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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert Waring Darwin to Josiah Wedgwood II   13 November 1838


13 November 1838

Dear Wedgwood

Emma having accepted Charles gives me as great happiness as Jos having married Caroline, and I cannot say more.

On that marriage Bessy1 said she should not have had more pleasure if it had been Victoria, and you may assure her I feel as grateful to her for Emma, as if it had been Martineau herself that Charles had obtained.2 Pray give my Love to Elizabeth, I fear I ought to condole with her, as the loss will be very great.3

ever dear Wedgwood your affectionate Brother | R W Darwin


Elizabeth (Bessy) Wedgwood, Mrs Josiah Wedgwood II.
R. W. Darwin’s animosity towards Harriet Martineau was well known in the family (see Wedgwood 1980, pp. 232–3). Bessy, apparently to tease him, had expressed the hope that CD would become engaged to Martineau (see letter from Josiah Wedgwood II and Emma to R. W. Darwin, 15 November 1838).
Emma and Elizabeth were the only unmarried children of Bessy and Josiah Wedgwood II. Emma’s marriage would leave Elizabeth alone with the task of nursing the ailing Bessy Wedgwood. See Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 12 and Wedgwood 1980, p. 234.


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

Wedgwood, Barbara and Wedgwood, Hensleigh. 1980. The Wedgwood circle, 1730–1897: four generations of a family and their friends. London: Studio Vista.


RWD’s happiness that Emma has accepted CD’s proposal of marriage.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Waring Darwin
Josiah Wedgwood, II
Sent from
Source of text
V&A / Wedgwood Collection (MS W/M 96)
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 433,” accessed on 27 May 2024,

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