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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Susan Darwin   17 [September 1831]

17 Spring Gardens

Saturday 17th

My dear Susan

I daresay you have received my letter from Plymouth.— I have nothing particular to write about, excepting to tell you on what day it is most likely I shall arrive in Shrewsbury.— I go on Monday night to Cam.—& most probably shall leave it on Wednesday or Friday, & shall arrive the following morning at 5 ocl in Shrews: have my bed ready accordingly.— What wonderful quick travelling it is.— I came from Plymouth 250 miles in 24 hours.—& arrived this morning. When I wrote last, I was in great alarm about my cabin: the cabins were not then marked out: but when I left they were & mine is a capital one, certainly next best to the Captains, & remarkably light.— My companion most luckily I think will turn out to be the officer whom I shall like best.—1 Cap Fitz. says he will take care that one corner is so fitted up that I shall be comfortable in it & shall consider my home:— but that also I shall always have the run of his.— My cabin is the drawing one, & in the middle is a large table, over which we 2 sleep in hammocks, but for the first 2 months there will be no drawing to be done, so that it will be quite a luxurious room & good deal larger than the Captains cabin:

I dont care whom you now tell; for all is fixed & certain.—& I feel well up it.—not but what this has often been a difficult task & my reason has been the only power that was capable of it: for it is most painful whenever I think of leaving for so long a time so many people whom I love.—

But no more of this from myself or from any of you.— I have been in capital spirits ever since all was fixed, & if I go to the bottom, I shall go on this one point like a rational creature.— The use of the fire arms is most important. they almost lived for months, last voyage on the produce of them, so much so that Government allows powder & shot.— Not to mention it is never safe to go on shore without loaded arms, this is always sufficient to keep the natives pretty quiet

The object of the voyage is to make maps of Eastern side of terra del Fuego & Patagonia: likewise to settle Longitude of many places more accurately than they are at present: on the other side they named more than 50 new islands, so perfectly unknown is that part of the coast.—

I had intended writing to Maer & shall certainly do so— Have my shirts marked DARWIN.—& no number.—

Good bye love to my Father | Yours affectionately | Chas Darwin

I shall leave Shrewsbury on Friday 30th. or before.—


CD’s cabin-mate was John Lort Stokes, Mate and Assistant Surveyor.


Plans to come to Shrewsbury.

Is pleased with cabin assignment on Beagle. Beagle will map the east side of Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia and set longitude of many places.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Sent from
London, Spring Gardens, 17
19 SE 1831
Source of text
DAR 223
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 127,” accessed on 8 February 2023,

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