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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Caroline Darwin   13 November 1833

Monte Video

November 13th. 1833

My dear Caroline

I have to thank you for a letter dated September 1st & one from Susan July 22d.— Since I wrote from B. Ayres, I have suffered a host of vexations, but at last every thing has ended prosperously. I with much trouble & by bribing got my servant in to the town & then started for this place, almost expecting the Beagle to have sailed.— I now find to my astonishment she will remain 3 weeks more in the river.— And here comes the whole purport of my letter, to announce more extravagance.— I have really now been struggling for a whole week, but there is a very interesting geological formation on the coast of the Uruguay, & every day I hear of more facts respecting it.— When I think I never shall be in this country again, I cannot bear to miss seeing one of the most curious pieces of Geology.— I wish any of you could enter into my feelings of excessive pleasure, which Geology gives, as soon as one partly understands the nature of a country.— I have drawn a bill for 50£.— I well know, that considering my outfit I have spent this year far more than I ought to do.— I should be very glad if my Father would make a real account against me, as he often says jokingly.— I hope he will not think I say this impertinently: The sort of interest I take in this voyage, is so different a feeling to any thing I ever knew before, that, as in this present instance I have made arrangements for starting, all the time knowing I have no business to do it. I wish the same feeling did not act so strongly with the Captain. He is eating an enormous hole into his capital, for sake of advancing all the objects of the voyage.— The Schooner, which will so very mainly be conducive to our safety, he entirely pays for.—

I have just packed up a Cargo of specimens. I send home nearly 200 skins of birds & the smaller quadrupeds & a fine set of fossil bones.— There is one skeleton, sufficiently mutilated, of an animal, of which I do not think there exists at present on the globe any relation.—1 I am now living on shore in the house of an English merchant; as they are so busy, chart-making on board, that they would have nothing to say to me till this Packet sails. The whole coast of Patagonia is now completed, & please Providence, we trust by late in the Autumn to say the same of Tierra del Fuego. Poor Earl has never been well since leaving England & now his health is so entirely broken up, that he leaves us.— a Mr Martens, a pupil of C. Fielding2 & excellent landscape drawer has joined us.— He is a pleasant person, & like all birds of that class.—full up to the mouth with enthusiasm.—

We are all beginning to long for “blue water” & I am sure I do, if it is merely to prevent my spending money.— My present scheme is not a very great one. I go to Colonia del Sacramiento, then up the coast of the Uruguay to the R. Negro, to the town of Mercedes.—from thence back in direct line to M: Video or perhaps to the lime-kilns at Paysandu,3 25 leagues up the Uruguay.— the whole round will be under 400 miles.—& the whole country inhabite⁠⟨⁠d.⁠⟩⁠ There is peace at last a Buenos Ayres, so that I have lost very little of my property.— Do you ever hear in England of these revolutions, which are considered as so important in this poor country?— It is late. I am not in a writing humour, so I will wish you good night.—

Give my love all & my thanks for all the long & very nice letters.— I will write again before we sail.— Yours very affectionately | Chas. Darwin.—

Love to Nancy


Since CD does not give the location in which he found it, the fossil cannot be identified in Fossil Mammalia, but it may be the one, still unidentified in 1846, mentioned on p. 84 of South America as ‘fragments of a head of some gigantic Edental quadruped’ found at Punta Alta.
CD does not record any visit to Paysandu but he saw a lime kiln on the way to Mercedes (see ‘Beagle’ diary, p. 194).


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

Fossil Mammalia: Pt 1 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle … during the years 1831 to 1836. By Richard Owen. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–43.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1846.


His troubles during the revolution have ended well.

Now plans to investigate geological formations at Rio Negro. Is concerned about the expense but cannot bear to miss seeing "one of the most curious pieces of Geology".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 223
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 230,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

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