Sends a number of questions (to put to his father), mainly concerned with transmission of diseases, between Europeans and natives, "people packed together", etc.
Is investigating how to get Government support [for Zoology].
36. Great Marlborough St.
My dearest Caroline,
Many thanks for your letter, which you will say I am answering in a great hurry, but I
want to ask my Father some questions, and a very odd string they are— But in
the first place you have my direction wrong, it 36 & not 46.— I had no
idea that Marianne had the Globe, else I would never have
thought of asking about it. You must send and let her know my true direction, but if it
is not gone really I think, it had better not— if it is gone, I will call, at
46 & leave my card.— Catherine tells me to say that the
Rhododendrons went by Jelby's Van for Shrewsbury— Now for the odds
& ends— Will you ask my Father whether he did not say that floods of
the Severn from Snow were less muddy & less destructive to the soil than those
from heavy rains, or was it vice versa or what was it? Is it in the Zoonomia or notes to
Botanic Garden where there is a passage about acquired instincts, such as crows learning
Guns are dangerous— I have been much interested at
finding so many cases where ships with all their crew in good health have yet caused
strange contagious disorders at Station Islands in the Pacific—
On Thursday I am going to spend the day at Chatham. I am going to visit
I most devoutly long to be with you, my very dear Caroline. Give my most affectionate love to my Father & say I hope the questions wont plague him. Good bye. C. Darwin—
You, who can write, and do always write such nice letters, have no business to say Shrewsbury is dull, or any other place dull, & that there is no news—
Miss Darwin. | Shrewsbury.
- f1 360.f1Marianne Parker.
- f2 360.f2The passage is in Zoonomia (Darwin 1794–6, 1: 158): ‘[rooks] evidently distinguish, that the danger is greater when a man is armed with a gun.’ CD had become interested in the inheritance of ‘acquired instincts’ by the tameness of the animals on the Falkland and Galápagos islands (see Journal and remarks, p. 478).
- f3 360.f3J. Williams 1837, pp. 281–2.
- f4 360.f4MacCulloch 1824, 3: 191: ‘the whole world knows, that whenever a stranger lands in St. Kilda, all the inhabitants “catch a cold” ’.
- f5 360.f5In 1577 an outbreak of ‘gaol fever’ at the assizes in Oxford Castle killed 300 people (see Crossley, ed. 1979, p. 296).
- f6 360.f6Ellis 1829, 2: 269, refers to a ‘kind of dysentery’ that appeared after a visit of Vancouver's ship in 1790 and ‘proved fatal to a vast portion of the population.’ The description of the spinal disease occurs on pp. 272–3. Ellis comments, ‘Some say this singular complaint was unknown to their ancestors, and has only prevailed since they have been visited by foreign shipping.’
- f7 360.f7CD's Red notebook has a similar note (p. 178), made at about the same time (June 1837): ‘Puncture one animal with recent dead body of other, & see if same effects, as with man.’ CD's interest in this subject may have been heightened by the fact that his uncle, Charles Darwin, eldest son of Erasmus, died of an infection contracted while dissecting a cadaver in 1778 (see LL 1: 7).
- f8 360.f8Most of the requested references are cited in chapter 21 of Journal and remarks in the discussion of the ‘mysterious’ causes of extinction of native populations. ‘Wherever the European has trod, death seems to pursue the aboriginal.’ (p. 520).
- f9 360.f9John Richardson accompanied Sir John Franklin on his two polar expeditions and supplied appendixes on natural history and meteorology to Franklin's Narratives (Franklin 1823, 1828). He also published, with government support, Richardson 1829–37.
- f10 360.f10Robert Brown.
- f11 360.f11Edward Adolphus Seymour, 11th Duke of Somerset, President of the Linnean Society, 1834–7 (DNB).