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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Caroline Darwin   29 December [1835]


My dear Charles

I received yesterday your dear affectionate letter from Lima, dated July 17th.—1 it is delightful to think how very soon we shall have you at home again & now that it is possibly only six or 8 months before you will be England again I can with good heart say we are very glad you will finish the voyage to your own satisfaction & very thankful we all are that you have not been oblgd to give it up from ill health— you must now hear how your fame is spreading— a note came to my Father on Xmas day from Profr. Henslow speaking most kindly of you & rejoicing you would soon return “to reap the reward of your perseverance and take your position among the first Naturalist of the day” and with the note he sent my Father some copies of extracts from your letters to him printed for Private distribution the little preface to the extracts says they were printed for distribution “among the members of the Cambridge Philosophical society in consequence of the interest which has been excited by some of the Geological notices which they contain, & which were read at a meeting of the Society on the 16th of November 1835”. My Father did not move from his seat till he had read every word of your book & he was very much gratified— he liked so much the simple clear way you gave your information Your frank unhacknied mode of writing was to him particularly agreeable— how very interesting, infinitely more so, than your former pursuit Geology must be. the accnt of some of your rides into the interior, particularly that when you found the wood of petrified trees is extremely interesting. I have not written to you since we receid your journal, but Susan has & will have told you the success it met with— I have read nothing that pleased me so much a long time—but for all this I do most heartily rejoice you can take no more such dangerous excursions— My Father has given away a few copies of the extracts to those friends who have all along felt the most constant interest about you—& first after Maer, Mr. Owen, Fox, Eyton, the Leightons & Major Bayley who we saw a few days ago looking very well—

I have no home news, all being well & going on as usual. your little nephews, who are growing great tall boys, are gone back to Overton & next month I do hope a little neice may be added to the stock. Parky is quite well & recovd from the scarlet fever with out any one catching it from him— Erasmus has already given up his business & he says whatever people may please to say literary leisure is better than work— he was only 3 weeks with Robt & I think enjoyed the time taking it all in all, Mr. Grant being an agreeable man & his fellow Clerk particularly so— he was obgd to give up as it was found that an Attorneys knowledge was necessary to do the business— he is talking of taking an unfurnished house & in his last letter says all but determined upon one with a nice garden & Balcony to smoke his Cigar, but he forgets to tell us in what part of London it is situated— What a happy meeting it will be for you both next Summer— Had you ever a message from Sarah Williams begging you to remember your old engagemt to her? She has just the same friendly hearty nature as ever— We were at her annual gayety this year of a Play & Ball which went off very well— Dr. Butler has given up the schools & retires next summer he had intended continuing two more years but Mrs. Butlers ill health has made give up— they are to live at the Hall with Mrs. Floyd & her family— Mr Corfields daughter Mrs. Servais (whose husband died in India) returned to Pitchford last week. Mr Corfield talked a great deal about you & we have again & again said how deeply grateful we feel to his son for his care & kindness to you when ill.— I think there is nothing going on at Maer. Elizabeth & the Langtons are staying here now. Mr. Langton is a vy good kind man but so inferior to Charlotte in sense & ability—

My Father has been twice telling me not to forget his affectionate love to you & that he gives you joy with all his heart of all your laurels. My Father was reading the Athenaeum—a monthly Periodical—& he came upon the following passage— “Professor Sedgwick afterwards read extracts from letters addressed by Mr. Darwin to Professor Henslow— They referred principally to the writers observations on the tertiary formation of Patagonia & Chili & on the changes of level between land & sea, which he noticed in these countries. The letters also contained an accnt of his discovery of the remains of the Megatherium over a district of 600 miles in extent to the Southwd of Buenos Ayres & a highly important description of the Geological structure of the Pass of Upsallata, in the Andes, where he discovered alternations of vast tertiary & igneous formations & the existence in the former, of veins of true granite, & of gold & other metals.”2 and now I think I must stop. I am very glad you have written to Mr. Owen & Fox— I had last week such a kind letter from the former3 making many enquiries about you— he expects to be a Papa next month:

Good bye my very dear Charles— all here join in kindest most affectate love | C S Darwin *S 2

Decr. 29th. *S 2

My dear Charles— I have begged for a corner to put in my love for myself & to tell you how warmly I rejoice in the comparatively near prospect of your return— it seems a great thing to be turned the corner of the last twelve month of your absence & I do hope that you will have had wandering enough to last you your whole life to come—except at least for such short absences as will not signif⁠⟨⁠y. I⁠⟩⁠ expect great pleasure from reading your journals. God bless you— Yr affecte | friend C Langton


This undoubtedly refers to the letter misdated ‘July 12th’ by CD (see letter to Caroline Darwin, [19] July – [12 August] 1835, n. 1).
Athenæum, 21 November 1835, p. 8. The Athenæum was published weekly.
Should read ‘the latter’, i.e., William Darwin Fox.


CD’s fame is spreading: she quotes Henslow ["Letters to Professor Henslow" (1835), Collected papers 1: 3–16], and a passage in the Athenæum.

Adds news of family and friends.

Letter details

Letter no.
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood; Charlotte Wedgwood/Charlotte Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 97 (ser. 2): 26–7
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 291,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

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