1842 September 14
Darwin, Emma, and the children, move to Down House amid labor riots in the streets of London.

1842 September 23
Mary Eleanor Darwin was born, but died on 18 October.

1842 October 14
Darwin began working on part two of his Geological Observations series - "Volcanic Islands."

1842 Fall & Winter
About the next six months were spent making changes to Down House. Some of the rooms had to be fixed up, garden walls were built, and barrier trees planted. A nearby road (Luxted Road) that passed by the house had to be made lower so passers by would not be able to look inside the house. Darwin even had a mirror put outside his study window so he could see when visitors were coming to the house.

1843 February
Now fancying himself a "country gentleman/naturalist," Darwin started his General Aspects diary in which he described the natural beauty of the area, describing local plants, animals, and insects, and making notes on their changes in habits from season to season.

1843 July 12
Emma's father, Josiah Wedgwood II, died. Darwin and Emma attended the funeral at Maer, and then visited The Mount at Shrewsbury.

1843 July 26
In a letter to George Waterhouse Darwin hinted at his belief in transmutation. He was replying to Waterhouse's questions on animal classification methods. In a very bold move, Darwin stated in no uncertain terms that the classification of species should be done according to their genealogical relationship based upon common descent.

1843 September 25
Darwin's health was finally starting to improve. Another daughter, Henrietta Darwin, was born, and more good news, the Zoology of the Beagle Voyage was completed!

The five volumes of the Zoology were -

Part 1: Fossils.
Part 2: Mammals.
Part 3: Birds.
Part 4: Fish.
Part 5: Reptiles.

1843 Winter
Darwin gave a new friend of his, Joseph Dalton Hooker, the opportunity to examine and catalogue the plants he brought back from Tierra del Fuego. Hooker showed great enthusiasm in his work with the plants and this did not escape the attention of Darwin, who at this time was looking for naturalists who may be sympathetic to his revolutionary ideas.

1844 January 11
Impressed with Joseph Hooker's work on the Tierra del Fuego plants, Darwin took a giant risk and confided in him about his transmutation theories. Hooker's reaction was one of guarded enthusiasm, but he was eager to hear more about it. Darwin was pleasantly surprised.

1844 February
At long last Darwin was free to discuss his transmutation theories with a fellow naturalist, and in a short time he adopted Hooker as a research assistant. Within a matter of weeks Hooker was combing the libraries and museums of London, digging up obscure botanical facts and recommending books for Darwin to read.

1844 Spring
The rough transmutation sketch that Darwin worked on at Shrewsbury was fleshed out some more and he sent the 189 page manuscript to the local Downe schoolmaster for editing. By now his transmutation theory had developed into a sort of self correcting feed-back loop, in which animals and plants remain unmodified until the environment changes. When changes took place the members of a species with traits that gave them a slight advantage in the new environment gained more reproductive success. Over eons of time this process resulted in one species transmutating into another.

1844 July 5
Perhaps fearing poor health would get the better of him, Darwin wrote an "In the event of my sudden death" letter to his wife, Emma. He requested that she put £400 towards the publication of his essay and promote its publication. The essay was to be given to a capable person, along with all his books and notes on the subject. As far as an editor was concern, Darwin felt that Lyell would by far be the best choice, seeing how he was both a geologist and naturalist. Other candidates included Edward Forbes, Professor of Botany at King's College in London, or his old friend Revd. John Stevens Henslow at Cambridge.

1844 Fall
Darwin started to write his book: "Geological Observations on South America" which spelled out his theory of how the Andes Mountains were pushed upwards by slow geological forces over a very long period of time.

1844 late September
The edited copy of the transmutation sketch was sent back to Darwin and it had grown to 231 pages. For the very first time he showed the sketch to Emma, expecting the worst. Surprisingly, her response to it was not as bad as he thought it would be. She expressed concern about various assumptions he was making, suggested a few corrections here and there, but for the most part her reaction appeared to have been quite reserved.

1844 October
"Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" was published by British naturalist, Robert Chambers. This was the book that brought the notion of transmutation out into the public arena. It attempted to described the entire evolution of the universe, from planets to people, as being driven by some kind of self developing force which acted according to natural laws. The book was written more for the poor working class of England, rather than the scientific elite, for it appealed to their desire to "evolve" beyond their wretched economic circumstances. Unfortunately, it received widespread criticism because it went against the old scientific school of thought which said that species can only be modified by the divine hand of god. Despite the harsh criticism, Vestiges sold very well.

1844 October
Darwin told his friend, Revd. Leonard Jenyns, his basic ideas about transmutation, but he received a poor response from him. Jenyns saw species as static; there was no progress or change. Perhaps at this time Darwin felt ready to send out feelers and see if any other naturalists would come to his side. Little did he know that it would be nearly nine years before another naturalist would join him.

