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Pacific book trains radio sketches of men and women whose lives illustrate times and places south of the equator in the Pacific. When was the earth created. What is the design. What are species what why. It is in these waters that our answer lies in this old on plane the ocean we shall find the key to life itself. They are.
Go. Program three in a series of Pacific portraits produced by radio station WAGA at the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now speaking to you from Auckland New Zealand here is the planner and writer of the series Professor John Reed in the achievements of those who accepted the challenge of the newly revealed Pacific Ocean. We see the gradual emergence of a whole set of new societies new common wheels and of a new way of life. The building of this antipodean life is the thread we follow as we move down our gallery of portraits and the weavers of this thread took their place at the great loom as occasion demanded. First the eagle eyed explorers cook at their head. Next the sealers and whalers rendering down the seas in their cauldrons. Next the pioneers willing a world from the forests and then the law
givers whittling down the rough edges of new society. And then at the last the scientists extending through the southern seas the horizons of knowledge. And it is the greatest of these scientists. Charles Darwin whose portrait we now sketch in words taken from his own writings. The world was becoming a friendly place. No longer a forest peopled with shadows and ogres in the 17th and 18th centuries explorers rolled back the mists shouting the unknown regions peered into Africa's heart of darkness and drove the mermaids from the map of the Pacific but into the nineteenth century strode explorers of a different stamp confused the dories of the mind seeking new lands
but new facts obsessed with the charting of islands but with the dissecting of nature's secret heart in this golden age of scientific voyages no ship reaped a richer harvest than the Beagle The Beagle Hound of the sea whose leash lay in the hand of mild Charles Darwin. And as Cook's voyages had changed man's chart of the Pacific Darwin's were to change his map of the entire universe. When was the world created. How old are the mountains. How did new life forms arise. What are the links between animal and animal and between they had a Moses and man. These were the questions men asked themselves and the Orthodox secure in their orthodoxy chanted their complacent responses. Give us a for instance. Every geological epoch has been marked off by a cataclysm just wiped away all existing life and has been followed by a special
creation which has provided new life and improved forms and Lamarck. There are no species only individuals. We can however group individuals according to their structure. Organs arise with use and disappear with tissues and Archbishop Usher. Nobody can doubt that on the evidence offered us in the Bible the earth was created in four thousand then four b c cold unhandy answers these for the restless spirits of the NE US. Good to happen. Lyle and Erasmus Darwin ignoring the confident chorus. They peer deep into the class of things murmuring to themselves what is the design. When was the earth created. What species how did the organs of the body develop. How are the animals related to these questionings where as the notes of a grand trumpet summoning the daring of heart seeking the very meaning of life
itself venture some Germans meditative Englishman dressed not in bright uniforms but in sober gray and black and bearing calipers and test tubes in place of pistols and cutlasses chart of the coasts of the mind subdued continents of knowledge broke the old cosmological mosaic and in its place fitted together a startling new design and behind them washed the long white rollers of the Pacific Ocean. It is in these waters he said Our answer lies the familiar seas are one smooth sailing in this old unclaimed ocean we shall find the key to life itself. The earth was created in 4000 B.C. the palimpsest of the Pacific reads otherwise. As the voyages learned to con the lines written on the pages of the Southern Ocean they saw Infin and vertebra gland and feather nature and time in a startling new light. This draft of fresh truth was lifted from the
sea in the cupped hands of a gangling young Englishman Charles Darwin. It all began in December 1831 when Captain Robert Fitzroy sought a naturalist for the beagle. My dear Professor Henslow I have been placed in command of the Beagle led ten gun brig commission to survey the shores of Patagonia in Chile Peru and some islands of the Pacific. Is there a young man of your acquaintance alerts curious and qualified to examine the land who would be prepared to sail with me as an unpaid observer. There was Charles Darwin aged twenty two plain in appearance rather slow
