The most awesome book inscription ever!

One day back in 1831, a young English gentleman took up his pen and wrote his name and new address in the front of his German New Testament. Call me biased, but it must surely rank as the most awesome book inscription ever:

C Darwin H.M.S. Beagle
Inscription in Charles Darwin's German New Testament
© The Charles Darwin Trust and reproduced with their kind permission.

The young Charles Darwin had no way of knowing that he was about to embark on a journey which would lead to a paradigm-shifting scientific revolution, and hammer the final nail in the coffin of the conflicting creation myths described in the first couple of chapters of Genesis.

But why on Earth would a young, English naturalist want to take a German New Testament with him on a voyage of discovery? Apparently, it was to help him brush up on his German during the long months at sea. His intentions were good, but I suspect he didn't do much brushing up: many years after the voyage, Charles Darwin was still having to have German texts translated for him.

Darwin's German New Testament still exists, and is in the possession of the Charles Darwin Trust, which has kindly given those awfully nice chaps at the Beagle Project permission to make use of the above image—and they have very generously let me have this nice little scoop. Thanks, chaps!

Now, go over there and give them a whole pile of your money so that one day soon, some other young scientist will be able to inscribe one of their books with the address H.M.S. Beagle.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…

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