To Robert FitzRoy [20 February 1840]1
12 Upper Gower St
My dear FitzRoy.
I was very glad to receive your long letter— I had been for sometime wishing to hear of you, but did not like to write as I had nothing to communicate, excepting about myself, and that is and has been for some time a very dull subject. My health has been very indifferent during the two last months, and lately it has been rather worse but now I trust I am getting better.— My stomach as usual has been my enemy—but Dr Holland tells me he thinks it is only secondarily affected—and that some other wheel works badly—2 I have been obliged to give up all Geological work which is no slight mortification, but I hope soon to set to work again. If I had had my health, I should have published my coral volume before this time.— I was much interested by your account of the sale of our volumes. I had not before any notion how many had been disposed of but I will now go some day and find out how many remain.— I should think there could not be many. What you mention about the probable profits according to Mr Shoberls estimate appears to me quite absurdly small.—but I dare say it is all we shall ever get from the great man of Marlborough St 3 For my own part I have ceased caring very much about the sale of my volume, the more I see of authorship the more desirable I find it to endeavour to become quite indifferent to the opinion of any excepting one’s friends and a few others.
I am not surprised at our never having met in the Street for I do not go to the west end of the town more than once a week, and I believe I have only seen Hyde Park once during the two last months— I can readily understand how very inconvenient you must find it, living at so great a distance as 20 miles, from your weekly journey’s end— I should think you would find a house near Town much pleasanter; for my own part, I do not think I shall ever venture out even as far as a suburban cottage.— I saw sometime since, a very short abstract, in one of the scientific Journals of a paper by Mr Whewell read at the Cambridge. Philosoph. Soc: giving an account of a new theory of the tides, in which he mentions your views and says his are taken partly from them.—4 The abstract was so brief that I could not understand the new views. I mention this in case you should not accidentally have before heard it.— Sulivan & Usborne5 called on me the other day.— Usborne mentioned your kind exertions in his favour at the Admiralty.— His does certainly appear a peculiarly hard case— As for Sulivan his notions about non promotion being a stigma is quite preposterous—and I hinted to him the other day—plainly that such unremitting self thought was not very graceful in anyone— I have had a note from him from Chalford, in which he tells me that Sir. C Adams6 assured him, that if there had been a marriage” promotion, he would have been included in it,—with this Sulivan appears contented— I hope cordially that he may receive it soon.—
However others may look back to the Beagles voyage, now that the small disagreeable parts are well nigh forgotten, I think it far the most fortunate circumstance in my life that the chance afforded by your offer of taking a naturalist fell on me— I often have the most vivid and delightful pictures of what I saw on board the Beagle pass before my eyes.— These recollections & what I learnt in Natural History I would not exchange for twice ten thousand a year.
I find as you always prophesied would be the case being married, a very great happiness. My wife is perfectly well and begs to be kindly remembered to Mrs FitzRoy—. My little animalcule of a son, William Erasmus by name is also very well. He is 8 weeks old tomorrow, and has learnt to smile about a week since—7 I have nothing to wish for, excepting stronger health to go on with the subjects, to which I have joyfully determined to devote my life— Pray remember me very kindly to Mrs FitzRoy—whom I am glad to hear is well and your children.
Believe me | My dear FitzRoy— | Yours very truly, | Chas Darwin.
I fear you will have more trouble in deciphering this scrawl than it is worth.
Poor health has made him give up all geological work.
Profits on their volumes [of Narrative] seem absurdly small.
Looks back on Beagle voyage as the most fortunate circumstance in his life.
Finds marriage a great happiness.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 555,” accessed on 27 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-555