the Birds.

CHAPTER XII.

IN THE GARDENS OF THE SEA . . . . T1 3

Keeling Island Among the Corals Towed by a Turtle
Sagacity of the Birgos Stinging Corals Coral-Eating Fish
Theories Regarding Reef Structure Mauritius Extinc-
tion of Animals at St. Helena Return to England.



xii Contents.



CHAPTER XIII.

PACK

DARWIN THE NATURALIST ... ' 2 3

Ambition of Darwin Future Work Decided upon Scien-
tific Friends Papers Read before Various Societies
Experiments with Earthworms Marriage of Darwin
Methods of Work Various Publications.

CHAPTER XIV.

HOME LIFE 131

Appearance of Darwin Continued Ill-Health Daily
Habits Change in Musical and Literary Tastes Affection
for His Children.



CHAPTER XV.

THE WORK OF A LIFE 137

Early Papers Publications by Scientific Societies "The
Formation of Mould" "The Cirripedia" The Wallace
Incident Collecting Material for the "Origin of Species'"
Success of the Work Time Spent in Authorship Re-
ligionFinal Work and Death.

CHAPTER XVL

HONOURS OF A LIFETIME 149

Membership in Societies The Institute of France Prizes,
Medals, Degrees, Portraits, Gifts, etc.

CHAPTER XVII.

THE DARWIN FAMILY . . . . . J5<>

The First Known Darwin The Head of the Family-
Natural- History Tastes Poets, Doctors, and Military Men
Erasmus Darwin Carlyle's Description of Erasmus
Evidences of Genius.



Contents. xiii

CHAPTER XVIII.

PAGE

DARWINISM 167

The Coining of the Word What it Means Its Relation to
Evolution" The Survival of the Fittest " " The Struggle
for Existence " The Descent Examples of Evolution.

CHAPTER XIX.

DARWINISM CONTINUED 183

How Change is Produced Vast Eras of Time The Age of
the Earth Evidences of Evolution Extinct Animals.

CHAPTER XX.

THE DARWIN MEMORIAL 195

Addresses by American Scientists : Dr. Theodore Gill W.
II. Dall Major John W. Powell Richard Rathbun
Charles V. Riley Lester F. Ward Frank Baker Freder-
ick W. True.

APPENDIX 263

List of Works by Charles Darwin List of Books containing
Contributions by Charles Darwin List of Scientific Papers,
including a Selection of Letters and Short Communications
to Scientific Journals Works on Darwinism for Further
Reference*



275



ILLUSTRATIONS.



PACK

DARWIN AND THE SQUIRRELS . . . Frontispiece

ST. PAUL'S ROCKS FROM THE EAST From Spry's

11 Voyage of the Challenger " . . . 24

SHARK FISHING AT ST. PAUL'S ROCKS From GoSSe's

" Romance of Natural History " . . .26

A BRAZILIAN COLLECTING-GROUND From Gosse's

" Romance of Natural History" . . .28
PORCUPINE FISH (DIODON) FLOATING ON THE SUR-
FACE 30

DARWIN FINDING A VAMPIRE BAT BITING A HORSE, 52

BRAZILIAN HUNTERS AND ANIMAL COLLECTORS . 36

SOUTH AMERICAN NATIVE HUT OF LEAVES . . 38

A PLANTER'S HOUSE IN BRAZIL .... 40

A HOME ON THE PARAHIBA RIVER, BRAZIL . . 42

CAMP IN A BRAZILIAN FOREST 44

SOUTH AMERICAN OSTRICH (RKEA) AND YOUNG

From Br chin's " Natural History " . . .50

SOUTH AMERICAN OSTRICHES FORDING A RIVER . 52

NATIVE AUSTRALIANS HUNTING THE EMU From

Figuter's " Birds " 54



xvi Illustrations.

DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING THE EVOLUTION OF THE

HORSE 62

THE PATAGONIAN CAW From Brehm 's "Natural

History" 74

THE CAPYBARA From Brehm's " Natural History " 76

DARWIN SHOOTING AT A CONDOR . ... 78

CAPE FROWARD, STRAITS OF MAGELLAN From

Spry's " Voyage of the Challenger " . . .So

MUD VOLCANOES, TURBACO, SOUTH AMERICA From

Figuier's " World before the Deluge '' . .90
BARK-GATHERERS' CAMP IN PERU From Figuier's

" Vegetable World" ro 2

ELEPHANT TORTOISE, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS From

Brehm's" Natural History" . . . .106

DARWIN TESTING THE SPEED OF AN ELEPHANT

TORTOISE (GALAPAGOS ISLANDS) . . . 108
A CORAL ISLAND, OR ATOLL From Figuier s " Ocean

World" 112

BIRGOS, OR COCOA-NUT CRAB 114

DARWIN'S STUDY From " The Century Magazine " 1 28

PORTRAIT OF CHARLES DARWIN From " The Cen-

tury Magazine" . . . . . 1 5

COLLECTING IN THE SARGASSO SEA . . . .176




CHARLES DARWIN.



CHAPTER I.

THE BOY DARWIN.

The First Paper Taste for Natural History Birthplace Early
School Days Religious Nature Books Which Influenced Him
Associates Introduction to Scientific Men Taste for Sport.




NE evening, in the year
1826, a tall, slender youth
rose at a meeting of the
Plinian Society of Edin-
burgh, and with some
embarrassment and hes-
itation unfolded a paper
and addressed the chair.

The speaker was
Charles Darwin, and this
was his first public at-
tempt to convey to

others information which he had acquired regarding

natural object?. At this time Darwin was seventeen

i



2 Charles Darwin.

years of age ; yet his paper, which was on the com-
mon Flustra, or sea-mat, attracted no little attention,
and was the first in an ever increasing series that
gave him in later years a world-wide reputation.

While this was Darwin's first public appearance as
a naturalist, he had long been an ardent collector.
Whc,i but nine years of age he was the happy pos-
sessor of a collection of seals, franks, coins, and
minerals which were the admiration of his young
friends and acquaintances.

Our hero was born at Shrewsbury in 1809, an< ^
began his school-boy life at a day-school, later, in
1818, attending the large establishment of Dr. Butler,
a mile from the old homestead. This school, like
many of the time, was a strictly classical institution,
where the young mind was regaled with ancient
geography and history almost exclusively. The
lessons, so he tells us, were " learned by heart," with
interminable verses, a feature much esteemed by
educators of the day, and were mastered in boyish
fashion by a combination of the talent of the school.
He was singularly deficient in language, yet pos-
sessed, like other members of his family, a remarkable
memory, so that, as he writes in his quaint Autobi-
ography : " Much attention was paid to learning by
heart the lessons of the previous day ; this I could
effect with great facility, learning forty or fifty lines
of Virgil or Homer whilst I was in morning chapel ;
but this exercise was utterly useless, for every verse
was forgotten in forty-eight hours."

Our young hero, while manly and thoughtful, was
simple-hearted, and often a victim to the deceptions



School Days.



practised by boys upon each other. Among his
comrades was a boy named Garnett, who one day
invited young Darwin into a store and treated him
to cakes. Darwin noticed that his friend did not
pay for them, and the occurrence, so unusual, moved
him to ask for an explanation. Mischievous Garnett
eyed his young schoolmate a moment, much a 3 Mr.
Jingle did Mr. Pickwick on their famous ride, and
replied : " Why, my uncle left a large sum to each
tradesman in the town with the understanding that
anyone who wore his old hat and moved it in a
peculiar way should obtain what he wished free."
Young Darwin was naturally seized with a burning
desire to exercise this wonderful power, which his
comrade was only too eager to grant ; so the next
store they came to Darwin took the hat, walked
bravely in, and ordered a supply of good things,
giving the old hat a move as directed. He was pass-
ing out, when the storekeeper, who was at first
amazed, dashed over the counter after the singular
customer, who stood not upon the order of going,
but dropped hat and cakes and ran as if for his life
to the measure of the hearty laughter of his com-
panion.

While Darwin was fond of sport and a true boy
in his pranks and games, there was a vein of uncon-
scious dignity in him that the average youth did not
possess. He tells us that in running to school he
prayed to the Lord to aid him in arriving before it
was too late, which would show a strong religious
nature ; and that he was humane and honourable to a
marked degree is well known. How many boys in



Charles Darwin.



collecting eggs think of the rights of the birds?
Yet our young naturalist, while an indefatigable col-
lector of birds' eggs and nests, was invariably careful
to take but one egg from each nest, recognising in
this the rights of the lower animals. His humani-
tarian ideas were carried to what some would consider
extremes ; thus, hearing at his uncle Josiah Wedg-
wood's, that it was cruel to spit living worms, he
killed them first by a bath of salt and water.