in manner deliberate and thought. Few people felt that he showed much promise but Henslow professor of botany and Darwin's teacher saw in him the outlines of a great scientist. So in December 1831 Darwin set forth from Davenport on the Beagle sales bellying in the wind of hope and the greatest adventure of his life and the most memorable expedition of his century. Gloria in excelsis is the only moderate beginning I can think of. What a glorious day this twenty seventh of December is for me my second life commences now and it shall be a birthday for the rest of my days. But he was no seasoned sailor of the breed of Cook and Bligh Mr. Darwin finds the sea more troublesome than he expected. We have encountered several storms since Davenport so have seen little of our naturalists. The seamen have nicknamed fearless short for philosophy. Cabin is so tiny that my hammock must be slung over the chart table and to fit
my long legs. I have had to remove the top drawer in my clothes chest but I find that despite the agony of perpetual seasickness if I stay horizontal I can use my eyes and Lyle's book on geology absorbs me the concurrence of Henslowe the gift of a revolutionary text entry Alatri and of Darwin seeks sadness seemed part of a design as the unhappy sailor swung in his hammock on the wave whilst beagle the voice of the unorthodox lion whispered his heresies into a willing ear. No causes whatever from the earliest times to the present have ever acted. But those now are acting and they have never acted with different degrees of energy from which they now exist. The idea is that in the processes of wind rain and earth going on around us lay the clue to the understanding of the globes past history burnt its slow searing way into the mind of Darwin.
The earth has changed but not by divine cataclysm it has been shaped by the Jessel of frost wind and rain. The vice of earthquake and volcano. It was created. But was it was it is not geological time much much. And what of man himself. As the Beagle bounded from Tenerife to the Cape Verde archipelago to Montevideo and by a Blanca Darwin pondered these exciting questions and his eyes became dangerously alert and sent a hug oh a perfectly horizontal white band in the face of the Sea Cliff May be seen running for some miles at a height of about 40 feet on climbing up I found to my surprise
that this white streak consists of calcareous matter with numerous sea shows imbedded. The island has clearly been raised using the new eyes Lyle had lent him. Darwin had leaped across the chasm of ignorance concerning the earth's growth. The first Y was on the way to meeting its answer but otherwise still beat like a toxin in his brain under the microscope of his eye the fantastic variety of nature flamed its consuming witness. I was much interested in the octopus. These animals escaped detection by a very extraordinary chameleon like power of changing their color clouds varying intent between a hyacinth red and a chestnut brown continually. The elegancies of the grass roots in the Brazilian forest. The novelty of the parasitical
plants. The glossy green of the foliage and the paradoxical mixture of sound and silence. Feeling. This day. Found a specimen of the curious fungus like the English one which in autumn it taints the air with its odious smell to some of our beetles however a delightful fragrance. And so it was here for a beetle attracted by the odor alighted on the fungus I carried in my hand. We see in two distinct countries then a similar reaction between plants and insects of the same family is faintly very faintly beneath nature's scribbled lines the curves of a pattern are beginning to emerge. Everything in gauge his attention to perhaps this wasp stinging a spider to death. Humming birds with invisible vibrating wings. The deer with the horrible stench which the skin held 18 months after naked Indians and sweating blacks in the Chilean mine
rocks birds animals insects reptiles fossils men Mr. Darwin's collection is beginning to be a matter of concern. The decks of the Beagle are crowded with crates cask plants rocks reptiles hundreds of spiders. Mr. Wakem in charge of the deck complains often of the damned beastly devilment. But while we grumble that's right I wondered. And the crew amused themselves jesting at the zealous young fearless hard facts were coming together like iron filings in the lines of force from Darwin's mind. ALICE. Ever a geological one is marked off by a cataclysm which sweeps away all existing life. No no I cannot see it like that. A single type has perhaps spread out over a wide area and in the course of time differentiated itself to cope with different environments.
