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Letter 7256

Darwin, C. R. to Sulivan, B. J.

30 June [1870]


Congratulates BJS on his K.C.B.

In autumn he will publish a book partly on man [Descent], which he expects “many will decry as very wicked”.

Thinks the success of the Tierra del Fuego mission is wonderful.


Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E. [6 Queen Anne Street, London]

June 30th

My dear Sulivan

It was very good of you to write to me so long a letter, telling memuch about yourself & your children which I was extremely glad tohear.—f2 Think what a benighted wretch I am, seeing no one & readingbut little in the newspapers, for I did not know (untill seeing thepaper of the your Nat. Hist. Socy.) that you were a K.C.B.f3 Mostheartily glad I am, that the Government has at last appreciated yourmost just claim for this high distinction.— On the other hand I am sorryto hear so poor an account of your health; but you were surely very rashto do all that you did & then pass through so exciting a scene, asa ball at the Palace.f4 It was enough to have tired a man in robusthealth.— Complete rest, will, however, I hope, quite set you upagain. As for myself I have been rather better of late, & ifnothing disturbs me I can do some hours work every day. I shall thisautumn publish another book partly on Man, which I daresay many willdecry as very wicked.—f5 I could have travelled to Oxford, but couldno more have withstood the excitement of a commemoration than I coulda ball at Buckingham Palace.—f6 Many thanks for your kind remarksabout my boys. Thank God all give me complete satisfaction: my thirdstands second at Woolwich & will be an Engineer officer at Christmas.f7 Mywife desires to be very kindly remembered to Lady Sulivan, inwhich I very sincerely join, & in congratulations about your daughter’smarriage.f8 We are at present solitary, for all our younger children aregone on tour in Switzerland.f9 I had never heard a word about the successof the T. del Fuego mission.—f10 It is most wonderful, & shames me,as I always prophecied utter failure. It is a grand success.— Ishall feel proud if your Committee think fit to elect me an Honorarymember of your Socy.—f11

With all good wishes & affectionate remembrancesof ancient days. Believe me, my dear Sulivan | your sincere friend |Ch. Darwin

Sulivan family (private collection)



The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe letter from B. J. Sulivan, 27 June 1870.
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 27 June 1870.
Sulivan was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 2 June 1870 (ODNB).
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 27 June 1870 and n. 3.
CD refers to Descent.
CD had been offered an honorary degree by Oxford University; seeletter from B. J. Sulivan, 27 June 1870 and n. 1.
CD refers to Leonard Darwin.
CD refers to Emma Darwin, Sophia Sulivan, and Catherine SabineSulivan, who had married William Wallace Trench.
A note in Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) for 21 June 1870 reads,‘They went to Swiss—’; another note on 28 July reads, ‘Party fromSwiss.’ It is not known exactly which children went.
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 27 June 1870 and n. 13.
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 27 June 1870. CD refers to theBournemouth Natural History Society.
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