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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Maurice Herbert    [13 September 1828]

[Osmaston, near Derby]

Saturday Evening

My dear old Cherbury1

I am about to fulfill my promise of writing to you, but I am sorry to add there is a very selfish motive at the bottom. I am going to ask you a great favor, & you cannot imagine how much you will oblige me by procuring some more specimens of some insects which I dare say I can describe. In the first place I must inform you I have taken some of the rarest of the British Insects, & their being found near Barmouth is quite unknown to the Entomological world: I think I shall write & inform some of the crack Entomologists.

But now for Business: several more specimens if you can procure them without much trouble, of the following insects. The violet black coloured beetle found on Craig Storm2 under stones, allso a large smooth black one, very like it: a bluish, metallic coloured, globular, dung beetle, which is very common on the hill sides: Also, if you would be so very kind as to cross the ferry, & you will find a great number under the stones on the waste land of a long smooth jet black beettle (a great many of these): also in same situation a very small pinkish insect, with black spots, with a curved thorax projecting beyond the head: also upon the marshy over the ferry land near the sea under old sea weed, stones, &c &c, you will find a small yellowish transparent beettle, with 2 or 4 blackish marks on back, under these stones there are two sorts, one much darker than the other, the li⁠⟨⁠ght⁠⟩⁠ coloured is that which I want: These 2 last insects are exessively rare: & you really will extremely oblige me by taking all this trouble pretty soon: Remember me most kindly to Butler,3 tell him of my success, & I daresay both of you will easily recognize these insects: I hope his caterpillars go on well. I think many of the Crysalises are well worth keeping: I really am quite ashamed so long letter all about my own concerns: but do return good for evil & & send me a long account of all your proceedings:

In the first week I killed 75 head of game; a very contemptable number, but there are very few birds, I killed however, a brace of Black Game: Since that time I have been staying at the Foxes near Derby: it is a very pleasant house & the Music Meeting went off very well: I want to hear how Yate4 likes his Gun, & what use he has made of it?

If the bottle is not large you can buy another for me, & when you pass through Shrewsbury you can leave these treasures & I hope if you possibly can will stay a day or two with me, as I hope I need not say how glad I shall be to see you again: Fox remarked what deuced goodnatured fellows your friends at Barmouth must be; & if I did not know that you & Butler were so I would not think of giving you so much trouble.

believe me my dear Herbert | Your most sincere | Charles Darwin

Remember me to all friends

How is Buz & Bossy. I am afraid you yourself must be grown terribly bumptious:

Direct to Shrewsbury: if there is any thing you want I can send it for you to Barmouth: such as gloves &c &c &c | Good Bye


CD’s nickname for Herbert, an allusion to Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Cherbury.
A hilltop near Barmouth.
Thomas Butler (see letter from E. A. Darwin, [24 February 1825], n. 2) had entered St John’s College, Cambridge, after leaving Shrewsbury School.
Charles Yate, Herbert’s private tutor in the reading party at Barmouth (see LL 1: 166).


LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


Asks JMH to collect some insects at Barmouth.

Reports on his shooting luck.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Maurice Herbert
Sent from
Derby SE 14 1828
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.1)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 47,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1