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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Catherine Darwin   27–30 January 1834


January 27th. | 1834.

My dear Charles

I think Caroline has written to you since we received your letter of Oct 23d from Buenos Ayres, when you were in an alarm at the chance of losing your Luggage & Servant. We were very sorry to hear of the unfortunate loss of your Gun, as every body who has heard of it, agree in its being such an irreparable loss in the Country you are in.— We are very anxious for your next letter to tell us that you are safe on Board again after all your Adventures, and your daring Rides & Exploits.— I can easily believe in the great interest of leading the Gaucho Life, and I only wish I could be quite easy as to the risk, among that villainous set of people.

Your Journal is safely packed up, now that we have all read it.— It is a very nice fashion you have got into of sending your Letters by Liverpool Packets; they come to us so much sooner than when they go to London. I am sure there is some delay at the Admiralty in forwarding them, for we see the news in the Paper from S. America, of the same date, a week sooner than we get your Letters.

Papa is very well, and manages to occupy himself with the small degree of Practise he keeps, as he has almost entirely given it up.— He desires his best love and to tell you how very glad he always is to hear from you. I have very little news indeed to tell you this time; the principal is that Caroline had a letter not long ago from William Fox in the Isle of Wight, announcing his intended marriage in the Spring to a Miss Harriet Fletcher, the daughter of a Sir Richard Fletcher who was killed at the siege of Zaragoza in the Peninsular War, and who resides near where the Fox’s are, in the Isle of Wight.— He appears to be much in love with her, as far as one can tell by his letter, and what is a greater proof, is that it appears that his bad health has been partly caused by his anxiety about the success of his suit; so that now that is happily settled, I do hope he will become stronger & happier, and be able to resume his Curacy.— He hopes to find a Curacy in the South of England, as that climate agrees with him so much better; whenever he is able to undertake the duty, but I suppose he will not be strong enough to try it this Summer.— It is a very nice thing that so good a man should be restored to happiness & usefulness again, and I do hope Miss Fletcher will prove as nice a person as he deserves to have; any how she must be much better than that stupid Bessy Galton.— Another match has just been announced; but this, I am afraid will not interest you, and it must be owned, it is a desperately dull one.— Dr Holland is going to marry in second nuptials Sydney Smith’s daughter;1 she is old, and foolish by all accounts, so that it is not a match his friends particularly like. I do not know what his great friend Erasmus thinks of it, as he has not written to us of late.— Erasmus appears to live in a little round of visits about London; he goes the Circle of Clapham (the Hensleigh Wedgwoods) Dr Holland’s, Lady Gifford’s, and Mrs Marsh’s.2

Poor Uncle Jos has to go up to London next week, to resume his Parliamentary duties; it will be a great bore for him to leave his family, & Maer, which he is so fond of, and go to London, which he dislikes so much.— Aunt Bessy continues just in the same state, quite helpless, but very comfortable otherwise.— Did Caroline tell you that when Robert Clive was here, not long ago, he talked of shooting with you, at Maer, the last time he had seen you? What a merry, pleasant goodnatured creature Robert Clive is.— I think he is so much the most agreeable of the Clives. The three Bachelors Henry, Edward & Robert Clive live together at Styche very comfortably.— You will be sorry to hear how ill poor Fanny Biddulph continues; she looks the ghost of herself, and Papa thinks her very seriously unwell; it has now continued so very long, ever since her confinement last May.— They talked of coming here this week, if she does not get better; Mr Biddulph is as attentive as possible to her.— Your other d⁠⟨⁠ear⁠⟩⁠ Friend Sarah Williams, has been leading ⁠⟨⁠the⁠⟩⁠ gayest and most rackety life this Winter; there never yet was such a lawless house as Eaton, nor such a merry one.— For about two months, there was an immense party collected there, about 20 in the house, and they went mad over Private Theatricals. They had regular Scenery, and Dresses, and they acted about three Plays, at different times.—

Thursday 30th.— I have got a piece of news to tell you now, which ought to interest you; the birth of Miss Louisa Jane Wedgwood,3 Harry & Jessie’s first & eldest daughter; she was born last Tuesday the 28th, and Mother & Daughter were both going on very well, when Harry wrote to us;— You will find a flourishing rising Generation when you return. This has been one of the most rainy Winters in England that has ever been remembered, we have had no frost or snow, but constant deluges of rain, pouring down. We have had three Floods, of the Severn, which is a most unusual number. I think it a very disagreeable kind of Winter, but people in general like the mildness of it very much.— I wish I could send you any Political news, but I am afraid I cannot— There have been constant rumours of Lord Grey’s intending to resign, on account of his health, but with no truth in them, it is to be hoped.—4 It is wonderful how many improvements were carried the last long Session; the great deed of the Emancipation of the Slaves, was upon the whole nearly as satisfactory as one could hope. How quietly the Slaves in the W. Indies have taken the certainty of their freedom; I hope they may go through their apprenticeships as quietly.—5

Goodbye, my dearest Charles.— We long to hear from you again and still more to get your first Letter from Valparaiso. How you will enjoy the hot Climates again; all I entreat of you, is to take care of yourself, and not be rash in any thing. With all our most affectionate loves, believe me my dear dear old Charley, yr very affecte Sister Catherine

Papa begs again I will give you his best love, and say every thing kind for him.—


Saba Smith.
Anne Marsh, a writer much admired by the Allens and Wedgwoods. She is frequently mentioned in Emma Darwin (1915). Her sister Emma was Henry Holland’s first wife.
Lord Grey retired in 1834 as a result of a disagreement among the Cabinet about the renewal of the Irish Coercion Act of 1833.
The term of apprenticeship, originally seven years, was reduced to five years when it became clear that the ‘apprentices’ would no longer work for their masters.


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


News of family and friends: W. D. Fox will marry in the spring; private theatricals at Eaton house-party.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 91
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 236,” accessed on 19 April 2024,

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