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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emily Catherine Darwin   15 [January 1837]

Sunday Evening. | 15th.

My dear Charles.

Many thanks for your very agreeable long letter, which we enjoyed very much, and we all unite in begging you not to care how untidy your letters are; you may depend on it, we shall be able to make them out, and only beg you will send us a hurried quick scrawl, whenever you have a spare half hour.— Caroline1 desires me to tell you that neither Procter,2 Miers,3 nor Caldcleugh4 are in the Library, only Head,5 which C. will read, and examine about what you mention,—and then write to you.— The St John is packed up carefully, and goes tomorrow to Erasmus,6 with a letter; does he know of your generosity? he will be exceedingly pleased, by such a pretty attention, I am sure.— My Father is afraid he can give you but little information about the wages for Covington;7 country and town servants’ terms being very different; the wages he gives are from £28 to £32; he thinks however that you will have no difficulty in enquiring about it, and settling with your Man.— We were exceedingly pleased to hear of all your success in London; especially Papa;—and pray write out about all your laurels; we enjoy hearing them so much, that it is hard we should lose any.— The Morning Herald of last Thursday contained an account of your 80 specimens of mammalia, and 450 birds, which were on the table at the Zoological Society;8 Mr Gould also described the 11 species from the Gallapagos, & all new.—9 Sarah Williams cut out this passage, and gave it me to take to read to Papa.— She returns to London next week, and hopes that you will sometime take her to see your birds,—which she would enjoy doing very much.— The Felis Darwinnia10 also is mentioned in that paragraph. Papa wants to know what gratitude the Zoological have shewn you; they aught at least to make you an honorary Member.—

We expect Susan to return home tomorrow from Staffordshire with Harry & Jessie, who are coming to pay us a visit.—11 You did quite right to direct Mrs S. W.—12 Hensleigh13 writes word that the book is to be in 3 distinct Volumes King, Fitzroy, and Darwin;— how much the most interesting the 3d will be;14 —but I wish they were really three distinct works; they would each individually have a greater Sale, I am sure.—

I have been very gay lately, having been to two Balls, two nights running, the last was a private Ball at Acton Burnell15 (Sir Edward Smythe’s) and I was not in bed till 7 o’clock in the morning. I went with the Owens from Eaton,16 where there is one of their immense rigadoons again.— William Owen is at home now.— Mrs Leighton & Clare have decided to remain in Shrewsbury and have taken the middle house in Claremont Buildings, which is also one of the smallest; are not you sorry for them having such a fall? I think they are very foolish not to move out of this country, for Clare is too well known to do any good here. Emma Wedgwood sets out tomorrow to Edinburgh, with Jos17 for her companion; it is very spirited of her going in this weather, and I hope Lady Gifford will make her visit answer.— What an account you give of Mrs Fitzroy’s beauty; you must have had a nice evening with them.—

Papa desires me to tell you that he has had a letter from Mrs Sneyd, with a great many enquiries about you;—and Papa would take it as a kindness from you, if when you are in London, you would sometime go down to Blackheath to call on them.—18

Goodbye, dearest old Charley— Papa’s best love to you— | ever yrs | E. C. Darwin


Syms Covington became CD’s servant in the Beagle and remained with him as assistant, secretary, and servant until 1839.
The Morning Herald, 12 January 1837, p. 5. CD had delivered his collection of birds and mammals to the Zoological Society on 4 January. The Society’s minutes acknowledged a letter from CD announcing ‘a present to the Society of his entire Collection …’ (quoted in Sulloway 1982b, pp. 356–7).
The reference is to John Gould’s paper of 10 January on the Galápagos finches (Gould 1837). Gould eventually settled upon thirteen as the number of new species. For a discussion of his difficulties in classifying the finches, see Sulloway 1982a, 1982b.
William Charles Linnaeus Martin discussed three species of the genus Felis, one of which he thought might be new—‘in the event of its ultimately being considered distinct’ he proposed that it should be called Felis darwinii (see Martin 1837). Later, in Mammalia, pp. 16–18, George Robert Waterhouse described it, but ‘[having] since seen many specimens’, classified it as a variety of Felis yagouaroundi.
Journal and remarks, which was the third volume of Narrative.
The seat of Edward Smythe, seven miles south of Shrewsbury.
The Mostyn Owen family of Woodhouse. Eaton Mascott was the home of Sarah (née Owen) and Edward Hosier Williams.
Maria Sneyd and her daughter Mary Emma Sneyd of Dell Lodge, Dartmouth Row, Blackheath, Kent.


Caldcleugh, Alexander. 1825. Travels in South America, during the years 1819 … 21. 2 vols. London.

Gould, John. 1837a. Remarks on a group of ground finches from Mr Darwin’s collection, with characters of the new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London pt 5: 4–7. [vols. 2,3,7]

Head, Francis Bond. 1826. Rough notes taken during some rapid journeys across the Pampas and among the Andes. London: John Murray.

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.]

Mammalia: Pt 2 of The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle. By George Robert Waterhouse. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1838–9.

Martin, William Charles Linnaeus. 1837. Observations on three specimens of the genus Felis presented to the Society by Charles Darwin, Esq. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 5: 3–4.

Miers, John. 1826. Travels in Chile and La Plata, including accounts respecting the geography, geology, statistics, government, finances, agriculture, manners and customs, and the mining operations in Chile. 2 vols. London.

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.

Proctor, Robert. 1825. Narrative of a journey across the Cordillera of the Andes, and of a residence in Lima, and other parts of Peru, in the years 1823 and 1824. London.

Sulloway, Frank J. 1982. Darwin and his finches: the evolution of a legend. Journal of the History of Biology 15: 1–53.

Sulloway, Frank J. 1982. Darwin’s conversion: the Beagle voyage and its aftermath. Journal of the History of Biology 15: 325–96.


Morning Herald had an account of CD’s 80 specimens of Mammalia and 450 birds at the Zoological Society.

John Gould has described new species in CD’s Galapagos birds.

Much interest in CD’s "Laurels".

Family news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 142
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 341,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2