After each catastrophe a frustration that provides new models. No no. On the east and west sides of the Andes soil and climate are much the same. Yet the vegetation is markedly different. Why should the creator introduce an abrupt change at a mountain barrier. Not only the dead bones of animals but the living bodies of man intrigued him. The natives of Waco the Indians above all the gauchos. There is high enjoyment in the independence of the gaucho life to be able at any moment to pull up your horse and say here we will pass the night the deathlike stillness of the place the dogs keeping watch the gypsy group of gauchos making music around the fire.
These have left in my mind a picture that will never be forgotten. But man's place in the universe was a problem too big for the present. Looking at the great parchment of the Andes as he rolled and smoked interminable Gulch of cigarettes the lanky Englishman saw what others had merely looked at. The world is no more than 6000 years old. Read Charles Darwin read the lines on the palm of the enemies. One day I observed on a bare slope some snow white projecting columns bounding towards them. I found to my delight that they were petrified trees 11 calcified in about 40 crystallized into a white spot. What a marvelous story this scene unfolded. A story of trees once waving their branches on the shores of the Atlantic. Now seven hundred miles away
of layers of lava and sand over millions of years and of the exertion of subterranean forces. So that I now beheld the bed of that ocean forming a chain of mountains more than 7000 feet in height. Bishop Ussher's four thousand and four b.c. was reduced to an absurdity. A new naturalism and a new geology were arising from the time packed straighter and hot blue haze of the Pacific. First my astonishment at the number of animals in many of these creatures were explicit in their forms and rich colors. Look at this Captain Fitzroy spirit. MR. What do you deduce from this one cannot deduce anything.
These creatures make me wonder. So much beauty should be apparently created with so little purpose that the purpose is plain. God's design in the book of Genesis. Yes yes but do we write. Did Moses read it all right. Mr. Darwin I'm afraid I don't know what you mean sir. It's right that I know myself for almost four years. The Englishman stared into the geological ages and as he did so the great rollers of the Pacific drowned the last echoes of the voice of Archbishop.
On a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific on the Galapagos the Keystone was fitted into the arch of the hypothesis. Darwin had been continuously building here between the old and the new worlds. The fuse was prime that was to blow the old vision of the world to pieces. At first Darwin found the place unpleasant. A broken field of black basaltic lover thrown into the most rugged waves and crossed by great is everywhere covered by a stunted sunburnt brushwood which shows little signs of life. The dry and parched surface heated by the noonday sun gave the air assault feeling like that from a stove. Even the bushes smelt unpleasantly but bit by bit his disappointment gave way to an odd excitement. The day was glowing hot and the scrambling over the rough surface was very fatiguing. But I was well repaid by a strange sight like scene as I was walking along I met two large tortoise's each of which must have weighed at least two hundred pounds. One was eating
a piece of cactus and as I approached it slowly stalked away. The other gave a deep hese and drew in its head. These huge reptiles surrounded by the black lava the leafless shrubs the large cacti seem to my fancy like entered the Louvin Animal House amidst the Dante like landscape of the Galapagos Darwin followed the tracks of the giant tortoises he wrote on their backs he fed them and the certainty grew that like the ugly lizards whose Burrows honeycomb the islands and the strange birds. These lumbering creatures were aboriginal inhabitants of the Archipelago he noted how the types differed from island to island and how they in turn both differed from and resembled the creatures of America. The idea of special creation was being replaced in his mind by the revolutionary thought that one species may have descended from another. As yet he was not ready to speak out so he was content with whispered hints. One
is astonished at the amount of creative force if such an expression may be used displayed on these barren rocky islands and still more so at its diverse yet analogous action on point so near each other. The tree of natural selection of the survival of the fittest of Darwinian evolution sprang from specific soil. But Darwin took home not dogma merely thousands of specimens and a mind full of questions which circled like birds in his busy brain. How stable our species why were they Galapagos creatures created on American types of organization. Why have these animals survived on such an inhospitable terrain. What is the design but why. How Darwin brought back answers as well as questions. Across from the Creator as goes the bagel sped to Tahiti the islands of delight where he
feasted his eyes on the long shining beaches precipitous peaks and tall broad shouldered tattooed men. Then to the coast of Australia where he watched the Aborigines dancing. Their dancing consisted in their running into an open space and scraping the ground with great force as they marched together their heavy footsteps were accompanied by a kind of grunt by beating their clubs and spears together and by various other just a gal. such as extending their arms and wiggling their bodies. It was a most rude Barbara scene. The ground trembled with the heaviness of their steps and the air resoundingly with their wild cries. Everyone appeared in high spirits and the group of nearly naked figures viewed in the light of the blazing fires moving in hideous harmony form the perfect display of a festival
amongst the lowest barbarian. As Darwin sailed towards the lawns and firesides of England and the voyage of the Beagle passed into history the solid fabric of the world of his fathers dissolved into a fluid trance in theory. The hills are shadows and they flow from form to form and nothing stands. They melt like mist the solid lands are like clouds. They shape themselves and go the locusts have eaten 5 of Charles Darwin's years. He had left his name scattered throughout the Pacific Port Darwin Mt. Darwin. Darwin channel. But most impressive of all he had set a stage. I'm going to find in space and time for a superb reconstruction of the pageant of terrestrial life.
