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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Caroline Darwin   9–28 March [1834]


March 9th.

My dear Charles

The very day Susan had sent her letter (Feb 27th.) to the Post yours from Monte Video November 13th. arrived— We had been anxiously wishing for an account of your difficulties having ended & I am exceedingly glad to find the newspaper report of Peace confirmed by your letter— My Father desires his kindest love to you & bids me say he did not growl or grumble at the last £50 you said you drew—& he says you must not fret about money—but be as good & prudent as you can. My Father does not suppose you can do any thing, but the next boxes & cargoes you send to England, he wishes you would talk or enquire a little what is charged for their conveyance, as my Father thinks that they make him pay too much—it may however be the conveyance in England to Cambridge that is so expensive.— We have not heard yet through Erasmus from Professor Henslow of the safe arrival of the last cargo of specimens skins of birds &tc but the Times newspaper says “several packages of specimens of fossils birds & quadrupeds skins & geological specimens have been collected by the naturalist Mr. Dawson & sent to Professor Hindon at Cambridge by the last packet”, so from this blundering account we may presume that they are safe, & I congratulate you, it would be very hard if they had been lost after all your zeal & industry. I am beginning to long to hear of the journey of 300 miles you were just setting out upon when last you wrote. Charlotte says in her last letter & I dare say very truly, that she supposes we have hardly any idea of the interest & delight of your adventurous travels, from our own jog trot tours— I think the wildest most adventurous journey I ever took was that with you over the Hills to Bala1 & I am afraid now you will not be able to shudder over our perils of wind & water—poor old fellow how I wish after your fatigues you had the comfortable little parlour we had that night & tea & muffins to refresh your self—but seriously, I do most earnestly hope you may meet no dangers & that before this letter goes we may hear of your safe return to Monte Video.— My Father is very well he went last week for 3 nights to Camp Hill & had a very pleasant visit with Aunt Sarah one morning going to call at Keel & to see all the John Wedgwood family assembled there & the following morning he spent at Maer. Uncle Jos was not then attending his duties in Parliament of which I believe he is getting heartily tired— People say the power of the Radical party is gaining strength & that if this ministry should go out of which there have often been rumours & Parliament dissolved, there is great fear of a strong body of Radicals being admitted— It is very goodnatured of you remembering Nancy in your letters, she was so much pleased by the love you sent her in your last letter, I believe really she counts the months &c to your return with as much eagerness as we do—

Good Friday—March 28th— I dare say Erasmus will write to you himself, but for fear he should not I will copy a sentence in his last letter to me— “I called on Mr Clift the curator of the Museum at the College of Surgeons to read to him the passage in Charles’s letter about the bones, and you never saw a little man so delighted, I have accordingly written to Plymouth to get them forwarded by sea, & I hope to make the College pay for the carriage. He has been working every spare hour for the last two months, & it certainly does appear a strange coincidence that the College should possess the front portion of the scull & that Charles should send home the remainder of it which enables them to complete the drawing tho’ not the actual skeleton”—2 I give you joy my dear Charles on having found these bones that delight the learned so much—& I do not doubt you will have long letters from Professor Henslow or some one who will tell you all particulars— Tom Eyton staid two days here the week before last & made most particular enquiries about you & wished he was with you— he said he would go to Cambridge & hear what people said about the specimens you have sent home & then write to you— he said he had many things to tell you which he was sure would interest you— we wanted him to stay another day to go with us to a party at Mrs Leightons but he said no, he could not, it was impossible & at last told the reason, he was expecting by that days Coach a Chamelion & he must go & give it the meeting & some flies for its dinner— My Father was very much pleased by what he saw of him he thought he had so much accurate information on many subjects— I have two marriages to tell you of having taken place this month— William Fox is married to the Miss Fletch⁠⟨⁠er⁠⟩⁠ we told you of—& has taken a house in the Island of Wight⁠⟨⁠.⁠⟩⁠ Julia says he is looking very happy & well, but his che⁠⟨⁠st⁠⟩⁠ is not yet strong enough to undertake any duty—

Dr. Holland is also married to a daughter of Sydney Smith it was a grand wedding, being married by the Archbishop of York3 Erasmus has not yet seen her so we do not know whether she will prove popular in his little London set—

We are just come in from hearing a most excellent sermon by Mr. Harding—4 how happy it would make me dear Charles to feel sure I should some Good Friday be hearing you—or indeed I should be well content if at this moment I could tell where you were & to know that you were safe & well & happy—

Professor Sedgwick has published a most beautifully written discourse on the Studies of the University—5 I had no idea he was such a religious high minded man—from his book he must have very strong religious feeling—

My Father is very well & comfortable both in body & spirits— the methodical life he now leads suits him in every way so much better, than the bustling about as he was doing when you left home. I often look back to the dread I had of his leaving off business thinking he would be so flat & dull— I do not know of any Shropshire news—except that poor Mary Burton died a few days ago after a long painful illness—also Miss Kinaston6 of Hardwick is dead— Susan is going to Woodhouse next Wednesday to stay with Caroline till she goes to London where she is going soon & Francis with her to pay Sarah a visit before he leaves England He believes that the ship he is to go in to India will sail the middle of April so he has but a short time before him— They have very good accounts from Arthur— Fanny Biddulph is better but looks so thin & pale you would think her sadly changed—she quite dreads going to London on account of the exertion, she feels so weak— Marianne comes to us next week she does not write to you, we always send on all news of you immediately to her— My Father is in the room & desires his kindest love, he asks me if I have told you of your fame & about the skull, which I have done. Susan’s love also & Believe me my dear Charles Yrs affecly and God bless you— Caroline Darwin


In 1826. See ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 1, Appendix I) entry for 30 October of that year.
See Clift 1835, plate xliv for an outline drawing, made in 1832, of the Megatherium, showing the parts discovered by Woodbine Parish. CD’s bones are figured in Fossil Mammalia, plate xxx.
John Harding, incumbent of St George’s, Shrewsbury (Alum. Oxon.).
Sedgwick 1833a.


Alum. Oxon.: Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1500–1886: … with a record of their degrees. Being the matriculation register of the university. Alphabetically arranged, revised, and annotated by Joseph Foster. 8 vols. London and Oxford: Parker & Co. 1887–91.

Clift, William. 1835. Some account of the remains of the Megatherium sent to England from Buenos Ayres by Woodbine Parish, Jun. [Read 13 June 1832.] Transactions of the Geological Society of London 2d ser. 3: 437–50.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.


They learn from a garbled report in the Times that CD’s specimens have arrived in Cambridge.

William Clift, at Royal College of Surgeons, delighted by CD’s letter about the bones that were sent to Plymouth.

Strange coincidence that Royal College of Surgeons has the front portion and CD has sent home the remainder of a skull, of which a drawing can now be completed.

Other news of family and friends.

Letter details

Letter no.
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Shrewsbury MA 29 1834
Source of text
DAR 204: 80
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 239,” accessed on 9 June 2023,

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