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 FitzRoys fundamentalist views and Darwins discoveries led to FitzRoys descent into the abyss.
One of the great ironies of history is that the famous journeywherein Charles Darwin consolidated the earth-rattling origin of the species discoverieswas conceived by another man: Robert FitzRoy. It was FitzRoy who chose Darwin for the journeynot because of Darwins 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 mens opposing views, together with the ramifications of Darwins revelations, provided FitzRoy with the final unendurable torment that forced him to end his own life.