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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hensleigh Wedgwood   [20 December 1836]



My dear Charles

I hope by this time you have received your manuscript which we entrusted on Sunday to Erasmus to send to you It is difficult to discriminate how much of the interest we felt in it belongs to yourself, from what it would have possessed if it had been written by an indifferent person. I think however that it would have been a very interesting journal even in that case. I am not in general a good reader of travels, but I found no part of yours tedious. We read a great deal of it aloud too, which is a more severe test. I am afraid we have done but little towards the end for which you lent it us, having only marked a few of the passages that pleased us most, & that not throughout. I was especially interested with your account of Otaheite & New Zealand. I think that of New Holland to which you called my attention is well worth insertion. In short there is more variety and a greater number of interesting portions than in 99.100ths of the travels that are published I should not have the least doubt of it’s success & I think the less it is mixed up with the Captains the better. If Dr Holland read your journey from the Rio Negro & thought it would not do for publication it only affects my opinion of his taste & not the least in the world the merits of the thing itself.1 I liked your account of Keeling island, but your theory of the lagoon islands seemed to us not quite clearly enough explained.2

Will you remember me very kindly to Henslow. | Yours affecty| H Wedgwood.


The manuscript of the ‘Beagle’ diary has a marginal comment at the end of CD’s explanation of the formation of lagoon islands: ‘Good, but the 1st pt not quite clear’. This notation, and several others, were probably made by Hensleigh Wedgwood and not, as Nora Barlow conjectured, by Robert FitzRoy (see ‘Beagle’ diary, pp. 304 n., 317 n., 328 n., 400 n.).


‘Beagle’ diary: Charles Darwin’s Beagle diary. Edited by Richard Darwin Keynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.


Has returned CD’s Beagle journal MS. Thinks it would be an interesting account even if they did not know CD, and that it will be successful if published; the less it is mixed up with FitzRoy’s journal, the better.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hensleigh Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
CX 20 DE 20 1836
Source of text
DAR 204: 140
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 332,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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