As a boy he was fond of solitary walks, and often
rambled away by himself, loving the quiet seclusion
of the forests, the haunts and fishing-pools at Maer,
or the old fortifications about Shrewsbury. At such
times he frequently became lost in meditation, so
that in one instance, while deeply absorbed, he
walked over a parapet, falling a distance of seven or
eight feet. In referring to this, he naively remarks :
" The number of thoughts which passed through my
mind during this very short, but sudden and wholly
unexpected, fall was astonishing, and seem hardly
compatible with what physiologists have, I believe,
proved about each thought requiring quite an ap-
preciable amount of time."

The young naturalist early developed habits of
observation, and entered into investigations, espe-
cially of difficult and complex subjects, with an
ardour and interest that was infectious. He expe-
rienced intense pleasure in geometrical problems,
enjoying the reasoning that was involved, and
showed marked evidence of the care and patience
in attaining certain ends that produced such results
in his later career. The books which influenced his



His Books.



boyish mind were Horace, certain odes of which
appear to have been the one bright feature in his
school life ; many hours were spent poring over the
historical plays of Shakespeare, while the poetry of
Byron and Scott, and especially Thomson's " Sea-
sons," seem to have given him pleasure and satisfac-
tion. A book that had a strong influence upon him
was the " Wonders of the World," over whose varied
contents he often pored, discussing the strange facts
set forth with his companions. Small things often
have much to do in shaping our lives, and in this
volume we undoubtedly find the germ that excited
in his mind the love for travel and exploration
which ultimately resulted in the famous voyage
which he made around the world in the Beagle.
Darwin testifies to the correctness of this, and in
later years, in referring to the book, wrote to a
German publisher: "I believe that this book first
gave me a wish to travel in remote countries, which
was ultimately fulfilled by the voyage of the Beagle"

While we may trace the love of travel to hours
spent over this volume, his passion for natural
history was accelerated by White's " Selborne."
From its pages he obtained his fondness for birds,
learning to note their ways and habits, and be-
coming an ardent ornithologist.

Darwin had a decided natural inclination to litera-
ture of a scientific character. He read during these
days several books on chemistry, and worked with
his elder brother in his laboratory, making gases and
various other chemical compounds ; and that it was
an unusual taste among the boys of the time is



Charles



shown by the fact that he was nicknamed " Gas " by
his fellows, while even the head-master rebuked him
for wasting his time upon subjects that could be of
no possible use to him in later life. The opinions of
this teacher seem to have been entertained by Dar-
win the elder, who, concluding that our hero was
accomplishing little at the school, took him away in
October, 1825, and sent him to the University of
Edinburgh to study medicine. Unfortunately, Dar-
win now discovered that his father was a wealthy
man, and, being of an argumentative mind, he failed
to see that it was necessary for him to make any
especial exertion when he was certain of coming
into a goodly heritage. It is interesting to note this
resolution notably, not an evidence of ambition or
lofty ideas appearing in a life whose history in later
years is marked by its high and lofty aims and fixity
of purpose.

Darwin entered the University of Edinburgh,
where his brother was studying, without ambition,
and, like many boys, drifted with the current. He
found the lectures, with the exception of those on
his favourite chemistry, dull and uninteresting, while
those on materia medica by Dr. Duncan he describes
as something fearful to remember in their dullness.
The subjects were distasteful to him, causing him to
neglect dissection, which in later years he appears to
have greatly regretted, being an absolute necessity
in the elaborate and minute investigations that
formed his life-work. Despite his lack of interest
as a student he obtained patients, and, in all proba-
bility, would have succeeded under the tutelage



His Friends.



of his father, an eminent physician, had not a pain-
ful operation in the hospital at Edinburgh practically
ended his career in medicine, as he tells us that he
bore it as long as he could, and then rushed from the
room ; the scene, which was enacted before the days
of chloroform, haunting him for years. This is sug-
gestive of the extremely sympathetic temperament
of the boy Darwin ; his entire nature was one of
tenderness, not only to his companions, but to all
living things. While his school days were not re-
sulting in any apparent accumulation of knowledge
in the lines indicated by the curriculum, we find the
love of natural history steadily growing.