1845 February
Hooker was invited to be a substitute professor of botany at Edinburgh University for the upcoming spring term. Darwin had by now become very dependent upon Hooker as an assistant so this news disheartened him a great deal.

1845 March
Darwin purchased a 325 acre farm in Lincolnshire as an investment for about £12,500. It was called Beesby Farm, and was located thirty miles directly east of Lincoln, about three miles north from the village of Alford.

1845 July 9
Another son, George Darwin, was born. Darwin started working on a revised edition of his Journal of Researches. This edition included a new section in which he commented on the disgusting and reprehensible nature of slavery.

1845 December
Hooker came to Down House and Darwin picked his brains for data on plant distribution. He became a regular visitor to the house, sometimes staying up to a week at a time.

1846 January 12
Darwin rented a small parcel of land from his neighbor, John Lubbock. On this 1.5 acre strip of land he created his famous "Sandwalk" which was to become his thinking path during his morning and afternoon strolls.

1846 February
Joseph Dalton Hooker, now back in London from Edinburgh University, became botanist for the Geological Survey at Charing Cross.

1846 September
"Geological Observations on South America" was now complete.

1846 October
Descriptions of the Beagle specimens are now complete, except for one species of barnacle. Darwin was anxious to get back to work on transmutation and figured he could put together a description of this barnacle in short order. Little did he know that the study of this barnacle would explode into perhaps the most intensive research project of his life, spanning nearly eight years.

1846 November
Darwin became consumed with barnacle research, and soon had naturalists from all over the world sending him their collections to examine. He toyed with the idea of publishing a grand work on barnacles, as such a study was very much needed by the scientific community. However, there were ulterior motives for publishing such a treatise; Darwin felt that he needed to establish himself as an expert on species variations before he published his transmutation work, and the humble barnacle would do the trick.

1847 late January
Hooker read Darwin's 231 page essay on transmutation. He had difficulty accepting the idea that new species were derived from previous ones. He opted for a continual divine creation of new species as others died out. Nevertheless, he pointed out sections of the essay that needed clarification, and those parts that were not easy to understand.

After reading the essay Hooker informed Darwin that he was planning a voyage to the tropics. Being more dependent on Hooker than ever before, Darwin did not like this plan one bit.

1847 March to April
Darwin was by this time continuously ill.

1847 late June
Hooker attended the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting at Oxford. Darwin wanted to get as much feedback as possible from Hooker before he left for the tropics, so he went to Oxford with his essay in hand to asked Hooker more questions. He again pointed out key areas of the essay where his theory seemed to need work and gave general editorial advice.

1847 July 8
Another daughter, Elizabeth Darwin, was born.

1847 late August
Darwin's father, Dr. Robert Darwin, was now quite ill. Darwin went to Shrewsbury to see his father, but while there his illness flared up again and he spent most of his time resting on the sofa in the living room.

1847 early November
Hooker left for the tropics.

1847 Fall
Darwin shelved his transmutation essay because with Hooker away there was no one to provide him with feedback and guidance. Also, his barnacle research was still blooming out of control and needed much attention.

1848 late March
Darwin discovered a very odd barnacle in which the female of the species had microscopic male counterparts which acted as parasites attached to the female. Darwin was fascinated by this curious union. How did it come to be?

1848 August 16
Darwin and Emma had another son, Francis Darwin. Darwin spent the entire summer on barnacle work. Stomach convulsions and sickness took their toll as well.

1848 November 13
Dr. Robert Darwin died at The Mount, Shrewsbury. Darwin was so ill at the time he could not attend his father's funeral.

1848 late in the year
Darwin's health was becoming much worse, with new symptoms showing up. He was experiencing bouts of depression, dizziness, seeing spots before his eyes, and twitching spells. He feared he was going to die soon. Due to his increased illness the barnacle research was proceeding at a snails pace.

1849 March 8
An old Beagle companion, Bartholomew Sulivan, recommended to Darwin that he should try Dr. James Gully's Water Cure spa as a treatment for his illness. The theory behind taking the water cure was that the immersion of one's body in cold water drew the blood away from the inflamed nerves of the stomach, thus calming the nerves and eliminating any problems in that area. Darwin studied up on the subject and thought it was pure nonsense, but he went anyway.

The whole family packed their bags and moved up to Great Malvern for a two month stay. They took rooms at The Lodge on Worcester Road just outside of town. Darwin was put on a daily routine that went as follows: get up early in the morning for a walk, have breakfast, get scrubbed with a cold wet towel for a short time, walk for twenty minutes and wear a cold wet towel compress all day long. After a short afternoon dinner, take a nap, get another cold water bath and scrubbing, and then go for another walk, finishing off with supper at 6:00. He also took homeopathic medicines, of which Darwin had no faith in what-so-ever.

