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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Susan Darwin   3 [September] 1835


May 3d.— 18351

My dear Susan

I write to you again, chiefly for the purpose of telling my Father, that I have drawn a 50£ bill instead of 30£, which I mentioned in my last letter.— So that this must be notified to the Banker, otherwise he will be surprised at seeing the 50£.— Our prolonged stay in this place, has caused me to draw for the extra money.— This delay has been a grievous waste of time for me: the Captain discovered in Lima some old charts & Papers, which he thinks of considerable importance.— Two of the Midshipmen, Ms. Usborne & Forsyth are to be left behind to survey in a small Schooner, the coast of Peru;2 afterwards they will return in a Merchant man to England.— I wish indeed the last month had been spent at Guyaquil or the Galapagos: but as the Spaniard says “no hay remedio”.— The Captain in a note which he sent me to day from Lima says “Growl not at all— Leeway will be made up.— Good has been done unaccompanied by evil—ergo—I am happier than usual”— So that, I am glad to say, that all this time will not be lopped off the period of our return.—

We shall go round the world, like a Flying Dutchman, & without doubt, if this was the third in stead of the fifth year the cruize would be delightful.— We shall arrive at Sydney just at the right time of year: the Captain intends going within the reefs through Iona Stts.— We hear a famous account of this passage, smooth water, anchorage every night, beautiful scenery & splendid weather.— I am quite impatient to get into a glowing hot climate.— it sounds very odd to hear a person, in Latitude 12o wishing for warmth.— But really it is here uncomfortably chilly & damp with an eternally cloudy sky. When we reach the Galapagos, the sun will be vertically over our heads—& I suspect my wishes will be fulfilled to the uttermost.— Living quietly on board the Ship & eating good dinners have made me twice as fat & happy as I have been for some months previously. I trust & believe, that this month, next year, we shall be very close to if not in England. It is too delightful, to think, that I shall see the leaves fall & hear the Robin sing next Autumn at Shrewsbury.— My feelings are those of a School-boy to a the smallest point; I doubt whether ever boy longed for his holidays, as much as I do to see you all again.— I even at present, although nearly half the world is between me & home, begin to arrange what I shall do, where I shall go during the first week.— In truth I shall have a great deal to do, for a long time after we return. My geological notes are become very bulky, & before they can be of any use will require much overhauling & examination.— But sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.— We shall be in England next September & that is enough for me.—

Two men of war have lately arrived from Rio, but they brought no letters for the Beagle; so that the Admiral is forwarding them on to Sydney.— We all on board are looking forward to Sydney, as to a little England: it really will be very interesting to see the colony which must be the Empress of the South.— Capt King has a large farm, 200 miles in the interior.— I shall certainly take horse & start—I am afraid however there are not Gauchos, who understand the real art of travelling.—

I have scarcely stirred out of the Ship for the last fortnight: the country is in such a miserable state of misgovernment, that nothing can exceed it— The President is daily shooting & murdering any one who disobeys his orders.— One is that all property should be at the disposal of the state, & another, that every man from 15 to 40 should enroll himself, as ready to be his soldier.— Yesterday several young men were shot for neglecting to give in their names.— Is not this a precious state of things?—

Good bye, till I again write from Sydney.— Give my most affectionate love to my Father & to all at home.— My dear old Granny. Your affectionate brother | Charles Darwin—

Give my love also to Nancy


CD’s first sentence makes clear that ‘May 3d’ is an error. The date was changed to ‘September’, probably by his sister Catherine (see letter from Catherine Darwin, 29 January 1836), and then to ‘August’. August 3d is the date given by Nora Barlow (Voyage, p. 126) but the reference to Robert FitzRoy makes September the better date, since FitzRoy did not return from the Challenger rescue mission until 9 August (see Narrative 2: 482).
Despite his earlier censure by the Admiralty, FitzRoy again purchased a small schooner, the Constitución, with his own funds and apparently again expected to be reimbursed by the Government (see Narrative 2: 482–3; for the Admiralty’s negative response see ‘Beagle’ diary, p. 333, n. 45).


Living quietly on the ship and eating good food has been good for him. He longs for home. Peru is in a miserable state.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Darwin, S. E.
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Source of text
DAR 223
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Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 286,” accessed on 18 January 2017,