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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert FitzRoy   23 November [1846]1

Down. Farnboroug Kent.

Novr. 23rd.

My dear FitzRoy.

Many thanks for your letter which I have forwarded to Shrewsbury, as your kind enquiries will I am sure gratify my Father and my two sisters who live with him his health lately has been a good deal shaken— The Antipodes to which you refer, has not altered the style of your letters, as I know by comparison, for a few days ago I found in a bundle of old letters two addressed to me at B. Ayres from you & I have seldom read nicer & kinder letters.—

You will be glad to hear that Cap: King’s T. del Fuego plants2 have at last been published by Dr. J. Hooker (the Antarctic Botanist) in first rate style;3 —he has also made out a capital memoir on my Galapagos plants (the collection of which you so much favoured, by leaving me on James Isd.) and they turn out of extraordinary interest & novelty.—4 I have had a disagreeable incident with Governor Grey of New Zealand;—when Stokes was writing his book5 he sent me a proof, asking me my opinion whether he had contradicted some statement of Grey’s civilly to which I answered in the affirmative, & ended my note in these words— “Poor Grey, what an amusing book he has written—but what a catalogue of mishaps & mismanagement; it was an expedition of a set of School Boys.”—6 Well, some malicious scoundrel, without Stokes’ knowledge, sent this note to Grey—, who returned it to me with a short, though civil note!7 Is not this disagreeable and the more so, as if I had expressed my whole opinion it would not have been so contemptuous; thank Heaven, I hope I shall never see him again.8

Farewell— I hope that you may soon get a ship, & be on your own element again, though it seems a cruel wish— | Ever yours very sincerely— | C. Darwin.

P.S. I sent the Yarmouth Scrap to Lyell as he has worked far more than anyone, on the changes on the English Coast.


The date is inferred from the date of the letter to George Grey, 10 November 1846.
Plants collected on the first Beagle expedition to South America, 1826–30, under the command of Phillip Parker King.
In addition to King’s collection, Joseph Dalton Hooker described CD’s and his own Tierra del Fuego plants in Flora Antarctica (J. D. Hooker 1844–7).
Hooker had given a taxonomical description of the plants to the Linnean Society in 1845 (J. D. Hooker 1845d), and read a paper on their geographical distribution in December 1846 (J. D. Hooker 1846). CD had just read a preliminary version of J. D. Hooker 1846, see letter to Hooker, [23 November 1846].
Letter to J. L. Stokes, [November–December 1845].
Letter from George Grey, 10 May 1846.
See letter to George Grey, 10 November 1846, n. 3. Grey accepted CD’s apology and explanation. See Correspondence vol. 4, letter to George Grey, 13 November 1847.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1844–7. Flora Antarctica. 1 vol. and 1 vol. of plates. Pt 1 of The botany of the Antarctic voyage of HM discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. London: Reeve Brothers.

Stokes, John Lort. 1846. Discoveries in Australia. 2 vols. London: T. & W. Boone.


J. D. Hooker has described Capt. King’s Tierra del Fuego plants and CD’s Galapagos plants [in Flora Antarctica, pt 2 (1847)] which have extraordinary interest and novelty.

A malicious person has sent George Grey, Governor of New Zealand, a letter CD had written to J. L. Stokes, containing a derogatory statement likening Grey’s expedition to "a set of school boys".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert FitzRoy
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 144: 121a
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1030,” accessed on 20 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3