New book out by Tembusu Fellow Dr John van Wyhe- ‘Charles Darwin: Justice of the peace’

July 06, 2021

It is little known that Charles Darwin was a justice of the peace for many years. The original case records do not survive. However a new book ‘Charles Darwin: Justice of the peace. The complete records (1857-1882)’ by Tembusu Fellow, Dr John van Wyhe and Christine Chua, have reconstructed a fascinating new chapter to the life of the famous naturalist based on local press reports. 

Free PDF of the book can be found here:,_Charles_Darwin._Justice_of_the_Peace_A2115.pdf


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.