Discusses help he is receiving in his preparations for the voyage from William Yarrell and others. He has ordered a case of pistols, a rifle, and a good telescope with compass. It is settled that he will go.
Describes the coronation of William IV.
[17 Spring Gardens]
My dear Susan
I have just received the parcel: I suppose it was not delivered yesterday owing to the Coronation.— I am very much obliged to my Father & every body else.— Every thing is done quite right: I suppose by this time you have received my letter written next day—& I hope will send off the things.—
My affairs remain in statu quo.— Cap Beaufort says I am on the books for victuals, & he thinks I shall have no difficulty about my collections when I come home.— But he is too deep a fish for me to make him out.— The only thing that now prevents me finally making up my mind is the want of certainty about S S Islands, although morally I have no doubt we should go there whether or no it is put in the instructions: Cap. Fitz says I do good by plaguing Cap Beaufort: it stirs him up with a long pole.— Cap Fitz. says he is sure he has interest enough—(particularly if this administration is not everlasting: I shall soon turn Tory.!) anyhow even when out to get the ship ordered home by whatever track he likes.— From what Wood says I presume Dukes Grafton & Richmond interest themselves about him.— By the way Wood has been of the greatest use to me.—& I am sure his personal introduction of me, inclined Cap Fitzroy to have me.—
To explain things from the very beginning; Cap Fitz first wished to have naturalist
& then he seems to have taken a sudden horror of the chances of having somebody
he should not like on board the Vessel: he confesses, his letter to Cambridge, was to
throw cold water on the scheme.— I dont think we shall quarrell about politics
although Wood (as might be expected from a Londonderry) solemnly warned Fitzroy that I
was a whig.— Cap Fitz was before Uncle Jos—he said ``now your
friends will tell you a sea Captain is the greatest brute on the face of the creation; I
do not know how to help you in this case, except by hoping you will give me a
trial.''— How one does change.— I actually now wish the voyage was
longer before we touched Land. I feel my blood run cold at the quantity I have
do.— Every body seems ready to assist me. The Zoological want to make me a
corresponding member; all this I can construe without crossing the Equator:—
But one friend is quite invaluable, viz a M
Yesterday all the shops were shut—so that I could do nothing.—& I was child enough to give 1'1 for an excellent seat to see the procession— And it certainly was very well worth seeing.— I was surprised that any quantity of gold could make a long row of people quite glitter.— it was like only what one sees in picture books of Eastern processions.— The King looked very well, & seemed popular: but there was very little enthusiasm so little that I can hardly think there will be a coronation this time 50 years.—
The life Guards pleased me as much as anything: they are quite magnificent & it
is beautiful to see them clear a crowd; you think that they must kill a score at least,
& apparently they really hurt nobody, but most deucedly frighten
them.— Wherever a crowd was so dense that the people were forced off the
Causeway: one of these six feet gentleman, on a black horse, rode straight at the place,
making his horse rear very high & fall on the thickets spot: you would suppose
men were made of spong to see them shrink away.— In the evening there was an
illumination, & much grander than the one on the Reform bill.— All the principal streets were crowded just like a Race
ground.— Carriages generally being 6 abreast, & I will
venture to say not going 1 mile an hour.— Duke of Northumberland
learnt a lesson last time: for his house was very grand: much more so than the other
great nobility: & in much better taste: every window in his house was full of
perfectly straight lines of brilliant lights: & from their extreme regularity
& number had a beautiful effect.— The paucity of invention was very
striking, crowns anchors & W R.
I am now going to Cap Fitzroy, & will keep letter open till evening for any thing that may occur.— I will give you one proof of Fitzroy being a good officer, all officers are the same as before 2/3 of his crew, & the eight marines, who went before all offered to come again: so the service cannot be so very bad: The admiralty have just issued orders for a large stock of Canister meat & Lemon juice & &c.—
I have just returned from spending a long day with Cap Fitz, driving about in his gig
& shopping.— This letter is too late for to days post.— You
may consider it settled that I go: yet there is room for change, if any untoward
accident should happen: this I can see no reason to expect: I feel convinced nothing
else will alter my wish of going.— I have begun to order things. I have
procured case of good strong pistols & excellent rifle for 50£: there
is a saving: good telescope, with compass 5£, & these are nearly the
only expensive instruments I shall want.— Cap Fitz has every thing: I never
saw so, (what I should call, he says not) extravagant a man as regard himself, but as
economical towards me.— How he did order things. His fire arms will cost
400£ at least:— I found Carpet bag when I arrived; all right
& much obliged.— I do not think I shall take any Arsenic: shall send
partridges to M
I go on Sunday, per packet to Plymouth, shall stay 1 or 2 days then return, & hope to find letter from you.— few days in London: then Cam, Shrews, London, Plymouth, Madeira, is my route.— It is great bore my writing so much about Coronation. I could fill another sheet.—
I just been with Cap King, Fitzroy senior officer last expedition: he thinks that the expedition will suit me.— Unasked he said Fitzroys temper was perfect: He send his own son with him as midshipman
The key of my microscope was forgotten it is of no consequence.
Love to all | Chas. Darwin
- f1 122.f1The coronation of King William IV on 8 September 1831.
- f2 122.f2Robert FitzRoy was a nephew of George Henry FitzRoy, 4th Duke of Grafton. Charles Gordon Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond, was a more distant relation.
- f3 122.f3The Reform Bill did not become law until June 1832, but in March 1831 it passed its second reading in the House of Commons. This was the occasion of general jubilation.
- f4 122.f4Shrewsbury gunsmith.
- f5 122.f5Philip Gidley King.