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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Caroline Darwin   28 October [1833]


October 28th

My dear Charles—

I have been reading with the greatest interest your journal & I found it very entertaining & interesting, your writing at the time gives such reality to your descriptions & brings every little incident before one with a force that no after account could do. I am very doubtful whether it is not pert in me to criticize, using merely my own judgment, for no one else of the family have yet read this last part—but I will say just what I think—I mean as to your style. I thought in the first part (of this last journal) that you had, probably from reading so much of Humboldt, got his phraseology & occasionly made use of the kind of flowery french expressions which he uses, instead of your own simple straight forward & far more agreeable style. I have no doubt you have without perceiving it got to embody your ideas in his poetical language & from his being a foreigner it does not sound unnatural in him— Remember, this criticism only applies to parts of your journal, the greatest part I liked exceedingly & could find no fault, & all of it I had the greatest pleasure in reading—

Susan I dare say told you in her letter to Valparaiso dated 18th. of October of Mr. Howels delight at receiving an order of shoes from you, this letter will go with them & with the books &tc. that Erasmus sends. I have sent you a few little books which are talked about by every body at present—written by Miss Martineau who I think had been hardly heard of before you left England. She is now a great Lion in London, much patronized by Ld. Brougham who has set her to write stories on the poor Laws—1 Erasmus knows her & is a very great admirer & every body reads her little books & if you have a dull hour you can, and then throw them overboard, that they may not take up your precious room— I was very glad you have more space now than at first & particularly glad you have a servant as that must be a comfort to you. I also send Whately (Archbishop of Dublin’s) Scripture Revelations2 I like it so very much & I think we often used to find we liked the same kind of books—

The papers now are very full of Captain Ross’s safe return,3 he seems to be quite satisfied with what he has done in finding there is no passage south of 74th, but I should have thought it very poor satisfaction for the misery & sufferings he has gone through— Catty & I have been passing a very quiet week together whilst Susan, Papa & Harry have been Cathedral hunting Papa has enjoyed very much all he has seen Susan says in her letter & tomorrow we expect them home again— I wish I could think of any home events— Cath I am sure will have told you all Owen gossip & I have been so busy the last month regulating my new Infant School that I could only give you a journal of the childrens progress in ba-be bi— I rejoice to find the more you see of the negro’s the better you think of them & it is delightful to think in a few years we shall have no more slaves—that alone is enough to make one properly value this Parliament it is my turn to write next month & as in the interim I shall go to Maer, my next letter will be a Wedgwood one I dread the time you are looking forward to with such eagerness, for when once in the South seas there will be an end of regular correspondence & I wish you could see the happiness a letter from you gives to every one— dearest Charles good bye. Yrs affly C D.


Martineau 1833–4.
Captain John Ross had just returned from an Arctic surveying voyage, 1829–33, in search of the North-West Passage.


Whately, Richard. 1829. A view of the Scripture revelations concerning a future state; laid before his parishioners, by a country pastor. London.


Finds CD’s journal very entertaining and interesting, but thinks his style in first part too much influenced by Humboldt.

Sends some books by Harriet Martineau and Archbishop Whately.

Rejoices that the more he sees of Negroes, the better he thinks of them.

Letter details

Letter no.
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 78
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 224,” accessed on 25 July 2024,

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