1849 middle of April
The water cure seemed to have worked. Darwin was able to go on long walks every day and was quite happy. Within a short time he was eager to get back to his barnacle work.

1849 June 30
Having been pronounced nearly cured, Darwin returned to Down House and immediately went back to his barnacles. During the summer he had a water cure bath setup in the backyard. He would sit under a forty gallon water tank and pull a cord which would released freezing cold water through a pipe onto himself.

1849 all year
Darwin continued his barnacle work and determined that the barnacle family was related to crabs and lobsters. By now he had received so many specimens from naturalists around the world that he was up to his ears in barnacles.

1850 January 15
Emma and Darwin had another son, Leonard Darwin. Darwin now felt quite well, but he continued his water treatments in the backyard, just to be on the safe side.

1850 late June
At around this time Annie started to complain of feeling sick. Darwin worried that she may have inherited his illness. The family took Annie on a trip to Ramsgate for sea bathing treatmnents, and afterwards she took the water cure in the backyard. This seems to have done much good for Annie. Work on barnacles continued month after month.

1851 March 24
Annie's illness flared up again, and Darwin took his daughter to stay at Gully's Water Cure spa in Great Malvern. They stayed at Montreal House on Worcester Road. Initial treatment seemed to do much good for her.

1851 April 17
Annie started to become more seriously ill.

1851 April 23
Annie Darwin died, and was buried at Great Malvern.

1851 November
Darwin decided to no longer take the water cure in his backyard facility.

1852 all year
The entire year was spent on examining barnacles.

1853 April
Darwin met Thomas Huxley at a meeting of the Geological Society in London. At the time Huxley was out of a job, short on money and desperate for a position in the scientific community. He was by now an accomplished naturalist, having served on H.M.S. Rattlesnake as a surgeon and naturalist from 1846 to 1850. Despite this experience, none of the universities would hire him. During this time Huxley became friends with Herbert Spencer, and they spent many an hour discussing evolution and its relation to man.

1853 November 30
Charles Darwin received the Royal Medal of the Royal Society, the highest honor the society could bestow on a scientist. The medal was awarded for his three volume work on the geology of the Beagle voyage, and for his barnacle research currently in progress. Darwin leaped for joy at this news and was very proud that his peers had come to esteem his work so highly.

1854 Spring
Bolstered by all the new talk of evolution and progress, Darwin joined the Philosophical Club in London with the intention of seeking out naturalists that may be sympathetic to his transmutation theories. The club was being filled with a younger generation of naturalists, many of whom had been writing papers on the topic of evolution, but they were all conjectural. A comprehensive explanation of how evolution worked was still entirely unknown.

1854 September
The second edition of Barnacles was now in print.

1854 December 7
With his barnacle research out of the way, Darwin went back to work on transmutation.

1854 December
At last Darwin figured out how populations split off into separate species. Using the industrial revolution as a metaphor, he saw that populations of animals, like industry, expand and specialize to fit into niches with competition acting as the driving force. He saw nature as the ultimate "factory." However, Darwin preferred not to make much of this metaphor because it seemed to depend more on economic principles rather than pure science.

1855 March
One of the mysteries Darwin thought a lot about was how species spread to other land masses - particularly islands like the Galapagos. One of the popular explanations at the time was the "sunken land bridge" hypothesis of Edward Forbes. Darwin had doubts about land bridges in the middle of the ocean, and set out to show that plants and animals could "float" their way to distant lands. He experimented with plant seeds, soaking them in sea water for up to months at a time, and then planted them. To the surprise of his fellow naturalists, nearly all of them germinated! He then corresponded with inhabitants of far off islands, asking them to examine the shoreline for any seeds or plants not native to the island. He was surprised to find that in some cases seed pods had floated thousands of miles across the ocean to the shores of distant islands. Darwin also recruited the help of British survey vessels - asking them if they ever noticed floating "land rafts" with animals on them, and this too was confirmed.

1855 Spring
In order to get hands on experience with species variations, Darwin became caught up in the extremely popular avocation of breeding fancy pigeons. He studied their habits, experimented with cross breeding and back breeding, and kept meticulous notes on his observations.

1856 April 22 - 26
Darwin invited Thomas Huxley (naturalist and lecturer at the London School of Mines), Joseph Hooker (botanical naturalist), John Lubbock (banker, politician, and his next door neighbor) and Thomas Wollaston (a leading entomologist) to Down House for a special meeting. After showing off his gardens and fancy pigeons, Darwin interviewed each of his friends one by one in his private study. He put forth his basic ideas on transmutation and asked them several questions regarding their views on the subject. Only Wollaston, it seems, disagreed with Darwin. He held fast to the commonly held belief that species were fixed in time. Darwin was testing the waters of the scientific and political community in order to gauge how his transmutation work, once published, would be viewed.

