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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Catherine Darwin   25 July [– 3 August] 1832


July 25th. 1832.

My dearest Charles

On the 31st of June we were delighted to receive your letter from Rio dated 6th of April, and on the 5th of July (this month) we received your second letter and Journal dated 25th of April, with the interesting account of your expedition into the Brazils. I cannot tell you how interesting and entertaining we find your letters and Journal, and what great joy it gives all the house when we have such happy accounts of you in every way. I run to tell Nancy and some of the other Servants, and the pleasure is universal over the house, as everybody loves you, and thinks of you, my dearest Charles. It is so delightful too to find how wonderfully your Voyage answers, and how excessively you have enjoyed yourself. I do not think any pleasure can be more vivid than your’s must have been. I had no idea before I read your Journal of the extraordinary beauty of the Tropics. If you wish to have my Criticisms, I must say I think your descriptions most excellent, and gave me most lively pleasure in reading them. I was so interested I could not bear to stop reading it, till I came to the end, which was the case also with Marianne and Caroline, who both admired and liked it exceedingly. Your Journal & Letters were sent on to Marianne, Caroline and myself, at the Sea, where we have been the last three weeks. Susan read the Journal aloud to Papa, who was interested, and liked it very much. They want to see it at Maer, but we do not know whether you would choose that, and must wait till we hear from you, whether we may or not. It shall be kept most carefully for you.— The same Packet contained a note from Capt Beaufort, which I dare say you will be curious about, so I will copy it out. “Capt Beaufort presents his Compliments to Miss Darwin, with the enclosed letter, and perhaps she will pardon the liberty he takes in adding that Capt Fitzroy omits no opportunity of expressing the unqualified satisfaction he feels in Mr Darwin’s society—and in his last dispatch he says ”D. is equally liked and respected by every person in the Ship“. Admiralty. June 29.”—1 Susan wrote to thank Capt Beaufort for his politeness.—

This is the 5th letter going to Monte Video, April, May, June, July & August. It is a pity that April was not directed to Rio, but we were obliged to follow your original directions.— We were rather puzzled by your writing by a slip of the pen, I suppose that the Beagle was to sail back to St Salvador on the 7th of March, but you must have meant to write May. It is a very nice scheme your remaining stationary at Botofogo Bay. I can conceive no thing more extraordinary and interesting than to be quietly living in a Brazilian Cottage,— but do not let the Cottage put the Parsonage out of your head, a far better thing, and which we were rejoiced to hear continued to be a vista to your prospects. I hope you will in all probability find Fanny Wedgwood disengaged and sobered into an excellent Clergman’s Wife by the time you return, a nice little invaluable Wife she would be;2 I will not quite promise though that you will find her disengaged, as another Clergman, Mr Paget Moseley, Brother to Mrs Frank Wedgwood, is said to be paying her very sedulous attention; but he is such a vulgar, fat, horrid man, I do not think it is possible she will have him. I must tell you a little scene that took place between them. They were admiring some Flowers in the Greenhouse, when Mr Moseley declared he could show some far prettier flowers, and out of his pocket produced a scrap of paper, on which Fanny had scrawled some little flowers some weeks before. Emma was by, and was near choking with laughing at the man’s odd manner, and Fanny’s amazemen⁠⟨⁠t.⁠⟩⁠

Professor Sedgwicke has been so continually calling here of late at all the most unexpected times, tha⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠ I think the next piece of news you will hear, will be that Susan has turned into Mrs Sedgwicke.—3 The last time he called, he was on his road to Cader Idris.4 When we were at the Sea (at Rhyl, in Flintshire, not far from Abergelley, an ugly place) we made the usual little Tour to Bangor and Conway, and also to your old Acquaintance, the Orme’s Head, which Caroline is so delighted with, she quite longs to build a house there.— The Rhyl is a very ugly Sea Coast, and I found it quite a Plas Edwardes 5 and got heartily sick of it.— We have been reading a Review of Mr Earle’s Voyages in the South Seas,6 in Mr Lytton Bulwer’s Monthly Review;7 his book is much praised, and I think must be very entertaining.— I am very curious to know how often you get Newspapers, and how much of the Public news you know. The Papers will hardly tell you how much the Cholera has broken out again in London, and spread all over the Country; it is so strange its appearing this second time so much more among the higher classes. Mrs Smith (Lord Forrester’s Sister’s) death was the most frightfully sudden thing; she was at the Opera on Saturday Night, was perfectly well till Luncheon time on Sunday, when she was suddenly seized, and was dead by 12 at night. She suffered agonies; every Physician in London was sent for, but they wasted 2 hours in disputing before they could do any thing.— We are free from it yet in Shrewsbury.— The County Members are canvassing about all Shropshire, for the Reformed Parliament. Mr Pelham and Mr Whitmore are undisputed for the South of Shropshire, and Sir Rowland Hill, Mr Gore and Mr Coates for the North of Shropshire, which will be a disputed election. Mr Coates is the only Whig among them, and he is a very poor one. Mr Biddulph is to stand a Contested Election for Denbighshire with Lord Kenyon’s Son, which is a very foolish thing, as he is almost certain to lose.8 Poor Fanny will not have a very pleasant or easy life I am afraid; the old Mother, Mrs Biddulph is so odious to her, and Mr Biddulph is such an exacting Husband.— It is too bad of Erasmus not writing to you, he is such an idle creature, and he is so engrossed with Paganini I suppose.— I long to hear from you again, my dearest Charles. You cannot think how it rejoices my heart, when we get a letter from you.

God bless you always & believe me, with every body’s Love, yr most affectte| E. Catherine Darwin.


The original letter is in DAR 223.
Frances (Fanny) Wedgwood ‘died on August 20th, 1832, aged twenty-six, after a few days’ illness from some inflammatory attack’ (Emma Darwin 1: 250).
Although Henrietta Litchfield reports (in Emma Darwin (1915) 1: 141 n.) that CD once told her that ‘anything in coat and trousers from eight years to eighty was fair game to Susan’, Susan was the only sister who never married.
A mountain near Barmouth.
Town in North Wales. The ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 1, Appendix I) records that CD spent three weeks at Plas Edwards in 1819.
Augustus Earle, the draughtsman of the Beagle, had lived in New Zealand and travelled in the Pacific in 1827. The work referred to was published in 1832 (Earle 1832). See letter to Caroline Darwin, 27 December 1835 for the reaction of Robert FitzRoy and CD to its account of missionary work.
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton edited the New Monthly, 1831–2.
John Cressett Pelham was a Conservative candidate for Shrewsbury and was defeated; for South Shropshire, the Earl of Darlington and Robert Henry Clive, both Conservatives, were elected, defeating Thomas Whitmore, also a Conservative; for North Shropshire, Sir Rowland Hill (Conservative) and John Cotes (Liberal) defeated William Ormsby-Gore (Conservative) (Hanham 1972, pp. 283, 275). Robert Myddelton Biddulph stood as a Whig, for reform, and narrowly defeated Lloyd Kenyon (1805–69).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Earle, Augustus. 1832. A narrative of a nine months’ residence in New Zealand, in 1827; together with a journal of a residence in Tristan d’Acunha. London.

Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.

Hanham 1972. See Dod 1972.


Tells of the family’s pleasure in reading CD’s first two letters and his journal.

Comments on Shrewsbury politics, the cholera, and the family. Sedgwick calls often; Catherine thinks he is interested in Susan.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
AU 3 ⁠⟨⁠1832⁠⟩⁠
Source of text
DAR 204: 85
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 179,” accessed on 25 June 2022,

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