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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Whitley   13 September 1831


Tuesday Septr. 13 1831

My dear Darwin,

Your letter, which arrived on my return from Snowdonia, certainly did surprise & on the whole please me. I congratulate you on the prospect of an employment after your own heart, & the opportunity it affords you of studying all the natural sciences at once, after your own taste. But as you are about to escape from my advice & reproaches for a considerable period I must just ask you whether you do not experience a few twinges of regret concerning your neglect of Mathematics especially of trigonometry & navigation—but this last you must learn, in the blindfold way of practice, by rules & tables. If however this Captn. Fitzroy is half such a good fellow as you take him to be he will not fail to teach you the rationale; & you will be foolish in my opinion if you don’t give him a hint, as soon as the sickness has left you—& very foolish indeed if you don’t study these things when you have an opportunity. As to studying any thing else unconnected with the business of the ship I fancy from what I have heard that Bishop Heber1 is right when he asserts it to be no easy matter—but this is only hearsay. Now I dare say that you will think this advice much about as valuable as that which mammas usually give to good little boys when about to go to school. Never mind— It may be of use.

I will not disturb your “ordering” occupations or your cannibal shooting, fungus describing anticipations, by an account of a very pleasant ascent of Snowdon undertaken by the Lowes & myself on a very clear Saturday or the view that we had or the pleasant walk home. We heard of Miller geologizing at Harlech, & I have despatched your letter to Sedgwick, at Caernarfon.2 We are going on in the usual way & I hope to be at Shrewsbury by Octr. 1st. Now I expect that you will write to me, if it be only a letter of three lines, to say if you shall be at Salop again & when? in as much as I desire greatly to see you again. You may be drowned, shot or feversmitten, or I may die from pure vexation & disappointment before you return, & I should certainly like to shake hands once more before we separate. We have jogged on amicably hitherto & there are few me⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠ I should miss more than yourself when the black day came to either of us. Thank you by the way for your early information. It was thoughtful enough for you—for you are a little given (inter nos) to be “uneasy in your mind” on occasions of “packing up.” I shall also require you to tell me if there is any single thing on this earth which I can do for you either before you go or during your absence (for I shall expect an occasional letter). Now you must if you please write to me again on these subjects immediately. Once more I congratulate you on your luck (& I wish it were mine, for I have latterly had much vexation & am sick enough of England) as it will put it in your power to distinguish yourself in your favorite pursuits—& I flatter myself that you will not be slow to do so to your own satisfaction & the pleasure if not the envy of your friends of whom there are few more attached than

Your’s very faithfully | Charles Whitley

Remember me most kindly to your brother


Reginald Heber, who, as Bishop of Calcutta, travelled extensively in India (see Heber 1828).
For Sedgwick’s reply, see letter dated 18 September 1831.


Heber, Reginald. 1828. Narrative of a journey through the upper provinces of India from Calcutta to Bombay 1824–25. (With notes upon Ceylon.) An account of a journey to Madras and the Southern provinces, 1826, and letters written in India. (Edited by Amelia Heber.) 2 vols. London.


Congratulates CD on Beagle appointment as an "opportunity … of studying all the natural sciences at once, after your own taste".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Thomas Whitley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 69
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 125,” accessed on 26 May 2024,

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