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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Robert FitzRoy   [2 or 16 June 1839]

Chester Street

Sunday morg.

Dear Darwin

Mrs. FitzRoy & I left town on Thursday —but I returned last night in order to meet a friend today and attend to some business tomorrow morning. I shall return to my wife and little ones either tomorrow evening or Tuesday. My silence, and non-appearance in Gower Street, have been caused by my own attention having been extremely occupied lately by subjects unconnected with our work, and which have engaged me so continually that I have not even yet read your volume.1 I have dipped into it here and there—but have reserved its steady perusal for the ensuing fortnight in the country. My wife has it now with her—and from what we have seen—in various glimpses—I have no doubt whatever that I shall be deeply interested by reading it attentively (much of it requires close thinking I apprehend) when undisturbed by daily, or rather hourly calls upon one’s time. I cannot think that there is an expression in it—referring to me personally—which I could wish were not in it—at all events neither I nor my wife have yet lighted upon anything that induces me to doubt in the smallest degree that I shall not be thoroughly at ease in that respect.

When I have read it through—I will write fully & freely to you on the subject.

I hope you have seen the Athenæum of yesterday. 2

After church I shall endeavour to see you—and more especially to make my bow to Mrs. Darwin—but—for fear you shd be absent from home—I prepare these few lines to be left at your door.

Sincerely yours | Robt. FitzRoy

PS. We stay at Bromham near Bedford—Mr. Rice Trevor’s place—during the summer.


The Narrative was published in May and was advertised in the issue of 1 June 1839 of The Publishers‘ Circular under the heading ’Works published since the last Circular‘ (15 May). The separate publication of CD’s volume was first announced in The Publishers’ Circular of 15 August. The issue of 2 September carried two advertisements, one of CD’s Journal of researches, the other of the Narrative, in two volumes by Captains King and FitzRoy. Neither advertisement mentions that the complete Narrative was also available, though it continued to be sold as a set of three volumes and an appendix.
The issue referred to is either the Athenæum of 1 June 1839, which carried a review of Narrative, vols. 1 and 2, or the issue of 15 June 1839, in which CD’s volume was reviewed.


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 not yet had time to read CD’s Journal of researches attentively. He is sure there is no expression referring to himself personally that he could wish were not in it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert FitzRoy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester St
Source of text
DAR 204: 144
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 516,” accessed on 8 December 2023,

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