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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Henry Fitton   13 June 1839

Thursday, 13th. June | 1839.

My dear Darwin

I ought long since to have thanked you for your Book;—which was indeed a most acceptable present. But I wished, first, to have read enough to enable me to say that my expectations were fulfilled.— and what I had seen,—was only enough to make me want to see more of it.

The Book has really given me the very greatest pleasure & satisfaction—not no so much on account of the great quantity of curious information which it contains;—as of the spirit in which the whole is written, & the absolute want of pretension—or pretence—that goes through it. Of much of its natural history, I cannot judge:—but your Geology seems to me to be excellent—& a great part of it new:—& (as I know that the map is genuine—) your range of Volcanoes, in the North & South line, —is a most striking feature of the country. What I like best—however,—is the tone of kind & generous feeling that is visible in every part:—so that one sees that it is the work of a plain English gentleman—travelling for information, and not for Effect.—& viewing all things kindly.

I think this will be opinion of all your readers:—and my only fear is,—as my sons are coming home next next week,—that, one of them especially—who has often wished to be “a discovery man”—will now be so full of “a voyage round the world” that he will forget, the previous discipline & labour—necessary to make it effective

I congratulate you very sincerely, on the publication of a work which does you so much credit—in every sense & trust that you will long enjoy all the good consequences of your success.

Ever yours | Very truly | Wm. H. Fitton

Mrs. Fitton has been accusing herself & me—of not having of late seen you or Mrs. Darwin.— The gout is a bad excuse but it is the only one I have to offer.


Thanks CD for Journal of researches. Praises its "want of pretension"; "the Geology seems … to be excellent – and a good part of it new".

Letter details

Letter no.
William Henry Fitton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 178
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 520,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2