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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Charles Darwin's Guns In Australia:

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) - well known for his theory on the 'Origin of Species' spent 90 pounds buying two pistols and a shotgun one month before sailing off into the blue on the ten gun brig 'The Beagle'the voyage began on 27 December 1831 - and it lasted almost five years.
Charles Robert Darwin.

Darwin's pistols were fairly low cost and may have been second hand - but they were anyway not 'London Made' - said to have been made by provincial gun maker Hanson of Doncaster.

This pair of side-hammer box-lock percussion single shot pistols, fitted with belt-hooks, were of 18-bore (.637") having six inch barrels - and were later given to Syms Covington, - Darwins manservant and assistant - at the conclusion of his service.

 Syms Covington settled on the south coast of  New South Wales some time after the end of the Beagle's Historic voyage - where he became the second Postmaster of Pambula, near Eden.
The above image is not correct as I have been unable to find an authenticated photograph - other than a poor quality shot in the "dead-tree" book 'Australian Antique Arms & History' - a collection of writings by John W Swinfield.

Quote from Charles Darwin:

"In the latter part of my school life I became passionately fond of shooting, and I do not believe that anyone could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds. How well I remember killing my first snipe, and my excitement was so great that I had much difficulty in reloading my gun from the trembling of my hands. This taste long continued and I became a very good shot." 

Link to an article claiming that Darwin had an unhealthy obsession with killing animals:

http://www.icr.org/article/darwins-passion-for-hunting-killing/


 In August 1863 during a spirited exchange of ideas with Joseph D Hooker, the prominent botanist at Kew Gardens, Darwin wrote:
"About New Zealand, at last I am coming round & admit it must have been connected with some Terra firma; but I will die rather than admit Australia."
The Media Of That Era Were Very Rude to Darwin.

- I wonder which was he defending .. the independent history of  New Zealand - or of it's "Western Island" of Australia eh?

Marty K.