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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Burgess   13 April 1875


April 13th 1875

Dear Sir

You will think me very dilatory in acknowledgeing the kindness I received from you on March 26th But the reason is, I wished to return you the same kindness with a many thanks.1

Also I am glad to say that my health is very good considering that I am 65 years old.

And now I am going to give you a description of my career since I left the Beagle.2

I purchased my Discharge from the Royal Marines, and whent to Stockport in Cheshire, my native place, Admiral Sir. Sailsbury Davenport3 was then living at Bramhall near Stockport, and he—got me appointed as an Officer in the Cheshire Constabulary force, in which I remained in 32 years and am now Pensioned at thirty two pounds per year. Since then I have sought for no other employment.

I am only sorry that the Distance is so great between us, and my means so limited, or I whould come and see you which I should like to do.

I can at times picture to myself very clear some of the sights whe had in the Beagle, for instance, the coast of Patagonia and TerradelFuego Falkland Islands, Straits of Magallan with Port Famine and Wigwam Cove and Otahite with Dolphin Bay, and Point Venus.4

I fancy at times I can see them. I have not seen one of the crew since I was paid off.

I have often heard your name mentioned, and have felt proud that I could say I was with you in the Beagle. But I have never had the pleasure of Reading one of your Works, I should like to have the opportunity in my Lifetime which cannot be so long as the Longest.

If you would condesend to send me one with your name as a present to one of the Beagle’s Crew I should think it a small fortune

I feel honured by you—sending me your Pothograph and shall Prize it whilst I Live and should you be so kind as to send me a Book and it being too Large for Post, you may convay the same per Rail in the Parcell Department writing me before.

With my kind and Best thanks to you I enclose my Likness | Remaining | Yours Ever truly | Thomas Burgess

To Doctor Darwin | Beckenham | Kent


Burgess had requested CD’s portrait (see letter from Thomas Burgess, 26 March 1875). Burgess’s portrait has not been found.
Burgess served with CD on HMS Beagle (‘Beagle’ diary).
Salusbury Pryce Davenport.
CD described these places in his Journal of researches. Burgess refers to Tierra del Fuego and the Straits of Magellan. Port Famine is now Ciudad del Rey Don Felipe; Otaheite is now Tahiti.


‘Beagle’ diary: Charles Darwin’s Beagle diary. Edited by Richard Darwin Keynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.

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.


Sends CD an account of his career since leaving the Beagle.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Burgess
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 106: D17–18
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9925,” accessed on 18 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23