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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert FitzRoy   26 February 1838

Chester St. 31.

26. Feb. /38.

My dear Darwin

Not the slightest inconvenience was caused by your keeping Richardson,1 I assure you,— Had I wished to look at it—I would have written but it is not in my line.

The work you ask about is going on steadily—though not on a railroad— I am rather old fashioned in habits as well as ideas—Ergo—a slow coach.

I am happy to say that there is nothing whatever in your excellent and well-filled volume, to which I have any kind of objection to offer—therefore I trust that you will entertain no further Scruple on that Subject.

I have sealed up the copy sent to me by your Printer and will forward it to Capt. B. Hall with King’s.2

If Mr. Whewell’s notice of your work is published—I should feel obliged by your letting me know where I can see it— I mean his Speech at the Geological Socy. 3 A line by twopenny is the readiest way—

Sincerely yours | Robt. FitzRoy

PS. As my boy has to go near Gt. Marlbro’ Street he may as well take this note—and, if you are at home—, wait for an answer about Mr. Whewell’s Speech.

I have this moment had an application from poor Earle—who—it seems—has been somewhat overthrown by the New Zealand Association—or at least disappointed in his own Expectations.4


Possibly John Richardson’s Fauna Boreali-Americana (1829–37).
CD’s Journal and remarks and, it appears from this letter, Philip Parker King’s narrative of the early voyage of the Beagle and Adventure, were already in print, though publication did not take place until FitzRoy had finished his volume and its appendix in 1839. Presumably proofs were being sent to Captain Basil Hall for comment or for the preparation of a review (see letter from Robert FitzRoy, [20 March 1839]).
The Association was established in 1837, under the direction of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, to promote the colonisation of New Zealand. Augustus Earle had visited New Zealand in 1827, before he joined the Beagle as draughtsman, and had published an account of his visit (Earle 1832). The disparagement of the work of missionaries by Earle and others stirred FitzRoy and CD to come to their defence in ‘A letter, containing remarks on the moral state of Tahiti, New Zealand, &c.’ (Collected papers 1: 19–38). In 1838, a set of Earle’s paintings of New Zealand (Earle 1838) was published under the auspices of the New Zealand Association. A prospectus (1837) had announced that there would be a series of such publications, sponsored by the association, but Earle’s was the only part published (Murray-Oliver 1968, p. 26).


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Earle, Augustus. 1832. A narrative of a nine months’ residence in New Zealand, in 1827; together with a journal of a residence in Tristan d’Acunha. London.

Earle, Augustus. 1838. Illustrations of the native inhabitants of New Zealand. London.

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.]

Murray-Oliver, Anthony. 1968. Augustus Earle in New Zealand. christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs.


His work [on vol. 2 of Narrative] is going slowly.

Has no objection to anything in CD’s excellent volume. CD should "entertain no further scruple on that subject".

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert FitzRoy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester St, 31
Source of text
DAR 204: 145
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 403,” accessed on 20 June 2021,

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