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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert FitzRoy   [4 or 11 October 1831]

17 Spring Gardens.

Dear FitzRoy,

I have nothing very particular to write about, except to assure you, that you shall have no occasion to “damn those shore-going fellows.” It is much more likely that I should do the same to sea & shore fellows, if anything was to prevent my coming with you. All things go on most prosperously and everybody who knows me highly approves of my undertaking— I should be perfectly happy if it was not for the contest that is continually going on in my mind between the utility and the bulk of any intended object.— I do assure you I have been as economical as I possibly could, but my luggage is frightfully bullky—. I look forward with consternation to seeing Mr. Wickham—1 if he grumbled merely at the number of my natural cubic inches, what he will do now I cannot imagine. If the worst comes and you cannot take my things there are two big cases that I can leave behind without very material injury— If you have time to send me one line will you inform me how I had better manage about my baggage when I arrive at Plymouth. I suppose the Beagle is not in readiness to receive it and if I recollect right, there is no possibility of getting near to my hotel in a boat.— I will now tell you what I have done about money— I have so arranged it, that Curtis & Co. will never dishonor my drafts, and that I suppose is all that is necessary. Have you any books on spherical trigonometry? as I hope & trust to read a little mathematics during the three years.— Mr.Earl2 tells me to inform you that he is coming down the same day as I do—viz—Sunday 16th.3 He would have started some days sooner than that period, only that he liked the oppor- tunity of sailing with somebody whom he knew. I suppose the Beagle will not sail, till the beginning of November so that I shall have plenty of time to settle myself in my cabin. This will be a great advantage every thing is capital— I only hope as you say— it is not too much good luck for it to last.— If there is anything in London, which it is in my power to do for you, of course I shall be most happy to do it.

With many thanks for all the interest you have shewn in my affairs believe me, dear FitzRoy | Yours ever most sincerely | Chas. Darwin.

I saw George Cavendish who is in the Rifles & he gives a very poor character to our friend the Major. *S 2



John Clements Wickham, First Lieutenant of the Beagle.
Augustus Earle, an artist engaged by FitzRoy as draughtsman for the voyage. On 19 November 1831 FitzRoy reported to Beaufort: ‘Messrs. Earle and Darwin are the very men, of all others, for their employment, and I assure you that Darwin has not yet shown one trait which has made me feel other than glad when I reflect how much we shall be together.’ (F. Darwin 1912, p. 547).
CD did not arrive at Devonport until 24 October (‘Beagle’ diary, p. 5).


‘Beagle’ diary: Charles Darwin’s Beagle diary. Edited by Richard Darwin Keynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.

Darwin, Francis. 1912. FitzRoy and Darwin, 1831–36. Nature 88: 547–8.


CD’s luggage is frightfully bulky, though he has been as economical as possible. Has made financial arrangements for his expenses.

Plans to study mathematics during voyage.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert FitzRoy
Sent from
London, Spring Gardens, 17
Source of text
Physical description
C 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 139,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

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