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Beagle journal sold for £100k

PUBLISHED: 16:41 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 12 August 2010

A JOURNAL written by the troubled captain of a ship Charles Darwin travelled on has sold for nearly £100,000 at auction. The 118-page final journal (pictured right) kept by the commanding officer of HMS Beagle, Captain Pringle Stokes, dating from March

A JOURNAL written by the troubled captain of a ship Charles Darwin travelled on has sold for nearly £100,000 at auction.

The 118-page final journal (pictured right) kept by the commanding officer of HMS Beagle, Captain Pringle Stokes, dating from March 28 to July 24, 1828, had a guide price of £45,000 to £55,000 but sold for £97, 250 at Sotheby's last Thursday.

It describes the ship's virgin surveying voyage to Patagonia including notes on the weather and the health of all those on board, along with the results of experiments. The trip was blighted by misfortune of bad weather, ill health and food shortages which all led to the suicide of Captain Stokes who shot himself after locking himself in his cabin for two weeks. The journal, which was sold to a dealer, documents his mental decline and depression.

It was Stokes' death which led to Darwin accompanying new Captain, Robert Fitzroy, on the ship's second voyage to South America. Findings from that voyage led Darwin to write his evolutionary theory in On the Origin of Species.

Sotheby's specialist David Goldthorpe said: "We are very pleased with the sum fetched for such a historically significant record of British travel and exploration.

"The journal of the commander of one

of the most famous ships in maritime

history marks the turning point in Darwin's involvement with the Beagle's voyage of discovery.

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