To Syms Covington 23 November 1850
Down Farnborough, Kent,
November 23, 1850.
I received your letter of the 12th of March on the 25th of August, but the box of which you advised me arrived here only yesterday. The captain who brought it made no charge, and it arrived quite safely. I thank you very sincerely for the great trouble you must have taken in collecting so many specimens. I have received a vast number of collections from different places, but never one so rich from one locality. One of the kinds is most curious. It is a new species of a genus of which only one specimen is known to exist in the world, and it is in the British Museum.1 I see that you are one of those very rare few who will work as hard for a friend when several thousand miles apart as when close at hand. There are at least seven different kinds in the box. The collection must have caused you much time and labour, and I again thank you very sincerely for so kindly obliging me. I have been amused by looking over two old papers you used in packing up, and in seeing the names of Captain Wickham,2 Mr. Macleay,3 and others mentioned. I am always much interested by your letters, and take a very sincere pleasure in hearing how you get on. You have an immense, incalculable advantage in living in a country in which your children are sure to get on if industrious. I assure you that, though I am a rich man, when I think of the future I very often ardently wish I was settled in one of our Colonies, for I have now four sons (seven children in all, and more coming), and what on earth to bring them up to I do not know. A young man may here slave for years in any profession and not make a penny. Many people think that Californian gold will half ruin all those who live on the interest of accumulated gold or capital, and if that does happen I will certainly emigrate.4 Whenever you write again tell me how far you think a gentleman with capital would get on in New South Wales. I have heard that gentlemen generally get on badly. I am sorry to say that my health keeps indifferent, and I have given up all hopes of ever being a strong man again. I am forced to live the life of a hermit, but natural history fills up my time, and I am happy in having an excellent wife and children. Any particulars you choose to tell me about yourself always interest me much. What interest can you get for money in a safe investment? How dear is food; I suppose nearly as dear as in England? How much land have you? I was pleased to see the other day that you have a railway commenced,5 and before they have one in any part of Italy or Turkey. The English certainly are a noble race, and a grand thing it is that we have got securely hold of Australia and New Zealand. Once again accept my thanks for your valuable collection of barnacles, and believe me, dear Covington, your sincere friend, C. DARWIN.
Thanks SC for box of specimens [of cirripedes].
Often wishes he had settled in one of the colonies because of opportunities for his children.