He was an ardent collector of minerals ; and the
love for insect studies, which he developed when but
ten years of age, down by the sea-shore in Wales,
was one of the delightful memories in later life. At
Edinburgh he found congenial friends in young men
who were interested in natural science, and the asso-
ciations and friendships then formed had no little
influence in shaping his future career. Here he met
Ainsworth, who afterwards became a famous geolo-
gist, and wrote a book on Assyria ; Dr. Coldstream,
a writer on zoological subjects ; and Hardie, who
was a promising botanist. Of all the friends made
at this time, perhaps Dr. Grant exercised the great-
est influence over him. With this zoologist he made
many trips to the sea-coast, became familiar with the
methods of current investigation, and it was during
these days that the observations regarding the Flus-
tra, mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, were
made, Dr. Grant referred to Darwin's investigations



8 Charles Darwin.

in his memoir on the Flustra, in which our young
naturalist saw his name for the first time in print.
Dr. Grant introduced him to many persons interested
in science, and invited him to the meetings of the
Royal Medical Society, where, according to Darwin,
"much rubbish was talked." Dr. Grant also took
him to the Wernerian Society, where he listened to
Audubon, who was then in Europe in the interests
of his great work on birds, and who read several
papers before the Society. These days were rich in
future promise for the young student, all his associa-
tions being such as to increase his interest in science.
He enlarged his acquaintance on all sides, took les-
sons in taxidermy, with a man who had travelled
with Waterton, and with Mr. Leonard Horner visited
the Royal Society of Edinburgh, where he listened
to Sir Walter Scott, who was at that time its presi-
dent. The proceedings produced a profound im-
pression, shown by his statement in later years : " If
I had been told at that time that I should one day
have been thus honoured (with membership), I
should have thought it as ridiculous and improb-
able, as if I had been told that I should be elected
King of England."

Darwin's taste for science was supplemented by a
course of studies, and in his second year he attended
a series of lectures on geology and zoology, those in
the former making a decided impression upon him,
as he says : " The sole effect they produced on me
was the determination never, as long as I lived, to
read a book on geology." In other words, the
lecturer had the unhappy faculty of making sub-



Tour in Wales.



jects naturally of interest exceedingly dry. While
the lectures of this instructor were of no especial
advantage, they were the means of his meeting Mr.
Macgillivray, the curator of the local museum, who
in after years wrote a work on Scottish birds, and
was an enthusiastic naturalist.

During the long-vacation period Darwin threw
aside his books, and with some congenial friend
took long walks over the country, enriching his
mind by personal contact with nature, thus building
up the taste for investigation which formed so promi-
nent a feature in his after-life. These walks were
something more than would be attempted by the
average American school-boy. He thought nothing
of covering thirty miles in a day ; and, during the
summer of 1826, with two friends, with knapsack on
back, he travelled over a large part of Wales, later
going over the ground again with his sister, that she
might be a participant in his enjoyment.

After the summer trips the autumn was gener-
ally passed at Mr. Owen's, at Woodhouse, or at
his uncle Josiah Wedgwood's, at Maer, where he
found opportunity to indulge in shooting, which
was as much a passion with him as collecting
minerals or insects. Days were spent on the heath
and among the Scotch firs, following the game-
keeper after black game, and no young American
trout fisherman kept a closer record than did our
sportsman naturalist. Every bird shot during the
season was carefully noted, a fact which shows the
method, thoroughness, and detail that marked every
subject in which he wa:> interested. His care to



io Charles Darwin.

credit himself with the results of his skill was often
the subject of practical jokes on the part of his
friends, and he relates the following : " One day,
when shooting at Woodhouse with Captain Owen,
the eldest son, and Major Hill, his cousin, after-
wards Lord Berwick, both of whom I liked very
much, I thought myself shamefully used, for every
time after I had fired, and thought that I had killed
a bird, one of the two acted as if loading his gun, and
cried out, ' You must not count that bird, for I fired
at the same time,' and the gamekeeper, perceiving
the joke, backed them up. After some hours they
told me the joke, but it was no joke to me, for I had
shot a large number of birds, but did not know how
many, and could not add them to my list, which I
used to do by making a knot in a piece of string


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Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderCharles Darwin; → online text (page 1 of 18)