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Darwin Correspondence Project

From James Busby to Alexander Berry   29 December 1835

Waitangi—Bay of Islands

29th. December 1835

My Dear Sir

I take great pleasure in reminding you that such a person as myself is still in existence by introducing to you the bearer of this, Mr. Darwin: I am sure it will give you pleasure to become acquainted with a Geologist who has spent several years in examining the Mountains of South America and I dont know any person to whom I could introduce him better qualified than yourself to give him an idea of what little is known of the Geology of New Holland.1

The Ship I understand will only be a fortnight at Port Jackson and of course Mr. Darwin will have little opportunity of making observations for himself— But what little may be within his power may be greatly improved by judicious advice—

I ought to have mentioned sooner that Mr. Darwin is a passenger with Capt. FitzRoy2 of H.M.S Beagle.

I see from an occasional glance at the Sydney Newspapers—that the Colony is as much in a ferment as ever— I think the line must now be becoming more & more marked between men of honorable principles and feelings and those who would fall down before the many headed Monster—(Monstrum horrendum 3 as it is in New South Wales) of Public opinion to whatever Supreme head the many may be supported— How refreshing it is to honest men, to see the individual views of its members defeat the object which a union of rogues might effect—

The fate of the proposal for a Municipal Corporation in Sydney is a proof of what I stated in writing 8 years ago that there was not virtue enough in the Colony for any free Institution which idea I see all but stated in a late charge of Judge Burtons—4 I have not had time to read the whole of that address but that sentiment caught my eye— And I was delighted to see something like virtue and honesty in high places

I have heard from my brother of your exertions in favour of my father.5 I would give you my hearty thanks, if I thought that would add thing to the satisfaction which you must have felt in doing what you could to shield an honest man from oppression— We have heard of Tory Tyranny— If this is what we are to expect from the Whigs— Every honest man may devoutly pray for a change.— A change which must be at the door for I think the people of England were beginning to awake from their dream of Utopian improvement to the real Evils which have threatened them by the ascendancy of those who are “given to change”— I hope you will excuse this rambling letter— Mrs. Busby joins me in kind regards to Mrs. Berry6 | And I remain | My Dear Sir | Very Faithfully Yours | James Busby

Alexr Berry Esq


CD travelled in South America between February 1832 and September 1835 (see Correspondence vol. 1, Appendix I). New Holland: Australia.
Robert FitzRoy.
Monstrum horrendum: ‘fearful monster’ (Latin). Busby quotes Virgil’s description of the cyclops Polyphemus (Aeneid 3.658).
William Westbrooke Burton.
James Busby had four brothers; he also refers to his father, John. (Aust. dict. biog. s.v. Busby, John).
Busby refers to Agnes Busby and Elizabeth Berry.


Introduces CD to Alexander Berry of Sydney.

Letter details

Letter no.
James Busby
Alexander Berry
Sent from
Waitangi, New Zealand
Source of text
Mitchell Library (MLMSS 315/51 Item 6, pp. 1–4)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 289F,” accessed on 8 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)