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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Catherine and Caroline Sarah Darwin   [16 February 1837]

Thursday Night—

My dear Charles

I hope this will find you in London before you return; we were very glad to have your last letter, and I do hope by this time you have lost all remains of the Influenza, which you seem to have had very badly.— What a plague it has been everywhere!— We have been very long without writing to you, but the reason has been that I have been waiting for a Frank, to send you on a little note from Fanny Biddulph, which she sent me for you some time ago. We have been expecting a Capt Mathew to call, who is a Member,1 but he has not appeared yet; whenever he does, I will make use of him for you.— You will be glad to hear that dear Fanny Biddulph had a little Son & Heir,2 last Monday. She had a very good confinement, & is as well as possible, which we were exceedingly glad to hear; for the two last times she was in danger of her life.— Old Mrs & Miss Biddulph are cleared off to Leamington, so that dear Fanny has the Castle and Mrs Owen to herself comfortably.— Charles Owen is gone to a Tutor’s near Cheltenham.—

Emma Wedgwood is very gay at Edinburgh with Lady Gifford; she writes word that your Feather Flowers are very much admired, and she finds them exceedingly useful at all her parties. We hear that Emma says she would have preferred the learned Season at Edinburgh to the gay one, which proves that Charlotte3 knew her better than I did.— I am very much surprised at it, and do not think she can know what she is talking about.— They are very much interested at Maer about your book, and I must copy you what Elizabeth4 says about it, as we all quite agree in her opinions. “I hope Charles will rather risk a little repetition, than leave out too much of his Journal, especially about the people, which is always a more interesting subject than the place. — What he says is sure to be said in so different a way from the Captain, that it is sure not to have the effect of repetition; and if he cuts up too much, he might make his Journal dryer.”— I am very sorry to hear that it only promises to be half the size of the old one; a vast deal must have been left out, and I am sure a great deal we thought very interesting5

Papa desires me to say that you are to call at Robarts6 to receive the dividend on 800£ in the 3 per cents, and also the dividend on 5 shares in the Grand Trunk Canal; you must ask to sign some papers, and I write to tell you this, before you leave London.— I want you to see the Evans sometime; they are at Ibbotson’s Hotel and Mr Evans7 talked much about you, and how much he wished to see you; he had heard of you from Mrs Warren,8 who had heard again from Mr Lyell.— Pray write us an account of your London Trip, when you return to the quiet of Cambridge. We enjoy hearing from you so much.—

Goodbye dearest Charley. I long for your next visit here.— All our loves to you.— | Ever yrs| E. Cath Darwin

Love to Eras. My dear Ch⁠⟨⁠ar⁠⟩⁠les

I have beggd a scrap of Caths letter to tell yo⁠⟨⁠u⁠⟩⁠ my Father ⁠⟨⁠wa⁠⟩⁠s at Ellesmere9 a little while ago & there he found the Apotheca⁠⟨⁠ry⁠⟩⁠ full talk about “Capt Fitzroy’s very honorable conduct” and “Mr. Wh⁠⟨⁠i⁠⟩⁠tes very honorable conduct”.— He said Capt F. paid Mr. White his little visit to ask his consent to marry Miss. OBrien—that he was under obligations to Mr Fitzpatrick & had promised Mr. Whites daughter to make the little boy his heir—& consequently could not marry till released from such promise.10 Old Mr. White said “he entirely released him, that he understood the promise was made from emotion at the time & there was no claim at all.” this is the kind of story the apothecary heard, either from Mr. White or Mr. Whites acquaintance to whom he had told it, & I repeat it to you—as if there should be any foundation upon which the story is built—& Capt F. has told it you in confidence, & afterwards hears the story told from Shropshire, he may think you have told us & we have repeated what you have told— My Father therefore thought you had better hear all he heard. I hope you will see Capt F. & find him in a more comfortable state than Mr. Whewell found him in. Give my love to Eras & thank him vy much for his letter I am sorry I tormented him by my last, & thank you for yours also I can assure both you & Eras letters are not thrown away upon us.

Caroline Darwin


Captain George Benvenuto Mathew was M.P. for Athlone, 1835–7 (Stenton 1976).
Charlotte Langton.
Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Wedgwood.
Although much was omitted, the published version was longer than the diary (224,000 words compared to 189,000 words). See ‘Beagle’ diary, p. viii and its appendixes, which list the more important passages added in both the 1839 and 1845 editions. The additional matter in the first edition came mainly from the zoological and geological notes CD made during the voyage.
Robarts, Curtis & Co., 15 Lombard Street, London.
George Evans, of Portrane.
CD’s address book, begun by Emma after their marriage, lists a Mrs Warren at 15 Bedford Square (Down House MS). According to Boyle’s Court and Country Guide (London 1837), a Mrs Charles Warren (Amelia Warren) lived at this address.
Eight miles north-east of Oswestry, Shropshire.
Robert FitzRoy and CD met the Whites in Valparaiso. In Narrative 2: 479 FitzRoy refers to Captain White, then Vice-Consul in Valparaiso, but sheds no light on Mr Fitzpatrick (White’s son-in-law) nor on why FitzRoy promised to make White’s grandson his heir.


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.

Stenton, Michael. 1976. Who’s who of British members of Parliament, 1832–1885. Volume 1 of Who’s who of British members of Parliament: a biographical dictionary of the House of Commons based on annual volumes of Dod’s Parliamentary companion and other sources. Brighton: Harvester Press.


News of family and friends.

Caroline repeats story told to R. W. Darwin of FitzRoy’s feeling of obligation to Captain John White, from whom he gained release to marry Miss O’Brien.

Fanny Biddulph has had a son.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton; Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
⁠⟨⁠F⁠⟩⁠E 17 1837; 18 FE 18 1837
Source of text
DAR 204: 143
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 344,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

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