What remains of Pringle Stokes's HMS Beagle journal went under the hammer last month. The Brisbane Times had the story.
Pringle Stokes was the ill-fated first captain of the Beagle, who took his own life off the coast of Patagonia in 1828. Unfortunately for poor Stokes, his pistol-aim was far from true, and he took 12 days to die a painful death.
This all happened during the first Beagle voyage. It was Stokes's suicide, combined with a fear of a hereditary suicidal trait, which convinced Robert FitzRoy that he should take a gentleman companion with him when he captained Beagle on her second voyage. As we all know, Charles Darwin was selected for the role.
So, putting it rather simplistically, no Stokes suicide; no On the Origin of Species.
As a Brit, I have to say it irks me somewhat that Stokes's journal - an important artefact of British maritime history - has ended up in Australia (where, admittedly, it was rediscovered in 1977, having been taken there by Stokes's shipmate, Philip Parker King). Having said that, as a Brit, I probably shouldn't complain too much about important historical artefacts' being housed in other countries.