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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Susan Darwin   [27 March 1826]1


Monday Evening

My dear Charley—

I was very well pleased to receive your last letter as I hope you are getting in better humour with Edinburgh now that Spring is come.— Do go some day to see Roslyn Castle, which I believe is within a few miles from Edinburgh, & it is very well worth seeing— At present they have made a Diorama of it, in London.— My reason for writing so soon is, that I have a message from Papa to give you, which I am afraid you won’t like; he desires me to say that he thinks your plan of picking & chusing what lectures you like to attend, not at all a good one; and as you cannot have enough information to know what may be of use to you, it is quite necessary for you to bear with a good deal of stupid & dry work: but if you do not discontinue your present indulgent way, your course of study will be utterly useless.— Papa was sorry to hear that you thought of coming home before the course of Lectures were finished, but hopes you will not do so.—

Erasmus has seen a great deal of Hildyard since his return. the latter dined here yesterday. he seems a very merry sort of person— Price is come to take his place of master— I fear I can give you very little School gossip. I can only inform you that I never go into town without meeting your two School Beauties (Watkins & Turner)2 arm in arm parading the streets of Shrewsbury— I shall be very happy to renew my acquaintance & flirtation with Massie this summer. I wish it was in my power to do you a good turn by inviting the Miss Massies.

We have been making Erasmus very useful, taking him to Doctor all our sick poor people. he goes pretty often to visit poor Mrs. O. Jones who has been quite confined to her bed for some time. the other day when he was there, she gave him an old Guinea wrapped up, saying “she wished very much to give him his first fee, & hoped he would keep it as a love token from her”— This little mark of friendship & kind manner of doing it pleased Eras very much.

I am very glad to hear you are becoming a Politician3 & I shall be still better pleased when I hear you are studying “The Morning Chronicle” in place of odious John Bull: what is the use or pleasure of reading a paper which everybody abuses & allows to be so unfair? I cannot tell you much about Mr. Hume4 except what I daresay you know, that he is a Scotch Member & a great person for reforming all money abuses & taxes in Government &c.— If you can get the Edinburgh Review for last November, do read “Lord Suffield on the Game Laws” which is one of the articles in it, and which we all like extremely.—5

We all get up early & are good & industrious. Eras is very pleasant & affectionate. He has been staying three days at Overton, & came back very full of his little nephew’s charms, allowing that he had no idea babies ever were such nice little creatures.

We have written to invite a great many Galtons6 to come to see ⁠⟨⁠u⁠⟩⁠s next Month—& we are expecting Eliza & Jessie Wedgwood. I don’t know how the house will hold them all.—

Puppy gets so fat, he can niether stand or go. we had an alarm that he was poisoned last week, by some paint, as the House & premises are infested with a troop of little painters with Mr. Pierce at the head of them, who are painting the windows &c &c. Caroline scolded all the painters round & afterwards found her alarm was false.—

I am so sleepy I must wish you Good night | ever yr affect | Susan

Remember to write slow and then you will form each letter distinctly.—

We have had a nasty East wind for the last ten days.—

Will you in your next letter answer the message about a Book & Constable7 which Erasmus gave you in his letter—

Don’t waste your time by going to the Play as it must prevent your getting up early, or attending to yr studies.—

For this next month devote yrself to wisdom & you will be much happier.


Dated 27 March from reference to Erasmus’s having returned from Overton (a trip on which he started 22 March) and from postmarks.
James Farley Turner, Shrewsbury schoolmate. He and CD renewed their friendship at Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1827. In the Autobiography, p. 67, CD refers to him as ‘one of my sporting friends’.
No record of any political activity by CD has been found.
Edward Harbord, 3d Baron Suffield. His book (Harbord 1825) advocated changing the game laws to permit owners to sell their game. Poaching would then become theft and public opinion would support enforcing the law. The review appeared in November 1825, pp. 242–62. Wellesley Index 1: 467 lists its author as Henry Brougham or perhaps Sydney Smith.
The Galtons were close relatives and friends of the Darwin family. Violetta Galton, a daughter of Dr Erasmus Darwin’s second marriage, was Samuel Tertius Galton's wife. They had four daughters and three sons, one of whom was Francis Galton, later to become a close associate and correspondent of CD.
Probably Archibald Constable, the Edinburgh publisher.


Autobiography: The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. With original omissions restored. Edited with appendix and notes by Nora Barlow. London: Collins. 1958.

Harbord, Edward, Baron Suffield. 1825. Considerations on the game laws. Norwich and London.


Writes of Papa’s disapproval of CD’s practice of picking and choosing only lectures he likes to attend and of his early return home.

News of Erasmus, who is visiting sick poor people in the neighbourhood. Other Shrewsbury news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Shrewsbury MR ⁠⟨⁠182⁠⟩⁠6; MAR H 30 E 1826
Source of text
DAR 204: 25
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 29,” accessed on 26 November 2022,

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