1856 late Spring
Charles Lyell received a package from a young promising naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace who at the time was doing natural history research at the Malay Archipelago. The package contained a twenty page paper titled: "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species." Lyell was intrigued by this paper because it contained ideas of transmutation that were similar to the ones Darwin had been working on for the past twenty years. He showed the paper to Darwin, but he was not too impressed with it.

1856 April 13
Lyell was invited to Down House, and Darwin gave him an update on his transmutation work, telling him about his theory of natural selection. Although he did not agree with transmutation in general, (he feared the consequences if it was applied to humans); Lyell urged Darwin to publish his work.

1856 May 14
Darwin started working on a short essay on his theory of natural selection.

1856 December 6
Emma and Darwin had another son, Charles Waring Darwin.

1857 April 22
Darwin was exhausted from his work on natural selection and needed a good rest. He spends two weeks at Dr. Edward Lane's Hydropathic Establishment at Moor Park in Farnham, just west of Guildford.

1857 June 16
After a relapse, Darwin headed back to Dr. Lane's Hydropathic Spa for another two weeks.

1857 July
Darwin was still working on his essay, and just finished with the chapter on species variation. The "short essay" was quickly turning into a proper book.

1857 September 5
Darwin sent an outline of his theory of natural selection to Asa Gray, professor of natural history at Harvard University.

1857 December 22
Darwin replied to a letter that Wallace sent him on 27 September. He praised Wallace for his dedication to natural science, and for his work on the distribution of species. Darwin also told Wallace he will not discuss the topic of man's origins, even though it would be of highest interest to naturalists. Darwin pointed out that he had been working on the problem of species origins for twenty years, but would not publish for a few years yet.

1858 March
By this time the chapter on natural selection was about 65% complete. The book had grown to ten chapters and Darwin feared it may end up being a huge volume that no one would ever take the time to read.

1858 April 20
Work on the natural selection book was wearing him down again, so Darwin headed back to Dr. Lane's Spa for yet another two weeks.

1858 June 18
Darwin received a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace, who was still at the Malay Archipelago. The paper was titled: "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type." Darwin was shocked! Wallace had come up with a theory of natural selection that was very similar to his own. The paper contained concepts like "the struggle for existence," and "the transmutation of species."

Upon further examination Darwin saw that Wallace had some ideas about natural selection that he did not agree with. For one thing, Wallace tried to mix social morality with natural selection, proposing an upward evolution of human morals which would eventually lead to a socialist utopia (Darwin's natural selection had no goal). What's more, Wallace believed that cooperation in groups aided in the progress of mankind (Darwin saw natural selection as being influenced by competition). Finally, Wallace's natural selection was guided by a higher spiritual power (there was no divine intervention in Darwin's version).

1858 June 28
Darwin's son, Charles Waring Darwin, died.

1858 July 1
On this date Charles Darwin first went public about his views on the evolution of species. The papers of Darwin and Wallace were read at a meeting of the Linnean Society in London. The following were read at the Society meeting:

(1) Extracts from two sections of Darwin's 1839 manuscript on species variation, titled "The Variation of Organic Beings under Domestication and in their Natural State," and "On the Variation of Organic Beings in the State of Nature; on the Natural Means of Selection; on the Comparison of Domestic Races and true Species."

(2) An abstract from a letter Darwin wrote to Professor Asa Gray of Harvard in September 1857 that again stated his views on species variation.

(3) The essay that Wallace wrote at Ternate Island in the Malay Archipelago in February 1858, titled - "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart indefinitely from the Original Type."

The reaction to this meeting was a mixture of shock, excitement, and stunned silence.

1858 July 20
The Darwin family went on holiday to the Island of Wight. Seeing that his book had grown to huge proportions, Darwin started writing a shorter abstract of it.

1859 middle of March
Joseph Hooker spent a great deal of time reading over Darwin's 1858 abstract on natural selection, providing a lot of editorial advice.

1859 October 1
Darwin was finally finished with proofs of the abstract amid great illness. John Murray Publishers set a publication date of late November.

1859 early October
Wanting to get as far away from London as possible, Darwin went off to Ilkley Spa in Yorkshire to "ride out the storm" that his book would likely create, and to treat his ill health.

1859 November 2
While at Ilkley Spa Darwin received an early copy of his book, "On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection."

The title for "Origins" went through a few changes while it was being written:

-- An Abstract of an Essay on the Origin of Species and Varieties through Natural Selection.
-- On the Origin of Species and Varieties by means of Natural Selection.
-- On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection.