Sutton echoes Milton Wainwright’s assertion that there must have been a copy of Matthew’s book aboard the Beagle because of the mission it was given, to document timber resources encountered while surveying coastlines during its voyage. Sutton writes in his 2014 ebook,
[Wainwright] finds it highly unlikely that the Beagle would not have had a copy of NTA on board …Darwin’s own work on the Beagle included observations on issues of arboricultural significance. We know this from the work of Captain S. E. Cook (1839), who wrote about it in the Gardener’s Chronicle under the title The Arboriculture of the Voyage of Captains King and Fitzroy. Therein, Cook mentions Darwin many times.
which draws on this from Wainwright (2011),
It is noteworthy that one of the main purposes of Captain Fitzroy’s command of the Beagle voyage was to study the arboriculture of the countries visited with a view to discovering where in the world British warships and merchant vessels might take on board wood for repairs (Cook, 1839). It is possible therefore that Captain Fitzroy may have taken a copy of Matthew’s Naval Timbers and Arboriculture with him on the Beagle; if this was the case then Darwin would have had ample time to learn of Matthew’s views on natural selection.
To appreciate the absurd amount of extrapolation in the absence of evidence, going on in these individuals’ minds, this is Howard Minnick’s (an equally deluded sidekick) interpretation related to Sutton,
[Dempster] was in contact with a professor from a University in New Zealand who was investigating the possibility that there may have been as many as 3 of Matthew’s books aboard the Beagle with the strongest possibility of the Ships Doctor / Naturalist being the most likely and that it probably stayed aboard with the rest of his personal library despite the poor gentleman taking sick and being left behind at Monte Video. Darwin’s ensuing closeness to the Captain as the voyage and exploration progressed certainly could have led to access without having to stretch the imagination. …
Wainwright cites Capt. S.E. Cook, R.N. who wrote a piece for Loudon’s “Gardener’s Magazine, And Register Of Rural And Domestic Improvement” on “The Arboriculture of the Voyage of Captains King and Fitzroy to the Straits of Magellan and Terra del Fuego”. Sutton repeats this citation. Wainwright asserts that the piece by Cook places arboriculture central to the Beagle’s mission, and Sutton asserts that related activities were to occupy Darwin. Sutton knows this because, it was evidently a passion of his (no basis for this, anymore than saying primroses were), and “Cook mentions Darwin many times”,
All this is easily checked.
The remainder of this post is taken up reproducing both the article by Cook, and the orders for the Beagle voyage as given to Fitzroy, and included in his part of the subsequently published account: both the book by Fitzroy and the article by Cook were published in 1839. The reason for my going to these lengths in making these already open access documents immediately available to you, is to go to every effort to save you the exertion that seems to be thwarting everyone else (tl:dr). An additional reason, is that I want you to be sure in your mind that when I raise an accusation in the following paragraphs, it is done so, fully in possession of the details required to give it foundation. My caution here is simply that, most of Sutton’s mistakes appear to have been just that, stupid and careless, but mistakes nonetheless. Can we say that any particular researcher’s mistakes are honest? Only if that person is qualified to carry out the work, usually by having attended courses, sat exams, completed dissertations, etc.. This is clearly not the case, Sutton is clueless, therefore he must accept responsibility in causing those errors.
Contrary to the claims of Wainwright, there is no suggestion that arboriculture was a main purpose of the Beagle voyage because there is no mention made of such an order within Fitzroy’s Instructions. The evidence contradicts those claims, and there is no suggestion as claimed by Sutton, that Darwin was allocated work to make arboreal observations. We can confidently assume this to be the case, because everything he did is otherwise was well documented in his own notes, and such observations do not appear. Significantly, Cook does not mention Darwin “many times“, calling into question Sutton’s ability to carry out the most basic fact checking and literature referencing. Darwin is mentioned by name just twice. Remind me how Sutton achieved his teaching position in a university?
Knowingly citing a source having not checked that it contains the information being asserted is a form of fraud, and one of the conditions specified by COPE, The Committee on Publication Ethics, that qualifies a paper for retraction. Retraction of published material is only expected in extreme cases, with serious consequences for all involved. It is sadly unavoidable here; responsibility for protecting the literature record much take precedence over personal humiliation. Undeniably, we have now moved from any possibility that the part claimed to have been played by Matthew’s book being aboard the Beagle arose through, “honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error)”, into the far more serious realm of “data fabrication” and citation abuse. While we might have accorded some leniency for inept research and belligerence, it is not possible to accommodate fraudulent misconduct. It is deceitful and at odds with the scientific ethos.
