01-Apr-1832: Darwin falls for an old tradition

From Darwin’s Beagle Diary, 1st April, 1832:

April 1st

All hands employed in making April fools. — at midnight almost nearly all the watch below was called up in their shirts; carpenters for a leak: quarter masters that a mast was sprung. — midshipmen to reef top-sails; All turned in to their hammocks again, some growling some laughing. — The hook was much too easily baited for me not to be caught: Sullivan cried out, “Darwin, did you ever see a Grampus: Bear a hand then”. I accordingly rushed out in a transport of Enthusiasm, & was received by a roar of laughter from the whole watch. —

They must have had a whale of a time aboard HMS Beagle.

Greenland Whale

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…


  1. I love the phrase "I accordingly rushed out in a transport of enthusiasm" I wonder if people actually spoke in that manner or if it was an affectation of his writing style. Seems from the content that April fools jokes have been around for a while. Always thought most of them quite silly.

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