This is the story of the man without whom the name Charles Darwin might be unknown to us today. That man was Captain Robert FitzRoy, who invited the 22-year-old Darwin to be his companion on board the Beagle .
This is the remarkable story of how a misguided decision by Robert FitzRoy, captain of HMS Beagle, precipitated his employment of a young naturalist named Charles Darwin, and how the clash between FitzRoy s fundamentalist views and Darwin s discoveries led to FitzRoy s descent into the abyss.
One of the great ironies of history is that the famous journey wherein Charles Darwin consolidated the earth-rattling origin of the species discoveries was conceived by another man: Robert FitzRoy. It was FitzRoy who chose Darwin for the journey not because of Darwin s scientific expertise, but because he seemed a suitable companion to help FitzRoy fight back the mental illness that had plagued his family for generations. Darwin did not give FitzRoy solace; indeed, the clash between the two men s opposing views, together with the ramifications of Darwin s revelations, provided FitzRoy with the final unendurable torment that forced him to end his own life."