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Letter 513

Darwin, C. R. to Macleay, W. S.

29 May 1839

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    Introduces Syms Covington and recommends him for employment in Australia.


12 Upper Gower St

May 29th—1839

My dear Macleay

The bearer of this letter, Syms Covington, is a young man, who accompanied me, as servant in the voyage of H.M.S Beagle, round the world.— I have the highest opinion of him and have had means of ascertaining his character. He has saved a little money, and has determined to leave our old world for your new and flourishing one. He means to turn his hand to anything for a few years, and hopes ultimately to become a landowner.— I have perfect confidence in his scrupulous honesty, and as he has been constantly trusted by me with money during the last eight years, I have had opportunities of knowing this.— I should esteem it, a very great personal favour, if you, or any of your family, could give him employment, or put him in the way of obtaining it. I do not hesitate to say, anyone would find him a most useful assistant as a clerk, and I am sure he would soon learn to undertake affairs of considerable trust.— He would, however, much prefer, beginning as a labourer, rather than remain idle.— The only drawback to his advancement is the misfortune of a slight degree of deafness.— During my voyage he shot & prepared nearly all the specimens I brought home, and therefore I venture to hope, that you, who aided me so essentially in publishing their descriptions, will be the more ready to lend him a helping hand, or a little advice (in case he should want it) how to become a good Australian citizen.— You probably would not object assisting (if no other way occurs to you) by a statement that I am a person whose character might be trusted.—

I learned some time since through Andrew Smith (whose health remains, I fear, very precarious, though somewhat improved) of your having arrived safely at Rio.— I hope your voyage ended prosperously, and I trust your homeward voyage to old England will take place before very long.—

Pray excuse me troubling you, and believe me dear Macleay | Yours mosttruly | Charles Darwin

P.S. I have told Covington, in case you should not be in Sydney to ask any member of your family to open this, as I feel sure you will excuse this liberty.— I have given him a letter to Captain King.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 513.f1
    Before emigrating to Australia, MacLeay had urged CD to bring out the Zoology (see letter to Leonard Jenyns, 10 April [1837]).
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    f2 513.f2
    Covington settled as postmaster at Pambula, Twofold Bay, New South Wales. He died there in 1861. A brief account of his life, with CD's letters, has been compiled by B. J. Ferguson (Ferguson 1971).
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