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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert FitzRoy   15 November 1837

Captain FitzRoy presents his compliments to Mr. Darwin and in answer to the note (dated Monday) received yesterday evening—Captain FitzRoy begs to say that he has spoken to Captain Beaufort—to Sir Edward Parry1 —and others—and is recommended to refer Mr. Darwin to the opinion of some third person whose personal feelings are not involved.

Captain FitzRoy therefore begs to decline giving any opinion—at present—upon the wording of a preface to Mr. Darwin’s Work2 —and will only venture to remark that there were obliging—disinterested—and kind-hearted officers on board the Beagle.—

Chester Street. 31.15th. Novr. 1837


The reference is either to Journal and remarks, volume three of Narrative, which CD had finished proofreading in November, or the first number of Fossil Mammalia, Zoology Part 1, due to appear in January 1838. FitzRoy’s letter of 16 November 1837 contains references to both works and CD’s note may well have contained the text of a general acknowledgment to be used in both prefaces. The preface that FitzRoy saw has not been found; his letter to CD on 16 November 1837, however, makes clear what offended him.


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.

Zoology: The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. 5 pts. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1838–43.


RF declines to give an opinion on the wording of the preface to CD’s volume [Journal and remarks, vol. 3 of Narrative, published separately as Journal of researches] and refers him to a disinterested third party.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert FitzRoy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester St, 31
Source of text
DAR 164: 132
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 386,” accessed on 16 May 2022,

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