Reports on errands he has done for RF. Has discussed with Beaufort the question of his having right to dispose of his collection.
17 Spring Gardens.
My dear Sir,
I have been hunting in several shops but have not succeeded in obtaining any pasteboard
as thick as the sample you gave me. I send with this the thickest sort that they ever
keep by them, and I hope it will answer your purpose.— I called on Watkins
& Hill, and they promised they would use their best endeavours to hurry the
glass house men. likewise they would try to get some colourless talc. I saw
Have you Cap. Beecheys voyage to the Pacific? if you have not, I will buy it, as it contains some most excellent Meteorological Journals—
Believe me, dear Sir, | Your most sincerely obliged —| Cha
- f1 131.f1Robert McCormick was Ship's Surgeon and, as CD implies, it was normal for that officer to collect specimens on the voyage. When FitzRoy treated CD as the de facto naturalist, McCormick, who had reason to assume that this was his function, felt himself placed `in a false position' and left the vessel at Rio de Janeiro to return to England (see letter to Caroline Darwin, 25--6 April  and J. W. Gruber 1969). For a brief account of the naturalist tradition in the Royal Navy see Keevil 1957--63, vol. 4.
- f2 131.f2The collections of the Ship's Surgeon and officers were considered government property. This was made explicit in the Admiralty instructions for the first voyage of the Beagle: `You are to avail yourself of every opportunity of collecting and preserving Specimens of such objects of Natural History as may be new, rare, or interesting; and you are to instruct Captain Stokes, and all the other Officers, to use their best diligence in increasing the Collections in each ship: the whole of which must be understood to belong to the Public.' (Narrative 1: xvii). The instructions for the second voyage make no mention of collecting specimens. In a letter dated 16 November 1837 (DAR 164), FitzRoy states that the second Beagle voyage `was the first employed in exploring and surveying whose Officers were not ordered to collect—and were therefore at liberty to keep the best of all—nay, all their specimens for themselves.' The Admiralty's policy seems to have varied with each voyage. In 1825 (two years before the first voyage of the Beagle), when Frederick William Beechey set out in the Blossom, the orders on collecting read: `You are to cause it to be understood that two specimens, at least, of each article are to be reserved for the public museums after which the naturalist and officers will be at liberty to collect for themselves' (Beechey 1831, p. xiv, Admiralty instructions). The naturalist on this voyage was George Tradescant Lay. His official appointment is mentioned in the instructions.
- f3 131.f3William Burnett, head of the Royal Navy Medical Department.