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Darwin Correspondence Project

From B. J. Sulivan   5 January 1874


Jany. 5/74.

My dear Darwin

A happy new year to you and yours. The last has been a trying one to us and three near and dear relatives have been taken from us: This day last year our dear son died at M. Video so it brings painful recollections.1 but we have had the best and only consolation with it.

I send you the little mag. for children of S. A. Mission2   I am sure you will be interested in the account of what teaching, and the gospel of christ, is doing for those poor Natives— I wish I could go and see them once more in their changed state. One of the greatest temporal blessings to them is their now helping to feed themselves by having their potatoe grounds and goats even away from the station.

With our kindest regards to Mrs. Darwin and all your family | Believe me | very sincerely yours | B. J. Sulivan

Usborne has been with us a short time since for a fortnight. & Mellersh was to have joined but was ill at the time. You can fancy how we talked over Chiloe boat cruise and other things3


Thomas Edward Sulivan, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, died of the after-effects of an attack of malarial fever following overexertion when his ship, the HMS Pert, ran aground near Montevideo at Christmas 1872 (Sulivan ed. 1896, p. 393).
The magazine has not been found. Sulivan was a long-time supporter of the South American Mission Society. A contribution of £5 to the society (as ‘Fuegian mission’) on 6 February 1867 is recorded in CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS).
Alexander Burns Usborne and Arthur Mellersh had been shipmates of CD and Sulivan on the Beagle voyage. Sulivan refers to a boat expedition along the eastern coast of Chiloe in 1834 while on the Beagle voyage (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter to Caroline Darwin, 10–13 March 1835, and Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 274–80).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.


Mentions family news;

sends a little magazine [missing] dealing with South American mission and showing "what teaching and the gospel of Christ is doing for those poor Natives".

Letter details

Letter no.
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 299
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9226,” accessed on 28 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22