After the voyage of the Beagle the pattern of human thought could never be the same. The tree of natural selection of the survival of the fittest was to spring from Pacific soil. Darwin was to have abundant evidence to destroy current orthodoxies about the formation of the Andes and coral reefs. He had vindicated the new geology and the new naturalism. But there was still more. Is it not perhaps possible that oh the inhabitants of the Earth descended from common ancestors. You know. The igloo. This was the idea that set the Victorian age in an uproar divided a society into passionate advocacy and bitter opposition. His teacher had been the Pacific Ocean. But it took him 23 years to digest her lesson and to fuse together the massive evidence which was to make his evolutionary hypothesis a granite wall
ready to withstand the siege of prejudice. Nursing his weak heart on a Victorian sofa and rising but two hours a day to study his orchids earthworms barnacles and climbing plants he labored through a haze of pain to shape the grand design of the Origin of Species which shot like a flame thrower among the brambles of mid-Victorian science. It is a truly wonderful fact. The wonder of which we are apt to overlook from familiarity that all animals and all plants throughout all time and space should be related to each other. This was the startling cargo washed up on the shore of human knowledge by the breakers of the Pacific. And this vision had been read in the crystal of the sea by a lanky sickly young man with eyes eager and alert
mind sharp and wonder and intuition. Married in his spirit with observation and intelligence the Newton of biology Charles Darwin. Here is both of us to read. The author and planner of this program to say a closing word. The lead that Charles Darwin gave to 19th century scientists was followed by others who also saw in the Pacific a vast untapped of the Baretta really of nature as the communities and dominions grew in the new area so to man's mastery over his environment increased new though it was to the knowledge of civilized man the Southern Ocean yielded a store of scientific facts and conjecture which shook the deepest foundations of that knowledge
by its contribution to human thought. The Pacific ceased to be an exotic dream. It became an integral part of that never completed process of man's understanding both of his environment and of himself. It. Was Pacific portrayed News Radio sketches of men and women whose lives illustrate times and
places south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean. These programs are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. Professor John C. REED of Auckland University Auckland New Zealand is the writer and planner of the series. Production by Carl Schmidt. Music by Don vaguely. These programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the national educational radio network. Yeah. Pacific portrays radio sketches of men and women whose lives illustrate times and places south of the equator. In the Pacific Ocean. These programs are produced by radio station
Pacific portraits
Charles Darwin
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Development of scientific interest in the Pacific.
Other Description
This series explores various aspects of the Pacific region through dramatization, narration, commentary and music.
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Speaker: Rains, Claude, 1889-1967
Writer: Reid, J. C. (John Cowie), 1916-1972
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-41-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:36
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Chicago: “Pacific portraits; Charles Darwin,” 1965-03-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 19, 2022,
MLA: “Pacific portraits; Charles Darwin.” 1965-03-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 19, 2022. <>.
APA: Pacific portraits; Charles Darwin. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from