NTU must act to intervene in these activities of their staff member. A reminder that they are very much involved: named on every publication, in every one of his biographies within publications, associated with publications, written about publications, as well as taking centre stage in his talks: at the James Hutton Institute, at the Edinburgh Science Festival, at the Conway Hall, etc. Pretty much a nationwide advert for academia at NTU, clearly pushing the message, “Where data fabrication is accepted!”, or is that, “expected”?
Moving on, the first document below, is Cook’s “The Arboriculture of the Voyage of Captains King and Fitzroy”. Thereafter, Fitzroy’s “Instructions” follows immediately. To reiterate, in this document, you are looking for instances of “Darwin” (hint: contrary to Sutton’s claim, that “Cook mentions Darwin many times”, Darwin is mentioned by name just twice — you can use your page SEARCH to find them, the full text has been provided for that facility in mind).
Note with interest, that Cook is under the impression that Darwin was identified as a naturalist, from the outset (“… Mr. Darwin, who accompanied the expedition at the desire of Captain Fitzroy to have a regular naturalist attached, …“), and not later as a consequence of usurping the rôle the official naturalist, until he was forced to be put ashore. This has been adequately handled by van Wyhe (2013 “My appointment received the sanction of the Admiralty”: why Charles Darwin really was the naturalist on HMS Beagle. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci. 44(3):316-26. doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.03.022) and needs only noting as yet another fabrication by Sutton.
The only place Cook could have reasonably obtained this information is either by knowing Fitzroy or another naval officer, or from the mission directives sent to Fitzroy in preparation for the voyage. These are reproduced here in their entirety, as they appear from page 22 to 40 in FitzRoy’s 1839 account of the “Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-36”. This time, you are seeking any connection of tree surveys with the official commands for the expedition. There are none, but again, it is better that you see for yourself. The SEARCH terms you might try this time are words like, “tree”, “timber”, “wood”, “arboreal”, “arboriculture”, “silviculture”, etc..
Interesting that the admiralty mentioned, “a very interesting inquiry might be instituted respecting the formation of these coral reefs“, which is on of the many contributions Darwin made, and for which he made his name in geology long before turning to transmutation. However, notably, not a single reference to anything arboreal. Remember, specific claims have been made on the basis of specific evidence, but that evidence does not exist. It might have been an unwritten expectation for a captain to include shoreline forestation in their surveys, but it is not stipulated, and cannot be assumed. Similarly, the closest that might be presumed to suggest timber is, “the general resources on which ships may depend in different places“, but again, it is not specific, and if usual practise, then it does not follow, the captain suddenly stocking up on new titles for something he did routinely.
There is one other comment that we might take note of, and that is within Cook’s report, that certainly cover’s the topic of timber, which seems to contradict the lack of formal orders, until we realise, any timber surveying was carried out by crew members, in addition to their official responsibilities,
We have now extracted the principal heads of the information afforded us by those officers who very fortunately found time, amid their most multitudinous avocations, to attend to a subject of such interest as the trees of the countries they visited. Probably many of our readers will be surprised when they are told that a regular botanist (Mr. Anderson) formed a part of the expedition, and that, his collections being sent to the British Museum, Captain Fitzroy, who edited the work in Captain King’s absence, was led to expect that “a first-rate botanist” would report upon them : but, up to the time of the publication, nothing of the kind had been done, and the public was left without this most necessary and desirable information. Who is to blame in this extraordinary’ history ? The officers, by no means ; who, doubtless, only obeyed the orders given to them. The Admiralty, who, we may presume, issued the orders ? Not at all.
We know it not to be the fault of the Admiralty, because Cook assumes wrongly that there were official orders for timber surveying, unless they were a part of the first expedition, and intended to apply to subsequent missions. However, if this is the case, there was little provision to accommodate timber surveying, as the work was carried out, above and beyond, other responsibilities, and the sole botanist is not identified as having had a timber surveying rôle.
It must be kept in mind that on this, the Beagle’s second trip with Darwin on board, the mission was specifically for hydrographic survey, focussing on features of offshore and coastline that influence navigation. Hence the mentions of soundings for depth, and chronometer for longitude (they carried twenty-two chronometers, as a self-regulating system) and great importance was put on this part of the mission. As a result, they produced the first circumnavigation of known longitude, by which other ships could adjust their chronometers. For more information, Sobel’s Longitude is an obvious start (telling the tale of Lincolnshire clockmaker John Harrison and his quest to invent a reliably seaworthy chronometer. The Beagle carried none of Harrison’s pieces; the price had dropped considerably in the 55 years since he had died) and all the pieces came from different makers.
It has to be concluded that, whilst timber may have been noted with respect to ongoing repairs, as one of the, “resources on which ships may depend”, or the location of trees as points of navigation, especially near ports, there is no existing document that supports the claim, there would have been, one, or many, copies of Matthew’s book aboard the Beagle.