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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert FitzRoy   23 September 1831


Septr. 23d. 1831

Dear Darwin

I read the first sentence of your letter—“Before you judge of my conduct” —and threw it away in a rage—saying “Damn these shoregoing fellows they never know their own minds,”—“well let’s see what crotchet makes him refuse to go”—when upon reading further I found that so desperate a beginning only ushered in a simple request about a Mid!— I made certain you were off your bargain a Lady in the way, or something unforeseen!

I am sorry it is out of my power to take young Owen1 —because the number of Mids allowed has been complete since the Vessel was commissioned.

There is no chance of a Vacancy. You were surely quite right to ask —I could but refuse—yet I would not have refused had I been able to oblige you.

I received the parcel from London & your letter—thanks to you.

I have Beechey’s Voyage but not Head’s Gallop—2 You are of course welcome to take your Humboldt—as well as any other books you like—but, I cannot consent to leaving mine behind. all my goods go with me.

There will be plenty of room for Books. I have Daniells’ Hygr.3 but it would be well to have another as they are fragile. I have not a Pentagraph4 because I do not think it of any material use to me.

Taking all things into consideration I think you had better be on the books, but do just as you like,—you are the person most interested.

I have arranged good & dry stowage for your things—and I think you will have small cause to complain of your Cabin—table—Drawers &ca.

The Dock Yard are making very slow progress—so that we shall not sail until the end of October You can remain away another week so as to be here on the 17th. if you like.

Faithfully Your’s | Robt. FitzRoy


Francis Owen, a younger brother of Sarah and Fanny Owen.
A hygrometer invented by John Frederic Daniell in 1820 made possible precise measurement of the moisture in the atmosphere.
An error for pantograph, a device for copying drawings on a different scale.


Head, Francis Bond. 1826. Rough notes taken during some rapid journeys across the Pampas and among the Andes. London: John Murray.


Regrets he cannot take Francis Owen on Beagle as midshipman. RF thinks CD had better be on the books [for victuals], but CD should do as he likes. Refitting progress is slow.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert FitzRoy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 105
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 135,” accessed on 24 May 2024,

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