Sir Joseph Banks

Through the SciTech Daily site, a link to “Master of the Enlightenment”, Andrea Wulf’s review of The Scientific Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, 1765-1820, edited by Neil Chambers.
Sir Joseph Banks was Patrick O’Brien’s model for Stephen Maturin, a leading character in the Aubrey & Maturin novels. O’Brien drew on Banks in two ways. In real life, Banks was 50 years old by the time Napoleon came to power in France, and a man of influence in European science. Sir Joseph Blaine, a senior man in British Intelligence who is as interested in Maturin’s entomological specimens as his information on political affairs. Banks’s journey with Captain Cook serves as model for Maturin’s scientific explorations during his travels a naval surgeon.
In the movie, Master and Commander, Maturin has one his scientific raptures in the Galapagos, implying that Maturin could be modeled on Charles Darwin. HMS Beagle was build after the end of the Napoleonic wars, and Darwin’s voyage (1831-1836) was specifically devoted to scientific and geographical information. Darwin was closer to Huxley and the practical scientists of the British Empire than to the scientists of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution.