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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   [12 November 1838]


Monday 13th.—1

My dear Lyell

I suppose, you will be in Hart St, tomorrow the 14th.— I write because, I cannot avoid wishing to be the first person to tell Mrs Lyell and yourself, that I have the very good, & shortly since, very unexpected fortune, of going to be married.— The lady is my cousin Miss Emma Wedgwood, the sister of Hensleigh Wedgwood, & of the elder brother, who married my sister, so we are connected by manifold ties, besides on my part, by the most sincere love & hearty gratitude to her, for accepting such a one, as myself.— I determined, when last at Maer, to try my chance, but I hardly expected such good fortune would turn up for me.2

I shall be in town in the middle or latter end of the ensuing week.— I fear you will say, I might very well have left my story untold, till we met. But I deeply feel your kindness and friendship towards me, which in truth I may say, has been one chief source of happiness to me, ever since my return to England: so you must excuse me..— I am well sure, that Mrs Lyell, who has sympathy for every one near her, will give me her hearty congratulations

Believe me my dear Lyell | Your’s most truly obliged | Chas. Darwin.


Monday was the 12th of November, 1838.
For Emma’s account of the proposal and her reactions see her letter to her aunt Jessie Sismondi (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 5–7).


Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Announces his engagement to Emma Wedgwood.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.12)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 432,” accessed on 25 July 2024,

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