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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Bartholomew James Sulivan   27 September [1862]1

Board of Trade. S.W.

Septr. 27—

My dear Darwin

It is long since I have heard any thing of you or yours. I hope “no news” is “good news”—

Our old shipmate Wickham will be with me for some days after the sixth: when I last saw him he expressed a wish to see you again;2 would there be any chance of your coming to Town about that time? if so we could easily arrange a meeting—and if you could manage to come to us for one night it would give us great pleasure— & I could get Mellersh—who is in Town—to come down also.3 I know you do not like being away from home, but if you have to come to Town at all about then and could stay for a night it might not interfere much with your arrangements. I see a mid named ‘Darwin’ just appointed to a ship4   have you a boy in the Navy? I think not.

I hope Mrs. Darwin is well and that your daughter’s health has gone on improving.5 | with very kind remembrances | Believe me dear Darwin— | Yours very sincerely | B. J. Sulivan


The year is established by reference to the visit to Down House of Sulivan, John Clements Wickham, and Arthur Mellersh, on 21 October 1862 (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
John Clements Wickham was second in command on board HMS Beagle during the surveying voyage of 1831–6; he emigrated to Australia in 1842, but moved to southern France in 1862 (Aust. dict. biog.). Sulivan was a lieutenant on board the Beagle during the same voyage; in 1856, he was appointed as one of the naval officers in the marine department at the Board of Trade (DNB, Post Office London directory 1861).
Arthur Mellersh was midshipman and then mate on board HMS Beagle between 1825 and 1836; in 1862, after serving on various vessels, he returned to Britain to take command of HMS Forte, for a posting to South America (Modern English biography; The Times, 28 September 1894, p. 4).
Sacheverel Charles Darwin, who was CD’s first cousin, once removed, was appointed midshipman to HMS Phœbe in the autumn of 1862 (Colburn’s United Service Magazine (1862), pt 3: 447).
Sulivan refers to Henrietta Emma Darwin, who had been seriously ill in 1860 and 1861 (see Correspondence vols. 8 and 9).


J. C. Wickham and Arthur Mellersh are in town and BJS wonders whether there is any chance CD might join them.

Letter details

Letter no.
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Board of Trade
Source of text
DAR 177: 275
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3741,” accessed on 19 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10