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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Mostyn Owen Sr   26 March 1843


March 26th. 43.

My dear Sir,

Though you desire me not to take the trouble of acknowledging your most kind Letter, I cannot deny myself the melancholly sort of Pleasure I shall have in doing so, & feel that I should be very unworthy such a Letter & such a kind Friend if I was insensible of, or did not return you my most grateful thanks for the Sympathy you express in the Affliction with which we are visited—1 Indeed the loss we have sustained is a very severe one & I feel the blow more perhaps, because, having heard from the dear Boy not many Weeks before his death, & having then received an account of his escape from the Cholera which broke out on board the Transport in which he took his passage from Bombay, to this shocking place call’d Kurachee, where his Friend Capt Sawbridge & more than one third of all on Board perish’d in the course of only Six days, I vainly thought, as he seemed to do himself, that he was proof against all disease, & believed as I hoped that he was reserved for a better Fate. Poor dear Fellow, I believe I may say without a Parent’s Partiality that few Men ever possess’d more good Qualities, & particularly such as are required to make a good Soldier; & short as his Career has been, I have the sad satisfaction to hear that they were very highly & justly appreciated by his Brother Officers & by all who knew him.— He was carried off by a Fever something I suppose like the Yellow Fever of the West Indies, which together with the Cholera has in a very short time destroy’d the greatest Part of his fine Regt. without their having fired a shot. His Colonel & another Officer died at the same Place & on the same day. His illness I am told was short & his sufferings as light as they well could be to produce such a result, & it is certainly some consolation as you well observe, & indeed almost the only one that will bear examination, to reflect that he has left this World without having suffer’d many of those misfortunes & disappointments which all Men more or less meet with, & we ought therefore perhaps to be satisfied, that all is for the best & that the blow has been struck in mercy by that Almighty Spirit who we are bound to believe cannot err, & without whose knowledge & will not a Sparrow falls.—

Mrs. Owen as you no doubt have heard has for some time past been very low & unwell, but on that account being more inclined to see the dark side of things than I am, she rather anticipated what has happen’d. Still she suffers severely, but begs me to tell you as well as I can how grateful she is for your kind Sympathy—& none of our Friends though they have all been very kind have shewn us more attention than you, & all your Family, & very proud I assure you I am of it.— It was only Yesterday I think that Caroline received the kindest Letter that could be penn’d from, allow me to call her, your dear Sister Susan, with a request from your Father that Mrs. Owen would come & stay a few days with him, & she proposes to do so on Tuesday next—& as she is quite persuaded that Nobody can give her such good advice I have no doubt she will profit much in every way by her visit.— I hope you like your new residence; I wish it was nearer your Family & old Friends—but as I trust you will now & then visit them, though I am getting a very old Man, & feel what indifferent Company I must be for those who are younger & better informed I cannot help requesting that you will do me the Favor to let me see you once more under my Roof whenever you come into Shropshire again— We have a good Nursery & nothing would give me more pleasure than to see your young ones in it. Pray mention this to your good Lady & with the united kindest regards of Mrs. Owen & all my Family— believe me always with unfeigned respect & regard to remain

Most Sincerely & affectionately Yours | Wm. Owen


The Owens’ son Henry had died in India.


Discusses the death of his son. Thanks CD for his letter of condolence and invites him to visit.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Owen
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 98: A3–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 666,” accessed on 27 November 2020,

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