Has met FitzRoy, who has now offered him the post of naturalist on board the Beagle. Other details about the voyage arrangements – mess, CD's status, route, books.
[17 Spring Gardens] London
My dear Sir,
Gloria in excelsis is the most moderate beginning I can think of.— Things are
more prosperous than I should have thought possible.— Cap. Fitzroy is every
thing that is delightful, if I was to praise half so much as I feel inclined, you would
say it was absurd, only once seeing him.— I think he really wishes to have
me.— He offers me to mess with him & he
will take care I have such room as is possible.— But about the cases he says I
must limit myself: but then he thinks like a sailor about size: Cap. Beaufort says I
shall be upon the boards & then it will only cost me like other
officers.— Ship sails 10
What has induced Cap. Fitzroy to take a better view of the case is; that
You cannot imagine anything more pleasant, kind & open than Cap. Fitzroys manners were to me.— I am sure it will be my fault, if we do not suit.—
What changes I have had: till one to day I was building castles in the air about
hunting Foxes in Shropshire, now Lamas in S America.— There is indeed a tide
in the affairs of men.— If you see M
Good bye, my dear Henslow | Yours most sincere friend | Chas Darwin
Excuse this letter in such a hurry.
- f1 118.f1The same evening Robert FitzRoy wrote his impressions of CD to Francis Beaufort: I have seen a good deal of Mr. Darwin, to-day having had nearly two hours' conversation in the morning and having since dined with him. I like what I see and hear of him, much, and I now request that you will apply for him to accompany me as a Naturalist. I can and will make him comfortable on board, more so perhaps than you or he would expect, and I will contrive to stow away his goods and chattels of all kinds and give him a place for a workshop. Upon consideration, I feel confident that he will have a much wider field for his exertions than I was inclined to anticipate on Friday last; and should we even be disappointed, by giving me the means of discharging him from the Books, he might at any time return to England or follow his own inclinations in South America or elsewhere. (The original of this letter, once in the Hydrographer's Office of the Admiralty, has been lost. The letter is quoted in F. Darwin 1912, p. 547.)
- f2 118.f2See letter to Susan Darwin, [5 September 1831], n. 1. H. F. Burstyn has suggested that the friend was Harry Chester, novelist and youngest son of Sir Robert Chester, who in 1831 was a clerk in the Privy Council Office (Burstyn 1975, p. 66). An inscription in volume one of a copy of Kirby and Spence 1828 in the possession of David Kohn tends to confirm this |mns15| conjecture. It reads: `Harry Chester | From his valued friend Robert FitzRoy'.
- f3 118.f3See Appendix IV.
- f4 118.f4William John Burchell. CD undoubtedly wanted to see him because Burchell had explored and collected in Brazil from 1825 to 1830. See Journal of researches, p. 101.