Robert FitzRoy

1805 (Ampton, England) – 1865 (London)

Beaufort, an older friend, intervened to have FitzRoy re-appointed as captain of HMS Beagle. FitzRoy (mid-twenties) and Darwin (younger still) spent nearly five years voyaging together, Darwin’s nominal role being as a scientifically-minded ‘gentleman’s companion’ to FitzRoy. Lyell asked FitzRoy to look out for erratic boulders; FitzRoy gave Darwin Lyell’s influential book to read. Darwin and FitzRoy stayed friends for twenty years after the voyage, FitzRoy regularly visiting Darwin; however publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ proved several steps too far for FitzRoy, who felt his strong Christian beliefs betrayed. He was a vocal supporter of Māori land rights.

Robert FitzRoy knew…