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Darwin Correspondence Project

From B. J. Sulivan   3 November 1878


Novr. 3 | 78

My dear Darwin

I think the enclosed letter will interest you as it tells some particulars of the Fuegian’s progress in more civilised life. Does it not seem strange hearing of their having cattle?1 I have heard from Mr Langton a pretty good account of your health2   I hope Mrs. Darwin and all your party are well. We have been in North of Scotland—“Forres”—during July and August and then went to Dover to my eldest son’s wedding. We like his wife very much   She is a daughter of Mr. Light the Rector of St Jame’s. Dover. and, like my son, is a total abstainer with all his family.3

I have had an unpleasant symptom of right leg getting painful & week. This has happened once in Scotland, & once in Dover, going away again by rest in a week. but since I came home it occurred suddenly again and lasted with much pain from knee downward for a fortnight when it got well again almost suddenly. but the leg does not get as strong as the other.

Mellersh has been very unwell, and went to Brighton for a change: Usborne very well 4

With our united kind regards to Mrs. Darwin and all your party | Believe me very sincerely yours | B J Sulivan

Hamonds only grandchild whose mother is my wifes niece—has died at Gibraltar; to which place Hamond—& his youngest daughter took them in the spring to join her husband5


The enclosure, which CD returned to Sulivan (see letter to B. J. Sulivan, 5 November [1878]), has not been found, but may have been a letter written by Thomas Bridges in which he reported that eleven natives owned a total of forty-nine to fifty head of cattle (Chapman 2010, p. 475). Bridges ran the Anglican mission station at Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, funded by the South American Missionary Society of which Sulivan was a supporter (see letter from B. J. Sulivan, [14–20] April [1878], and nn. 2 and 4).
Charles Langton, CD’s brother-in-law, was a neighbour of Sulivan’s in Bournemouth; see also Correspondence vol. 25, letter from B. J. Sulivan, 25 December 1877.
James Young Falkland Sulivan married Eleanor Evelyn Light, daughter of William Edward Light, on 30 August 1878 (Foster 1880, p. 693; see also Correspondence vol. 25, letter from B. J. Sulivan, 25 December 1877 and n. 3).
Sulivan, Arthur Mellersh, and Alexander Burns Usborne were all members of the crew of HMS Beagle during CD’s time on board.
Robert Nicholas Hamond (1809–83), was a former member of the crew of HMS Beagle; his infant grandson was Philip Walpole Hamond, and his youngest daughter was Almeria Blanche Hamond. For the other members of the family, see the letter from B. J. Sulivan, [14–20] April [1878] and n. 5.


Chapman, Anne. 2010. European encounters with the Yamana people of Cape Horn, before and after Darwin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Encloses a letter [missing] on the progress of the Fuegians.

His eldest son has married.

Letter details

Letter no.
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 306
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11734,” accessed on 11 April 2021,