To Caroline Darwin 9–12 August 1834
August 9th.— 1834
My dear Caroline
A ship sails for Liverpool tomorrow. I will try to scribble this sheet full & if so send it off.— I received your letter, dated March 9th. the day before yesterday & Mr Owen’s long, one.— Give him my best thanks for writing so kindly to me; I will take an early opportunity of answering it.— I am much pleased, with what you have told me, respecting the fossil bones. I did not before understand in what particular way the head of the Megatherium came to be so much sought after.— I presume the big box, which Erasmus was going to send to Plymouth for, is one which I directed to be left at Dr. Armstrong’ (to save carriage) I am in great fear lest Mr Clift should remove the numbers or markers attached to any of the Specimens. Ask Erasmus to call on Mr Clift & state how anxious I am on this point. All the interest which I individually feel about these fossils, is their connection with the geology of the Pampas, & this entirely rests on the safety of the numbers.— Another point must clearly be explained to Mr Clift, it is with reference to the Coll: of Surgeons paying the expence of the carriage.— the ultimum destination of all my collections will of course be to wherever they may be of most service to Natural History. But cæteris paribus the British Museum, has the first claims, owing to my being on board a King’s Ship.— Mr Clift must understand that at present I cannot say, that any of the fossil Bones shall go to any particular Museum. As you may well believe, I am quite delighted that I should have had the good fortune (in spite of sundry sneers about seal & Whale bones) to have found fossil remains which can interest people such as Mr Clift.—
A small box has been forwarded from B. Ayres to Liverpool for Henslow, with part of a head, which I think will be more useful than any which I have sent.— With respect to the expence of the carriage it is entirely in England, everything as yet has been sent on the sea on “His Majesties Service”. But they are very heavy & bulky.
Give my Father my best love & thanks for all his kindness about money, & tell him I can seriously say, that since leaving England I have spent none excepting in the furtherance of Natural History, & as little as I could in that so that my time should not be thrown away.— I am now living with Corfield; he is as hospitable & kind in deeds, as a Spaniard is in professions.—than which I can say no more. It is most plasant to meet with such a straitforward—thorough Englishman, as Corfield is, in these vile countries.— He has made his house so pleasant to me, that I have done less during the last fortnight, than in any time since leaving England.—
The day after tomorrow I start for a Geological excursion. Does it not sound awefully extravagant, when I say, I am going to buy a small troop of horses; with these I shall travel by a very round-about cours〈e〉 to St Iago, the gay Capital of Chili.— I shall there meet Corfield, who is going up to admire the beauties of nature, in the form of Signoritas, whilst I hope to admire them amongst the Andes.— I long to have a near view of this extraordinary & grand chain of mountains.— At this time of year however, it will not be possible to ascend to any height on account of the snow.—
This a very stupid letter to send.—but you have often told me you would rather have a short letter, than none.— So take the Consequences.— Give my best love to Marianne, we do not write to each other for the same reason, we are too busy with our children.— She with Master Robert & Henry &c, I with Master Megatherium & Mastodon: If I have a good opportunity, I will send home some more of my journal; which will give you some account of the Pampas galloping. I am ashamed of sending such a letter.—but take the will for the deed & Believe me my dearest Caroline | Yours most affectionately | Chas Darwin
My love to every body at home *S 2
Thanks for her letter of March, which gave him his first explanation of the interest in the [Megatherium] head he had sent.
Wants E. A. Darwin to tell William Clift not to remove numbers or markers on any specimens. The British Museum has first claim on any of his specimens; CD cannot at present say where any should go.
- positive attitude/assessment
- specimens / samples
- structural characters
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 253,” accessed on 4 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-253