News of family and friends, much of it about forthcoming marriages: Fanny Owen and R. M. Biddulph, Fanny Mackintosh and Hensleigh Wedgwood. Charlotte Wedgwood will write to him of her own engagement to Charles Langton.
My dearest Charles.
I think you will get Caroline's letter, which went off on New Year's day, the same time as this, but you must read her's first, that you may hear events in order. What a pleasure your first letter will be to us; you cannot think how I long for it— I assure you that I think of you, almost as much, as I am sure you must think of all of us. I feel like Ellen Tollet, that I will bear your long absence if I can.— I shall be very anxious to know how you continue to like all the Ship's Company, and especially the inimitable Captain, in short, every thing, I long to hear about you.—
I must now begin and tell you Owen news, of which there is some very surprising, and
extraordinary. Caroline spent two days at Woodhouse this week; she thought she should
find them quite alone, & quiet, and what was her surprise, on entering the room,
to find M
Papa is quite well, and very fond of his Hothouse, which is finished, & very
perfect, and some plants in it.— I do hope you will receive a good packet of
Letters by this Packet. Erasmus and Charlotte will certainly write to you. Charlotte's
letter will very much surprise you, as it has every body else. Only think of Charlotte's
being going to be married after only a fortnight's acquaintance, with a man, who was a
perfect stranger to all her family. Charlotte's letter too will give you an account of
Hensleigh & Fanny Mackintosh's marriage on the 10
I believe Caroline gave you an outline of the beginning of the Quarrel between
Do tell us whether you get the Papers, to tell you any Public news; you will see that we are to have a general Fast Day, though on what account, I don't exactly know, as the Cholera has almost completely died away.— You must read the melancholy account of poor Colonel Brereton putting an end to the Court Martial on him, by shooting himself through the heart. It is said that he would certainly have been broke, if he had lived.— This Capt Warrington, whose Trial is going on now, runs a very bad chance; he might have got off his Trial, it is said; but he insisted upon standing it, since Col Brereton's death, as he fancied Col Brereton would have been the principal evidence It is said he will certainly lose his commission.—
Harry & Jessie Wedgwood are here now; they came on Wednesday, and are very pleasant.— We heard the other day from the John Wedgwoods. Aunt Jane & Eliza begged us to send you their very best love and good wishes.— You will not much care, I guess, for their wishes.— If good wishes could be of use to you, you would have plenty of them; I am sure from many people in Shropshire, where every body liked you, and most loved you. What pleasure it will be to see you again, pleasure greater than anything else can give me, I am sure.—
I have been reading the account of the Mutiny of the Bounty, in the Family Library. You will see Pitcairn's Island, perhaps. It gives such an excellent account of the goodness & religion of the people there, that I was very sorry to see, by an additional note, that the Missionaries had carried them off to Otaheite, where they will get depraved by those horrid Otaheitans. I was so much interested by the account Erasmus of the Sailor Missionary, you have on board. It will be an extraordinary thing if his enthusiasm lasts, when he has seen the Country again.—
Goodbye, my dearest Charles. Papa's & every body's most affectionate love.— God bless you, and pray remember, if you love us, take every care of yourself, and your health.— | Ever, dear Charles your most affectionate | E. Catherine Darwin— *S 2
- f1 154.f1Robert Myddelton Biddulph.
- f2 154.f2Welsh border castle near Denbigh, North Wales. The seat of the Myddelton Biddulph family.
- f3 154.f3On Hill's intention to propose to Fanny Owen see letter from Susan Darwin, 12 February [-- 3 March] 1832.
- f4 154.f4In 1831 the cholera had been confined mainly to North England and Scotland; in Newcastle alone there were 934 cases, of which 294 were fatal. As the epidemic spread, the King issued a proclamation directing that the 21st of March be observed throughout England as a day of fasting. For an account of the epidemic see Annual register, 1832, p. 47.
- f5 154.f5Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Brereton was tried for having failed in his duty to protect Bristol during the riots of 1831. Captain Warrington was found guilty of failing to order his troop out against the rioters. (Gentleman's Magazine 102.1 (1832): 84, 171).
- f6 154.f6Barrow 1831.
- f7 154.f7Richard Matthews, sent by the Church Missionary Society to accompany the Fuegians and to establish a mission at Tierra del Fuego.