In The Voyage of the Beagle Darwin condemns the treatment of slaves in Chile, arguing that

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In _The Voyage of the Beagle_ Darwin condemns the treatment of slaves in Chile, arguing that they are people just like anyone else. He specifically speaks against racism. ===================================================================== Gould writes of Darwin's relationship with Fitzroy, the captain of the _Beagle_, in "Darwin's Sea Change" in _Ever Since Darwin_ (page 32): Darwin and Fitzroy maintained a tense relationship at best. Only the severe constraints of gentlemanly cordiality and pre-Victorian suppresiion of emotion kept the two men on decent terms with each other. Fitzroy was a martinet and an ardent Tory. Darwin was an equally committed Whig. Darwin scrupulously avoided any discussion with Fitzroy of the great Reform Bill then pending in Parliament. But slavery brought them into open conflict. One evening, Fitzroy told Darwin that he had witnessed proof of slavery's benevolence. One of Brazil's largest slaveholders had assembled his captives and asked them whether they wished to be freed. Unanimously, they had responded "no." When Darwin had the temerity to wonder what a response made in the owner's presence was worth, Fitzroy exploded and informed Darwin that anyone who doubted his word was not fit to eat with him. Darwin moved out and joined the mates, but Fitzroy backed down and sent a formal apology a few days later. [End of extract] So Darwin was certainly no lapdog to, what would today be considered, racist attitudes towards slavery. It seems likely that he was an opponent of slavery. (Anyone familiar with his autobiography or other writings that could confirm or refute this?) He probably had typical ideas of his day about Europeans being superior to Asians, Africans and New World natives, but he was probably, by our standards, relatively enlightened. (Of course, this is largely conjecture on my part. Anyone got something more concrete to support or undermine this?)


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