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McCormick, Robert (1800-1890)

Second voyage to the West Indies, and voyage to South America: diary


About this work


Rough diary of 2nd voyage to the West Indies, 1830: and voyage to Rio Janeiro and South America in 1831-2. Author's holograph MS.

(1) Voyage to the West Indies, etc. 12 January to 27 June, 1830. Record of McCormick's voyage to the West Indies on HMS Hyacinth. McCormick records that he is invalided on 30th April and on 1st May leaves the ship (p.37). At the end of May 1830 he records his voyage back to England on HMS Arachne.

(2) Journal on full pay, 9 July-26 December, 1831. Record of McCormick's time on board HMS Beagle. He was appointed to the ship on 9th July 1831. Records that Captain FitzRoy receives his orders for the ship's voyage around the world on 14th November. Initially hoping to set off between 30th November and 5th December the journey is delayed by bad weather. During the period that this journal covers the ship did not leave the coast of England and McCormick spent a lot of time on shore. He records several visits to the naval hospital at Plymouth and a visit to see Dr Armstrong's collection of minerals on 29th September. He also records that on 26th September he wrote to Captain FitzRoy with a list suggesting a suppy of materials for preserving objects of natural history. Although Charles Darwin was on the ship at the same time as McCormick, McCormick does not mention any other officers, crew or scientists appointed to the ship in this journal.

(3) Journal of a voyage to South America, 27 December, 1831 to 18 June, 1832. Record of McCormick's time on board HMS Beagle. Mainly comprises a record of the journey via St Iago, Quail Island, St Paul's Island, Fernando de Noronha, Pernambuco, Abrolhos Islands and Rio de Janeiro. McCormick provides descriptions of the terrain, scenery, wild life, botany and geology of the places they visit. There are accounts of shooting trips and excursions and his ornithological observations. Whilst recording that he collects rocks, minerals, shells and plants he does not mention any other collectors or natural historians on board the ship. There is little information of a medical nature in this journal. Whilst at Boto-Fogo Bay, Rio de Janeiro, McCormick reports that on the 24th April 1832 he leaves the Beagle (pp.29-30). He goes to Praia Grenada and on 28th April he boards HMS Tyne to join her for a passage back to England. His journal records frequent dining with the Captain but is otherwise brief. McCormick does not elaborate on the reasons for his leaving the Beagle.

These MSS. are in a paper wrapping, with title as given above, this is initialled and dated August 1877.



Physical description

62 pp. + 1 bl. l. + 6 ll. + 5 ll. + 36 pp. + 1 bl. l. 8vo. 19 x 12 cm. Unbound.

Acquisition note

Presented 1907.

Finding aids

Database description transcribed from S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973).


  • English

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