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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Cupples   10 August 1868

The Cottage | Guard Bridge | Fifeshire. N.B.

Augt. 10/68.

My Dear Sir,

I did not write at once, to thank you for your truly kind fulfilment of my request about the photograph—if only because of your leaving home.1 The two contained in your note are to me invaluable—and they are a possession which I need scarcely say all my friends will be interested in, obtained as it has been by a fortunate accident.

I waited also in order to make the slight return now enclosed. Pray do not be surprised if I also send in a few days a small volume written by myself many years ago—a sea-story which might amuse you at the seaside, if you are still there—and might help to recall your own lighter associations with life afloat.2

I do earnestly hope that the vacation may have set you up in health. The late heat and dryness have relaxed and depressed the strongest constitutions. I had to give up trying to write, almost to read. If mosquitoes are really in England, and even near Edinburgh—the climate must have been in an odd mood, tending for the time to bring people down to the level of Anglo-Indian lassitude.3 It makes them realize better what we owe to our east winds, mists, clouds, and long winter. I suppose the Prime Minister himself might have reason to do this in the summer of 1868—whether or not an oriental temperament might have been able to carry out more conservative courses, with such weather in their favour a little earlier.4

Trusting to be excused in these lines and throughout, | I remain, | Dear Sir, | most truly yours | George Cupples

Charles Darwin Esqe. | &c. &c.


Cupples requested a photograph of CD in his letter of 13 July 1868. CD’s reply has not been found. The Darwins were away from Down from 16 July to 21 August 1868, visiting Freshwater on the Isle of Wight (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Cupples may have enclosed a photograph of himself, although it has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. His The green hand: a sea story. Being the adventures of a naval lieutenant (Cupples 1856) was based on his own experiences; no copy has been found in the Darwin Libraries at Down or CUL. Cupples had read of CD’s voyage in Journal of researches (see letter from George Cupples, 1 May 1868 and n. 1).
For more on the hot summer, see letter to T. H. Huxley, 23 July [1868], n. 4. There was a report on mosquitoes in Scotland in The Scotsman, 7 August 1868, p. 4. Between 22 and 29 July 1868 there had also been correspondence in the Times about whether mosquitoes from abroad were spreading into the British Isles or whether the insects concerned were in fact British species.
The prime minister was Benjamin Disraeli, a Conservative.


Cupples, George. 1856. The green hand. Being the adventures of a naval lieutenant. London

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Thanks for photograph.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Cupples
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Guard Bridge
Source of text
DAR 161: 286
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6310,” accessed on 26 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16