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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   [9 March 1826]


Dear C

You asked me if I had time in plenty to write from Glasgow, & time I have in plenty enough to write more than ever you could read. The Steam Vessel does not sail till the middle of Friday so that I have two days & a half complete to spend here & nothing in the world to do with myself. I shall in consequence give you a most detailed account of the journey. I got into the Tun a little before nine o’clock. There is little or nothing to be seen the whole way at least I saw nothing being confined to the cabbin from the rain which more or less was almost incessant. They have the providence to put books in the Cabin & in the course of the day I read a volume of Guy Mannering of Mid Lothian,1 L’Amie Inconnue The Lounger & several No’s of the Monthly Review2 & also divers Newspapers. They give a very decent breakfast & at one ‘oclock I got some biscuits & ’decoction of what do you call it to wit porter which served for the first boat. The canal goes thro’ a mountain by means of a tunnel 1/2 mile long & which has quite a beautiful effect. It then by means of a vast number of locks goes down a Hill, but the passengers get out & walk down to the second boat. I was then the only Cabin passenger, the others having dropt away one by one.

About four dinner. Cold veal, ham & beef ham & roast potatoes & some most excellent bottled Ale which I recommend to your attention. Another passenger now joined us & when it grew dark we played at backgammon & drank some toddy till we arrived. I got a porter, took his number & left him to bring my luggage up at his leisure to the Eagle, in Maxwell St. which cost 1/6. The Steam Vessel is ye Henry Bell, from Greenock. The Sovreign Steam Boat goes from the Broomielaw at Glasgow to Greenock at 12 noon. You take your passage at Laird & Co 25 York St Glasgow.— This is all copied from one of the papers. Another vessel I believe sails on Tuesday but I do not know any thing about it. I found my Backgammon friend very useful as he told me all about the vessels & shewed me the way to the inn.

I went to the college in High St which is a very handsome old building & heard Thomson3 from 10 to 11. His room is not bigger than Alisons4 & has not as many pupils I think & altogether a most vile turn out. He Lectures in the most singular manner about two words & then a pause sitting quite quietly in his chair. Most of the students wear red gowns & are a step worse than the Edinenses. I shall not try for Ure5 but the Andersonian Institution6 is in John St. I believe I saw the Dr himself but am not the least sure.

Valeas. Read & Burn.

I see a concert advertised here the performers Miss Paton Mr Thorne! Miss Noel!!— Miss Dyer came from Glasgow originally.


Guy Mannering was published anonymously in 1815. Sir Walter Scott’s authorship remained a closely guarded secret until 1827.
L’amie inconnue has not been identified. The Lounger: a periodical paper, published at Edinburgh in the years 1785 and 1786 (by H. Mackenzie and others); Erasmus probably read one of the editions in two or three volumes that were issued in later years. The Monthly Review (or Literary Journal) (1749–1825); new series, London (1826–8). [Update 21 August 2009: L’Amie Inconnue identified as Angelina, or L’Amie Inconnue in Maria Edgeworth’s Moral Tales, first published in 1801, probably from 8th ed., 3 vols, 1821 (in 2nd vol.).]
Thomas Thomson, Regius Professor of Chemistry at Glasgow University.
William Pulteney Alison, Professor of ‘Institutes of Medicine’ at Edinburgh University.
Andrew Ure, editor of A dictionary of chemistry, was Professor of Chemistry at Anderson’s Institution, Glasgow.
Anderson’s Institution, founded in 1796, later affiliated with the University of Glasgow. In 1964 it was given a charter as the University of Strathclyde.


Describes his trip by canal to Glasgow, and sightseeing there.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Glasgow 405 9 MAR 1826
Source of text
DAR 204: 14
Physical description
AL 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 25,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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