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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Andrew Smith1   16 March 1839

Fort Pitt Chatham

16 March 1839

My Dear Darwin

I have been making inquiries of late regarding you and have at last discovered you were again in Town and with more cares upon your shoulders than you had when last I had the pleasure of seeing you. I am quite uncertain whether or not I ever answered your last letter wherein you mentioned to me your intentions, if I did not you must not be angry with me for not evincing my sense of your friendship and confidence the omission you must ascribe entirely to the condition of my health—nothing short of such would have prevented me immediately replying to the letter and congratulating you on the judicious decision to which it appeared you had arrived. I am well satisfied that the position in which you have placed yourself is by far the most comfortable one and it is only a misfortune that more of mankind cannot seek it without so interfering with their occupations that it might actually be productive of a certain quantum of misery. Having said this much you will of course expect my congratulations and those you have with all sincerity. I hope you will live long to enjoy your new position and that all the good things of this world may be showered in profusion upon yourself and your better half

I wish I were able to place myself in a situation where I could make the above declaration in person but at present that is impossible, my health is still bad and though I find I am improving yet I fear it will be some time before I can visit London—perhaps, the return of warm weather may prove advantageous to me—if it does not I shall despair. I would ask you to run down here were it not too early to venture upon inducing you to seperate from rib I can only say a glimpse of your good natured face would do me a world of good. When does the Journal appear? I am glad to hear from MrsFitz Roy that the Captain has nearly finished his labours. As regards my proceedings I have not been able to do any thing during the last six months you are walking away in style from me now—but I must be satisfied with being able to keep in your rear. Should you be able to find a little leisure time I should be delighted to hear from you I send this letter to Stewart2 as I do not know your address

I am | My Dear Darwin | Yours most sincerely | Andw Smith

CD annotations

On cover: ‘Physiology of Blushing’3


See Correspondence vol. 1, letter to J. S. Henslow, 9 July 1836, and Journal and remarks, pp. 99–101. Smith had returned from South Africa and Natal in 1837; at this period he was writing his Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa (A. Smith 1838–49).
Possibly with the firm of Stewart and Murray, Old Bailey, London, the printers of both Smith’s work and the Zoology.
In Notebook C: 265, an entry reads ‘March 20t h. 1839. Philosophy of Blushing lately advertised. /6s’ Burgess’s Physiology or mechanism of blushing (Burgess 1839) is listed in the The Publishers’ Circular of 15 March 1839, p. 120. CD cites it frequently in chapter 13 of Expression. See also CD’s entries in Notebook N: 15, 51–5 for his early interest in blushing. A copy of Burgess 1839 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


Burgess, Thomas Henry. 1839. The physiology or mechanism of blushing. London.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Notebook C. See de Beer 1960; de Beer and Rowlands 1961; de Beer, Rowlands, and Skramovsky 1967; Notebooks.

Notebook N. See Barrett 1980; Gruber and Barrett 1974; Theoretical notebooks.


Sends his congratulations and best wishes on CD’s marriage.

Letter details

Letter no.
Andrew Smith
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Fort Pitt, Chatham
Source of text
DAR 204: 172
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 498,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

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