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Darwin Correspondence Project

From B. J. Sulivan   7 November 1878


Novr. 7.78

My dear Darwin

I am glad to hear so good an account of yourself—1 As to the cattle I believe there is grass land here and there, and especially in Navarin Island.2 In some of the coves near E end of Beagle channel good land with some pasture inside has been found. and as guanacoes were always found on that Island I think it would probably feed numbers of cattle. At the Station there is clear feeding land in parts of the small peninsula and at Gable Island—which on the chart is made a peninsula—there is much clear pasture land where natives alone are taking care of mission cattle which will keep a herd up for supplying native wants when Falkland Island Station is given up. This we hope to before long as there is now a better station for communication and supplies at Sandy Point with frequent steam communication to East and west coast. & we look forward to replacing our Jawl with a large Steam launch or small Steam vessel, with a native crew except master & engineer, which would connect Beagle Channel, through Western passages, with Sandy point. and with stations we hope to have opposite near Useless Bay when that fine tribe are made friendly. all that north & NE coast would be a fine Cattle country—3

Gable Island is the peninsula marked in the chart on the North shore at East entrance to Beagle channel


CD had been surprised at accounts of successful cattle-rearing in Tierra del Fuego (see letter from B. J. Sulivan, 3 November 1878, and letter to B. J. Sulivan, 5 November [1878]). Navarino Island (Isla Navarino) is a large island south of the Beagle Channel.
Sulivan was a supporter of the Anglican mission station at Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia (see letter from B. J. Sulivan, 3 November 1878 and n. 1). Gable Island (Isla Gable) is a small island close to the north shore of the Beagle Channel, opposite the east end of Navarino Island. Sandy Point (Punta Arenas) in Patagonia is at the mid-point of the north shore of the Strait of Magellan.


Explains the occurrence of cattle on the Fuegian islands.

Discusses intentions with regard to missionary stations and steamers in the area.

Letter details

Letter no.
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 307
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11739,” accessed on 11 April 2021,