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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
Source of text
DAR 204: 14
Physical description
AL 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 25,” accessed on 17 September 2019,

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