skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From R. H. Corfield   26–7 June 1835


June 26th 1835

My dear Darwin

It gave me infinite pleasure to receive your much wished for letter, which was brought by the Beagle. As I was very anxious to hear of your arrival at Coquimbo and though I am very glad to hear that you were well at the date of your letter, yet I was sorry to find my fears had been realized as what you would suffer on the road, for I was convinced you left this place too soon whereas by waiting another week you would have recovered so far as not to be so liable to a relapse. However I hope & trust you will not suffer from the weather we are experiencing having for the last 2 days more particularly suffered a severe norther, & heavy rain, but no ships lost, though if it had not been for the assistance rendered by the Beagle, some would have gone ashore.— Pray take care of yourself & let me have a line from you on your arrival at Lima just to say how you are, if it is only a few words I shall be satisfied I cannot express to you what I have felt since your arrival on the Coast,—I do not mean to compliment you or as the Irishman says give you any blarney—but I must candidly say, I do not recollect ever having experienced such pleasure, since I came to this Country as I have during your short stay with me a pleasure which I shall always remember with satisfaction & which has recalled to mind many associations of other days—which have much increased the desire I have of returning to England where I hope we shall again meet and I do not think you will have much difficulty in making me agree with you that Shropshire is in some respects, better than this Country. To me however individually Shropshire has few attractions as I am very little known there & never likely to live there yet still as one’s Native County it has some charms—and I hope you will ere long be there to enjoy them I hope to be in England before this time 2 yrs., and shall endeavour to stop there, & fix myself in some business so as not to come out here again, though there is many a worse country than this although it is so barren— I cannot help laughing at your idea of seeing a farm in Shropshire watered by the honest rain of Heaven instead of the unnatural artificial streams of this Country—it is a very useful way of watering and do not you think very original However, I prefer mine own Country and I hope & trust God willing I shall be able to settle there— We are all here going on much as usual. Old White & his wife & Grandson, have sailed in the Conway All Ship news interesting to you Wickham will tell you, & no doubt you will be surprised to see him Captain of the Beagle until Capt Fitzroy rejoins you at Lima—1 Your letter for England I shall send p Conway she being the first opportunity. your letter for Chiloe shall also go forward, but at present there is no vessel in the berth—2

I enclose a list of your clothes that you left for washing for which I paid 3$ 2. and the balance of 5$ 3 I paid Covington, who has paid 3cts for carting your things up to the mole, so that out of the 8$ 5 you gave me, he has to account to you for 5 dollars—

I do not send the letter you asked for, for Arica as I understand the vessel will not call there, but goes to Iquique where you have a letter for Mr Smith who lives there and I think you would receive little pleasure from an introduction to Gilman’s House, at Lagua.—

Allison will write to you by the Beagle I dined with Capt Fitzroy on board the other day and a very pleasant comfortable evening I spent, so snug in his little cabin. We have got the Stove rigged up in our sitting room and it is really very useful and delightful, to sit round, on a wet night— Caldcleugh is down here he & Wickham dined with me the other day    I have not been able to shew much attention to the officers of the Beagle for they have had a good deal to do, and I myself also busy at present preparing for the ships going to England and it being the end of the half year when there are always plenty of Accts to make out There is very little local news that I hear of and you will probably hear more from Wickham than I can tell you— We are daily expecting some vessels from Lpool, if I get any Salop papers I will send you some by Capt Fitzroy when he rejoins the Beagle at Callao & will then write again to you

I must conclude this stupid letter—and I trust it will find you in good health for the long voyage you have in prospect which I trust will be pleasant & prosperous and with every good wish for your happiness & welfare | Believe me my dear Fellow | very sincerely your friend | R H Corfield

Saturday June 27 1835

I merely add a few lines to ask you to apologise for me to Mr Stokes, whom I wished to have seen more of while staying here and told him I should send an invitation to ask him but some bad weather intervening I have been obliged to delay it until the last moment which being inconvenient for me on account of several little things &tc. I have been obliged to let him go away without seeing him—

A vessel arrived this morning in 90 days from Bourdeaux—. All quiet I understa⁠⟨⁠nd⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠, The French Ministry changed ⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠el Soult3 the new prime mini⁠⟨⁠ster.⁠⟩⁠ The Emperor of Austria—dead— Mr Abercomby4 the New Speaker of the ⁠⟨⁠House⁠⟩⁠ of Commons & Sr Chas Sutton,5 mad⁠⟨⁠e a⁠⟩⁠ peer I am told—

2 vessels sailed from Lpool for this place on 1st March— So I hope to be able to send you some more news soon—

Farewell—take care of yourself | Yours very truly | R H Corfield


Robert FitzRoy had sailed with H.M.S. Blonde to rescue the crew of the Challenger, which had been wrecked on 19 May (see Narrative 2: 429–30 and letter to Caroline Darwin, [19] July – [12 August] 1835).
This may have been a letter to Charles Douglas at Chiloé asking for his observations on the earthquake of 20 February. ‘Being anxious to trace the effects of the earthquake to the south, I wrote, shortly after visiting Concepcion [March 1835], to Mr. Douglas, a very intelligent man, with whom I had become acquainted in the island of Chiloe’ Collected papers 1: 55).
Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult, Duke of Dalmatia.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Narrative: Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836. [Edited by Robert FitzRoy.] 3 vols. and appendix. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Greatly enjoyed CD’s company; has worried about his health. Adds some European and English news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Richard Henry Corfield
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 130
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 278,” accessed on 21 July 2024,

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