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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Osbert Salvin   12 May 1863

11, Hanover Terrace, Regent’s Park, N.W.

12th. May 1863

Dear Sir,

I was very glad to receive your letter this morning giving me your ideas about a collection from the Galapagos Is.1 Your Journal is one of the few books I carry abroad with me & your account of those Islands has long given me a wish to visit them.2 I have but lately returned from a naturalizing tour with Mr. F. Godman in Guatemala & we are now engaged working up our collections or at least a part of them & intended to return to Costa Rica or S. America, or perhaps both, early next year.3 Mentioning this the other evening to Dr Hooker he suggested the Galapagos as a point better worth attention and he so far convinced me that I think both Mr. Godman & myself have made up our minds to go there.4

Our object will be purely a Scientific one and as we look for no pecuniary return would be able to pay attention to all and every branch of Natural History no matter how dull or unattractive the species.

I would willingly start at once but our Central American collections will occupy some time but I reckon on being able to leave about the end of Feb. so as to get to the Islands before the rainy season sets in.—

There may be some things amongst our Central American Collections interesting to you, should you like to see them I should be most happy to shew them to you any day you might be in town.—

Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Osbert Salvin.

C. Darwin Esqre.


See letter to Osbert Salvin, 11 [May 1863] and n. 4. The reference is to Journal of researches, pp. 453–78.
In 1861, Osbert Salvin and Frederick Du Cane Godman undertook an ornithological exploration of Guatemala; Salvin returned to Britain in January 1863 (DNB).
Salvin’s plan to return to South America in 1864 did not come to fruition: soon after his return to England he was induced to undertake the management of an ironworks in Rotherham, Yorkshire (DNB, Godman and Salvin eds. 1879–1915, 1: 6).


DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Has just returned from collecting in Central America and is planning to go to the Galapagos to gather specimens in all branches of natural history.

Letter details

Letter no.
Osbert Salvin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Hanover Terrace, 11
Source of text
DAR 177: 17
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4155,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11