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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert FitzRoy   [20 March 1839]

Chester Street

Wednesday Evg.

Dear Darwin

I certainly objected as strenuously as I could to Mr. Colburn’s loading our already too thick volumes with a pack of advertisements—such as one sees in every Review or monthly Magazine—but there is surely every reason for my wishing that an advertisement of the Zoology which you are bringing out—as well as of your forthcoming Work on Geology—should be attached to some part of the three volumes.1

Mr. Colburn may not like allowing his publications to be the medium of advertising another Publisher’s works—but—for my part—I should be very glad to see notices of the books mentioned (Zoology & Geology) attached to either one of the three volumes.

I am sure you will agree with me in thinking it desirable to avoid swelling the volumes with ordinary advertisements. King’s is 600 pages—mine is 696—your’s I conclude (with your appendix) to be between 640 and 700, and my appendix is 360.2 These with about fifty plates will be tolerably thick volumes. I hope that Gardner has printed off your last plate. He had not done so the middle of last week. The Keeling Islands are reserved for one of your covering boards— In the other I conclude you will put your map.3 I have been intending to call on you these many days but have not had time for the excursion. My only walks lately have been to 35—Essex Street4 —Colburn’s & the Printer’s.

Very truly your’s | Robt. FitzRoy

P.S. There is something very vacillating & unsatisfactory about B. H— and his Review— He has been very shilly shally and self-contradictory.5


In some copies, the appendix to FitzRoy’s volume of the Narrative carries sets of 16 & [8] pages of advertisements, but since the first set is dated August 1839, they may not have been bound in the first copies issued (see Freeman 1977, p. 33).
When published, the numbers of pages were: Vol. 1 (King) xxviii+[4]+597 pp.; Vol. 2 (FitzRoy) xiv+[2]+694 pp.; Appendix viii+352 pp.; Vol. 3 (CD) xiv+615 pp.
‘The southern portion of South America’.
Boyle’s Court and Country Guide (London 1837) lists ‘I. Arrowsmith, geographer’ at this address but this is probably a misprint for John Arrowsmith, the well-known map maker. According to the DNB, John Arrowsmith entered business on his own account in Essex Street.
Probably a reference to Captain Basil Hall’s review of the Narrative in the Edinburgh Review 69 (1839): 467–93. Hall initially promised his article to the Quarterly Review, see Wellesley Index 1: 487. See also letter from Robert FitzRoy, 26 February 1838, in which FitzRoy informs CD that he will forward CD’s volume with King’s to Hall.


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Narrative: Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836. [Edited by Robert FitzRoy.] 3 vols. and appendix. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Has objected to loading Narrative with advertisements, but thinks CD’s Zoology and Geology might be advertised. Mentions other details of the final stages of publication.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert FitzRoy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester St
Source of text
DAR 204: 146
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 500,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

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