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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert FitzRoy   24 [August 1833]

Beagle. | off M. Megatherii. [Punta Alta]

Saturday. 24th.

My dear Philos

Trusting that you are not entirely expended,—though half starved,— occasionally frozen, and at times half drowned—I wish you joy of your campaign with Genl. Rosas—1 and I do assure you that whenever the ship pitches (which is very often as you well know) I am extremely vexed to think how much sea practice you are losing;—and how unhappy you must feel upon the firm ground.

Your home (upon the waters) will remain at anchor near the Montem Megatherii until you return to assist in the parturition of a Megalonyx measuring seventy two feet from the end of his Snout to the tip of his tail—and an Ichthyosaurus somewhat larger than the Beagle.—

Our wise ones say that you are not enough of an Archimedes to accomplish the removal of this latter animalcule.

I have sent,— by Chaffers,—to the Commandant.— On your account,—and on behalf of our intestines,—which have a strange inclination to be interested by beef.2

If you have already departed for the Sierra Ventana— tanto mejor—I shall stay here,—at the old trade—“quarter-er-less four”—

Sancho goes with Chaffers in case you should require his right trusty service.

Send word when you want a boat—we shall send, once in four days.

Take your own time —there is abundant occupation here for all the Sounders,—so we shall not growl at you when you return. | Yours very truly | Robt: FitzRoy

P.S. I do not rejoice at your extraordinary and outrageous peregrinations because I am envious—jealous,—and extremely full of all uncharitableness. What will they think at home of “Master Charles” “I do think he be gone mad”— Prithee be careful —while there’s care there’s no fear —says the saw.

PS. 2d. (Irish fash)3 Have you yet heard from Henslow—or about your collections sent to England?


CD was waiting for the Beagle when she arrived at Bahia Blanca on 24 August. He and James Harris had ridden overland from the Rio Negro, having been given a passport and horses by General Juan Manuel de Rosas, commander of an expedition to exterminate the Indians. See Journal of researches, ch. 4.
Edward Main Chaffers, Master of the Beagle, was sent by FitzRoy to obtain fresh meat.
The second postscript precedes the first in the manuscript.


Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Wishes CD well on his trip to General Juan Manuel Rosas. CD is to send word when he wants a boat; there is no hurry, for there is plenty of work for the sounders. He envies CD’s travels.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert FitzRoy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
HMS Beagle, off M. Megatherii (Punta Alta)
Source of text
DAR 204: 117
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 212,” accessed on 17 May 2021,

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