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Letter 121

Darwin, C. R. to Whitley, C. T.

[9 Sept 1831]

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    Mentions letters from Peacock and Henslow; tells of offer of a position on surveying voyage, his initial refusal, and eventual acceptance. Describes FitzRoy and course of voyage.


17 Spring Gardens | London

Friday Evening

My dear Whitley

I daresay you will be surprised when you see the date of this letter, & perhaps you will be more so when you read it contents.—

When I arrived home, after having left Barmouth, I found letters from Peacock & Henslow offering me (from the Admiralty) the priviledge of going in a Kings ship on a surveying voyage round the world.— This I at first refused, owing to my Father not approving of the plan, but since then we have convinced him of the propriety of my going.— Accordingly after many doubts & difficulties I started for Cambridge, & then came on here, where I arrived on Monday.— And I believe now it is all finally settled.— Cap Fitz Roy, my captain, appears an uncommonly agreeable open sort of fellow—whom I liked at first sight: he is uncommonly civil: I am to live with him: the Vessel is very small, but it was his own choice.— It is such capital fun ordering things, to day I ordered a Rifle & 2 pair of pistols; for we shall have plenty of fighting with those d— — Cannibals: It would be something to shoot the King of the Cannibals Islands.—

Our route is Madeira, Canary Islands Rio de Janeiro. 18 months all about S America, chiefly Southern extremity.— South Sea Islands, (some new course) Australia India home.— I shall see a great number of places, as they take out 20 Chronometers to ascertain Longitudes—

Cap Fitzroy is very scientific & seems inclined to assist me to the utmost extent in my line.— I go on Sunday to Plymouth to see the Vessel. She sails 10th of next month.— So that I have not an idle moment.— I shot one partridge on the 1st. devilish dear 3'13'6. by 8 oclock I was off.— Remember me most kindly to the Lowes, I should like to hear their observations on my grand tour. tell Lowe Sen that my things arrived quite safe, & I am very much obliged for all the trouble he took: There will be a paper published about the Fungus, all my conjectures were right.— If any more can be got, & put into gin, & sent to Shrewsbury: it will be capital

I hope you will write to me. I am much obliged for your last note.— If I was see Lowe, I should think he would have a few questions to ask. I hope he will remain pretty easy in his mind.— Again remember me most kindly to the two Lowes I wish them all sorts of good luck, & Believe me dear old Whitley, Yours very truely | Chas Darwin

I saw poor old Herbert in Cam. he is pretty well tired of Cam poor old Fellow.—

Remember me most kindly to Beadon

I added this postscript to the wrong letter. Will you call at the Postoffice & desire them to forward to Caernarvon a letter directed Prof: Sedgwick

I am quite ashamed to send such letters I am quite tired of writing.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 121.f1
    The stamp duty on a game certificate. See Munsche 1981, p. 181.
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    f2 121.f2
    Henry Porter Lowe was at Barmouth in August 1831 with his younger brother, Robert Lowe. For Robert Lowe's memories of CD at Barmouth see Martin 1893, 1: 19--20; quoted in Barrett 1974, p. 149.
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    f3 121.f3
    CD apparently sent the fungi to Henslow (see letter to J. S. Henslow, 28 [September 1831]). A printed announcement of gifts received by the Botanical Museum and Library at Cambridge, dated 25 March 1832, lists `Phallus impudicus, var ? … C. Darwin Esq.' No paper by Henslow has, however, been located.
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    f4 121.f4
    Probably Richard a'Court Beadon.
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    f5 121.f5
    Refers to deleted passage: `The key of microscope was forgotten: never mind it; we soon opened it.—Good bye | Love to all.—| Chas Darwin' (see letter to Susan Darwin, [9 September 1831]).
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    f6 121.f6
    The letter is addressed to Whitley at Barmouth Post Office.
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