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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Susan Darwin   [4 September 1831]


Sunday Morning

My dear Susan

As a letter would not have gone yesterday I put off writing till to day.— I had rather a wearisome journey, but got into Cambridge very fresh.— The whole of yesterday I spent with Henslow, thinking of what is to be done.—& that I find is great deal.— By great good luck, I know a man of the name of Wood,1 nephew of Lord Londonderry; he is a great friend of C. Fitzroy & has written to him about me— I heard a part of C. Fs letter, dated sometime ago, in which he says “I have a right good set of officers & most of my men have been there before.” it seems that he has been there for the last few years; he was then second in command, with the same vessel that he has now chosen.— He is only 23 years old;2 but seen a deal of service, & won the gold medal at Portsmouth.3 The admiralty say his maps are most perfect.— He had choice of two vessels, & he chose the smallest.—

Henslow will given me letters to all travellers in town whom he thinks may assist me.

Peacock has sole appointment of Naturalist the first person offered was Leonard Jenyns, who was so near accepting it, that he packed up his clothes.— But having two livings he did not think it right to leave them.—& to the great regret of all his family.— Henslow himself was not very far from accepting it: for Mrs Henslow, most generously & without being asked gave her consent, but she looked so miserable, that Henslow at once settled the point.—

Do not forward Henslows letter. you may open it, if you like.— & now for giving you some trouble.— Look in bedroom over the Edinburgh Journal of Science,4 or some such title, & see whether the following papers are in it: 3 by Humboldt on isothermal lines:5 2 by Coldstream & Foggo.— on Metereology: Metereological observations:6 Tell Edward to get all Shre. bills:

I should be obliged if my Father would place to my account here 100£ if at present convenient ditto at London.— what bank?

I am afraid there will be a good deal of expence at first.— Henslow is much against taking many things; it is mistake all young travellers fall into.— I write as if it was settled: but Henslow tells me, by no means, to make up my mind till I have had long conversations with C. Beaufort, & Fitzroy:

Good bye. You will hear from me constantly. direct 17 Spring Gardens Tell nobody in Shropshire yet.— Be sure not: C. Darwin

I was so tired that evening I was in Shrewsbury, that I thanked none of you for your kindness, half so much as I felt.

Love to my Father.

The reason I dont want people told in Shrops: in case I should not go, it will make it more flat.


Robert FitzRoy was 26. Wood may have told CD that FitzRoy was only 23 at the time he was given command of the Beagle, in 1828.
In his examination for promotion to lieutenant, FitzRoy ‘won the first medal … he did what has never been done before … he got full numbers’ (Rev. James Inman, head of Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, to Bartholomew James Sulivan, in H. N. Sulivan 1896, p. 12).
Edinburgh Journal of Science, edited by David Brewster and Robert Jameson, 1824–32.


Coldstream, John. 1826. Account of some of the rarer atmospherical phenomena observed at Leith in 1825. Edinburgh Journal of Science 5: 85–92.

Foggo, John. 1826. Results of a meteorological journal kept at Seringapatam during the years 1814 and 1816. Edinburgh Journal of Science 5: 249–58.

Foggo, John. 1827. On the dew-point hygrometer formerly described in this journal, vol. IV, p. 127. Edinburgh Journal of Science 7: 36–44.

Humboldt, Alexander von. 1817. Des lignes isothermes et de la distribution de la chaleur sur le globe. Mémoires de physique et de chimie de la Société d’Arcueil 3: 462–602. [Also Edinburgh Philosophical Journal 3 (1820): 1–20, 256–74; 4 (1821): 23–37, 262–81; 5 (1821): 28–39.]

Sulivan, Henry Norton, ed. 1896. Life and letters of the late Admiral Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan, KCB, 1810–1890. London: John Murray.


Spent preceding day with Henslow; much to be done. A friend, Alexander Charles Wood, has written to Capt. FitzRoy about CD. Peacock offered appointment as Beagle naturalist first to Leonard Jenyns, who almost accepted, as did Henslow himself. CD will talk to Capt. Francis Beaufort [Hydrographer] and FitzRoy. Thanks all his family.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Sent from
C.H 5 SE 1831 X
Source of text
DAR 223
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 115,” accessed on 17 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1