eventually induced Charles Darwin to become his cabin companion and naturalist for the voyage. Henslow recommended Darwin not as a finished naturalist but as one amply qualified for collecting, observing, and noting anything worthy to be noted in natural history.
The Beagle, after two unsuccessful attempts to get away, finally set sail from Devonport, England, December 27, 1831; and, after a cruise of almost five years, she returned to Falmouth, England, October 2, 1836. Her course had lain across the Atlantic to the Brazilian coast, thence southward along the east coast of South America to Tierra del Fuego, whence she turned northward skirting the seaboard of Chili and Peru. Near the equator a westerly course was taken and she then crossed the Pacific to Australia whence she traversed the Indian Ocean, and, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, headed across the South Atlantic for Brazil. Here she completed the circumnavigation of the globe and, picking up her former course, she retraced her way to England.
When Darwin left England on the Beagle, he was twenty-two years old. The five-year voyage, therefore, occupied in his life the period of maturing manhood. What it was to mean to him he only partly saw. Before leaving England he declared that the day of sailing would mark the beginning of his second life, a new birthday to him. All through his boyhood he had dreamed of seeing the tropics; and now his dream was to be realized. His letters and his account of the voyage are full of the exuberance of youth. To his friend Fox he wrote from Brazil: "My mind has been, since leaving England, in a perfect hurricane of delight and astonishment." To Henslow he sent word from Rio as follows: "Here I first saw a tropical forest in all its sublime grandeur—nothing but the reality can give you any idea how wonderful, how magnificent the scene is." And to another correspondent he wrote: "When I first entered on and beheld the luxuriant vegetation of Brazil, it was realizing the visions in the 'Arabian Nights.' The brilliancy of the scenery throws one into a delirium of delight, and a beetle hunter is not likely soon to awaken from it when, whichever way he turns, fresh treasures meet his eye." Such expressions could spring only from the enthusiasm of the born naturalist.