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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Edward Davis   15 September [1843]

Down | nr. Bromley. | Kent.

Septr. 15

My dear Sir

Since seeing the arrival of your ships after your glorious expedition,1 I have been wishing to write to congratulate you on your safe return, but I did not know where your ships were, & only thought yesterday of directing to the Admiralty & letting my note take its chance. I hope you received my letter sent to Rio de Janeiro to thank you for having so kindly remembered me & my wish to see specimens from all outlandish parts of the world. I was much gratified in carefully looking over your specimens & should be very glad of a few fragments, as tokens of the southern lands, but I do not make any regular collection & have presented a large part & intend to present that which is worth anything of the remainder to public collections—2 Your Box is at my Brothers lodgings 43 Gt. Marlborough St. if you will inform me I will direct it to be sent anywhere in London or elsewhere, or you could call there & arrange to separate them— I should like to have the pleasure of thanking you in person, but I now reside in the country & being I am sorry to say quite a different person in strength to what I was on board the good old Beagle,—I find even a little trip of 20 miles very fatiguing— You have indeed had a glorious voyage.— I never read anything more awful than some of your escapes and Dangers, of which there was an account the other day in the Literary Gazette—3 Our old shipmates are squandered in the four quarters of the world— Usborne is gone with FitzRoy to New Zealand—4 Wickham & Philip King married in Australia.—5 I suppose we shall have the old Beagle at home again before long.—6 I should like once again to step on her decks.

Pray remember me most kindly to Hooker7 whose letters have been interesting all naturalists, and believe me— My dear Sir | With renewed thanks. | Yours very truly, | C. Darwin—

I hope you will write to me about your Specimens—


The Antarctic voyage commanded by Captain James Clark Ross from 1839 to 1843 (see Ross 1847, 1: xix).
See letter to W. J. Hooker, 12 March [1843].
Literary Gazette (9 September 1843): 573–6.
FitzRoy had sailed for New Zealand on 8 July 1843 to take up his duties as Governor (Mellersh 1968, p. 207).
Philip Gidley King married his cousin, Elizabeth Macarthur, in 1843; John Clements Wickham had also married into the Macarthur family, in 1842 (Aust. Dict. Biog.).
Joseph Dalton Hooker.


Mellersh, Harold Edward Leslie. 1968. FitzRoy of the Beagle. London: Rupert Hart-Davis.

Ross, James Clark. 1847. A voyage of discovery and research in the southern and Antarctic regions, during the years 1839–43. 2 vols. London: John Murray.


Thanks him for specimens collected.

Comments on JED’s voyage [on H.M.S. Terror, 1839–43].

Mentions activities of old Beagle crew.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Edward Davis
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 374
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 695,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

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