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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood to F. E. E. Wedgwood   [17 December 1836]1



My dear Fanny

I am thinking that it is a long time since I have written to you. We heard several times from the Tollets how Marianne2 was going on, but I was glad to get your letter & to hear that you were not the worse.

We are in such a dissipated humour that we have actually invited the Mainwarings & Mrs Moreton for next Wednesday & then we shall be clear of the world for a year to come. I dined there last Tuesday & had some more of the Capts lovely flute playing. There was a Mr Clark there a clergyman from Eccleshall who played very tolerably but we were not spared a note of Capt M’s notwithstanding. Poor Mrs M. is no longer able to feed herself & I cant think how they can endure her to sit in company to be made a spectacle of with Miss Chawner putting the food into her mouth. I suppose Miss M. does not like to propose her not dining with them.3

Eliza4 is now staying with us & I think she is a little better for rest though she is very weak   It is out of the question to hope that she will not be anxious for I never saw any one so much disposed to it. All the rest of Seabridge party are coming in a few days. Jessie recovers her strength very slowly & has only just begun to come down stairs to breakfast & is nervous & often poorly.5 I dined with them the other day & she was in very good spirits & enjoys her little scarecrow very much. It is become very tidy to look at now. Allen6 is poorly too & if we leave him at home one evening we are afraid he will be very bad by the next day, not that he comes every day either.

Catherine tells me they are very anxious to have yours & H’s real opinion of Charles’s journal. I am convinced Dr Holland is mistaken if he thinks it not worth publishing. I don’t believe he is any judge as to what is amusing or interesting. Cath does not approve of its being mixed up with Capt Fitzroys & wants it to be put altogether by itself in an Appendix7

I wish Miss Martineau would invite you to meet Mrs Fanny Butler.8 I hope Erasmus9 was there. I am very curious about her. I envy you Mr Scott’s lectures. If he makes you understand the Epistle to the Romans I shall think him a great genius.10 We had a very nice visit from Godfrey. It was pleasant to see how fond he is of his little maid11   He always saved some dessert or asked for some for her. She appears dull when one is with her but I think she is shy & may be more amusing when nobody is by & she is certainly very good tempered & gentle. His only bon mot was enquiring what papas overalls were & saying “Are they to prevent his hurting his knees when he tumbles down. I began teaching him to read which he did not much like but never rebelled. My Aunts admired him very properly. We enjoyed their visit thoroughly. Uncle Allen was very gay & his conversation amused Mamma very much & brought all sorts of old recollections into her head.12 Louisa Holland paid £ 2"10 for her boa so Hensleigh can pay himself when he has any money affairs.13

Hensleigh was taken with a very ill timed fit of prudence about Penelopes speech14 which I want to hear & we will be duly cautious. I am afraid poor Bros15 tantrums are a sign of his not being well. I like his Grace very much. Schloss Hainfeld makes one despise Capt Hall.16 What a conceited egotist he is. Do you remember about the bell rope & pocket handk.17 I like Buckland18 but rather wish I had finished him. Susan19 is coming to Seabridge but not here she says which is naughty of her. Edinburgh is not settled yet as Bessy H. & I keep on telling each other to settle the time. Are the Giffords come yet.20

Goodbye my dear Fanny my best love to H. & a kiss to the two.

I can’t think what Penelope wd do if Uncle Baugh offers to go abroad   She will not endure to go with him.21


The date is established by the postmark; the Saturday before 19 December 1836 was 17 December. A summary extract of this letter was published in Correspondence vol. 1.
Marianne Clive had a stillborn child before 12 December 1836 (letter from Ellen Tollet to Annabel Crewe, 12 December 1836, M. E. Smith and Smith eds. 2019, p. 65).
See this volume, Supplement, letter from Emma Wedgwood to F. E. E. Wedgwood, [28 October 1836]. Captain Mainwaring: possibly Edward Pellew Mainwaring. Mrs M.: Sarah Mainwaring. Mrs Moreton, Mr Clark, and Miss Chawner have not been identified.
Jessie Wedgwood (Eliza’s sister) had recently given birth at her Seabridge home to a second daughter, Caroline Elizabeth Wedgwood. See this volume, Supplement, letter from Emma Wedgwood to F. E. E. Wedgwood, [24 October 1836].
See letter to Caroline Darwin, [7 December 1836] (Correspondence vol. 1). Catherine Darwin, CD’s youngest sister, was upset that, following criticism from their second cousin Henry Holland, CD was considering publishing his journal of the Beagle voyage mixed with passages from Robert FitzRoy’s account rather than as a distinct work. Fanny and Hensleigh Wedgwood had agreed to provide a further critique. CD’s account was later published alongside FitzRoy’s as Journal and remarks, the third volume of the Narrative. For Fanny and Hensleigh’s comments see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from Hensleigh Wedgwood, [20 December 1836].
See Correspondence vol. 1, letter to Caroline Darwin, [7 December 1836], and letter from Catherine Darwin, 27 [December 1836]. Harriet Martineau had invited CD to meet the actress Fanny Butler, better known as Fanny Kemble.
Alexander John Scott published his Lectures expository and practical on the Epistle to the Romans in 1838 (London: James Darling).
John Hensleigh Allen Sr, Elizabeth Wedgwood (1764–1846), and possibly one or more of their sisters. See this volume, Supplement, letter from Emma Wedgwood and Louisa Holland to F. E. E. Wedgwood, [21 and 24 November 1836] and n. 5.
Penelope has not been identified.
See Hall 1836, pp. 44–7.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin. See Correspondence vol. 1, letter from E. C. Darwin, 15 [January 1837] and n. 11.
For Emma Wedgwood’s trip to Edinburgh, see Correspondence vol. 2, letter from E. C. Darwin, 15 [January 1837]. Harriet Maria Gifford, a widow, was a relative and family friend of the Wedgwoods. Bessy H. may have been Bessy Holland, also a relative.


Buckland, William. 1836. Geology and mineralogy considered with reference to natural theology. Sixth Bridgewater treatise. 2 vols. London: William Pickering.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hall, Basil. 1836. Schloss Hainfeld; or, a winter in Lower Styria. Edinburgh: Robert Cadell.

Journal and remarks: Journal and remarks. 1832–1836. By Charles Darwin. Vol. 3 of Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. London: Henry Colburn. 1839. [Separately published as Journal of researches.]

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.

Smith, Mavis E. and Smith, Peter, eds. 2019. Letters from Ellen Tollet to Annabel Crewe. Inniemore for Betley Local History Society.


The Darwin family are anxious for FEEW’s and Hensleigh’s opinions of CD’s journal. EW is convinced that Henry Holland is wrong if he thinks it not worth publishing.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Mackintosh/Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Wedgwood
Sent from
19 DR 19 | 1836
Source of text
V&A / Wedgwood Collection (MS WM 233)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 328,” accessed on 10 June 2023,