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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Caroline Darwin   [28 April 1831]1



My Dear Caroline,

I want to hear some Shropshire politics, & I write in the hopes of having an answer.— I will give you a short hand account of myself since I left Shrewsbury.— I spent a very pleasant week in London, but found it as I always do, very fatiguing (I expect Erasmus did also for we lived together). Through Tom’s2 assistance I got a ticket for the Antient music which was most admirable; but what I liked most in all London is the Zoolog: Gardens: on a hot day when the beasts look happy and the people gay it is most delightful.— Cambridge, I find, is one of the few places, where if you anticipate a great deal of pleasure you do not find yourself disappointed: every day in the Term that passes I feel a loss; and the days go so quietly that I never do half what I intend to in the morning.— I am very busy and work all morning till Henslow’s lecture: in the evenings I generally go out somewhere, and occasionally dinner parties, where good-eating and good-talking make a most harmonious whole (I hope you are disgusted, I will excuse anybody till they have been to a Cam: dinner, & if they are there, and if they cry out “what a disgusting thing a good dinner is” I must give them up.) The Election here is a great bore, as Henslow is Lord Palmerston’s right-hand man,3 and he has no time for walks.— All the while I am writing now my head is running about the Tropics: in the morning I go and gaze at Palm trees in the hot-house and come home and read Humboldt: my enthusiasm is so great that I cannot hardly sit still on my chair. Henslow & other Dons give us great credit for our plan: Henslow promises to cram me in geology.— I never will be easy till I see the peak of Teneriffe and the great Dragon tree; sandy, dazzling, plains, and gloomy silent forest are alternately uppermost in my mind.— I am working regularly at Spanish; Erasmus advised me decidedly to give up Italian. I have written myself into a Tropical glow.

goodbye | C Darwin

tell me Gossip write soon

I took my Degree the other day:4 it cost me £15: there is waste of money. Love to all you do not hear from me often, so you must excuse my being as Egotistical as Hope.— I begin to think Natural Hist: makes people Egotistical.


The copyist noted ‘Postmark Cambridge April 28t h (?)’. The query apparently indicates that the year was illegible.
Thomas Josiah Wedgwood.
John Stevens Henslow, originally a Tory, followed Lord Palmerston when he changed parties in 1828. In the elections of 1831 Palmerston lost his seat as M.P. for Cambridge University because of his support of Parliamentary reform. (Jenyns 1862, p. 60.)
Tuesday, 26 April 1831 (LL 1: 163 n.).


Jenyns, Leonard. 1862. Memoir of the Rev. John Stevens Henslow, late rector of Hitcham, and professor of botany in the University of Cambridge. London: John Van Voorst.

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


Had a pleasant week in London and is now enjoying Cambridge, where he is busy with work and social engagements.

Writes with great enthusiasm of his prospective trip to "the Tropics" [Canary Islands]. Henslow will cram him in geology. He is working regularly at Spanish.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 154: 30
Physical description
C C 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 98,” accessed on 1 April 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1