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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Caroline and Catherine Darwin   28 January [1835]


Janry 28th.

My dearest Charles

Caroline received your letter from Valparaiso of October 13th, about a week ago. I cannot tell you how sorry we were to hear that you have been ill, my dear Charley. It must have been so trying for you being ill when you were on an Expedition, and I am sure you must have suffered very much by forcing yourself to travel on, while so unfit for it.— We are in hopes of hearing from you soon again, as we are doubly anxious to hear of you now. Papa charges me to give you a message from him; he wishes to urge you to think of leaving the Beagle, and returning home, and to take warning by this one serious illness; Papa says that if once your health begins to fail, you will doubly feel the effect of any unhealthy climate, and he is very uneasy about you, and very much afraid of the fevers you are liable to incur in those Countries. Papa is very much in earnest, and desires me to beg you to recollect that it will soon be four years since you left us, which surely is a long portion of your life to give up to Natural History.— If you wait till the Beagle returns home, it will be as many years again; the time of its voyage goes on lengthening & lengthening every time we hear of it; we are quite in despair about it.— Do think of what Papa says, my dear Charles; his advice is always so sensible in the long run, and do be wise in time, & come away before your health is ruined; if you once lose that, you will never recover it again entirely.— I wish it was possible that anything we can say may have some effect on you; do not be entirely guided by those you are with, who of course, wish to keep you, & will do their utmost to that end, but do think in earnest of Papa’s strong advice & opinion.— Caroline wrote to you last month, from London, when poor Erasmus was recovering from his dangerous fever; he has been with us now for about a fortnight, and is getting better and stronger every day, and I trust will soon be quite himself again; he will not stay with us much longer, but returns to London next week. He sends you his best love, & will write to you himself, when he goes back to London, with some Books that are going to you from Cambridge.— Eras did write you a bit of a letter in one of Susan’s, that you must have had before you get this.— Eras is such a languid, indolent old fellow, that you must forgive him for not having written to you oftener.— I am very glad that you have now received all Mr Owen’s letters, and I hope he will soon have your answer. Have you ever written to William Fox since his marriage? You will be sorry to hear that his Lady has had a dead baby, which was a great grief to them, and was most dangerously ill, soon afterwards with Inflammation of the Chest. Old Mrs William Darwin, Mrs Fox’s Mother is dead, at the age of 90; I do not know whether you ever saw her, or knew of her existence. It is said they will leave Osmaston soon.— I can easily believe how very difficult and disagreeable you must find writing to friends, you have not seen for such a time now and I am sure one letter that you write, ought to count for three that you receive; but still you must every now & then write to your other Correspondents besides us, or they will not continue to write to you.— We rejoice exceedingly for you having such a kind useful friend in Mr Corfield; a friend in S. America must be invaluable.— I have only one extraordinary piece of news for you, which you will first laugh at, and then be sorry for.— I suppose you know Robert Wedgwood has been living the last half year as Curate at Muxton, in old Mr Crewe’s house; he is a most disrespectable, horrible old man, and his son, Mr John Crewe also is a disgraced man, & banished from Shropshire;1 all the John Wedgwoods were much vexed at Robert’s going to live in that disrespectable house, and the⁠⟨⁠y⁠⟩⁠ are still more vexed now, when it comes out that Robert has fallen vehemently and desp⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠rately in love with Miss Crewe, who is 50 years old, and blind of one eye. The John Wedgwoods have tried in vain to break off this unlucky engagement, but all in vain; Robert is infatuated, and proud of his good fortune, and they will soon be married.— She is a clever woman, and must have entrapped him by her artifices; & she has the remains of great beauty to help her; it is said also that she has a violent temper, which is another bad point in this ill-starred match.— Robert is either 28 or 29, so there are either 21 or 22 years difference between them.— It is a regular case of Gobble Boy, I think.— The John Wedgwoods are here now; Aunt Jane desires her best love to you.— Uncle Jos’ Parliamentary Days are over. he did not attempt to stand this last Election he would not have been returned if he had. Shropshire has actually returned 12 Tory Members who are called Lord Powis’s Twelve Apostles.2 Toryism rages in Shropshire more than ever, and there certainly has been a slight re-action in favor of the Tories over the Country; in general though, the Reformers are much stronger, and will, I trust soon rout out Sir Robert Peel, and his odious Ministry.—3 Edward Holland is returned as Member for East Worcestershire.— I have not yet told you what nice accounts have been received of the Langtons; they arrived at Madeira, the 16th of December, after only 10 day’s sail, which Charlotte speaks of enjoying very much, and she writes in great admiration of the beauty of the climate, which is hot for exercise (in Decber) and our greenhouse flowers in full blow out of doors.— This will not sound so wonderful to you. Mr Langton was very well, when Charlotte wrote with no affection of his Chest.—

I have told you every thing now, my dear old Charley.— How I wish that your next letter might bring us the joyful news of your return; how happy that would make us.— Papa’s kindest & best love; he is very well. Bless you, my dear old boy, and take care of yourself, at least. | Ever yrs| Catherine Darwin

My dear Charles I was grieved to hear of your illness & your disappointment in again going to Patagonia— I hope & trust you will seriously consider whether it would not be wise in you to leave the Beagle & return home. you have now been longer than you originally intended & are not the slightest degree bound in honour to remain as long as the Beagle does. My Father & we shall be excessively happy to see you again & do think whether on account of your own happiness & health you had not better come back to us. | dearest Charles Goodbye & God bless you. We are anxious for your next letter— | Caroline Darwin.


Edward Clive, Earl of Powis.
The Tory trend in Shropshire was not typical. Popular resentment at the dismissal of Lord Melbourne by King William IV and his appointment of Peel and Wellington caused a heavy Whig majority to be elected. Peel, repeatedly outvoted in the Commons, resigned in April 1835. Melbourne succeeded him and formed a Ministry that lasted six years.


Concerned over CD’s illness. His father strongly urges him to come home lest his health be ruined.

News of family and friends.

Twelve Tories elected in Shropshire.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 266,” accessed on 31 May 2023,

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