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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. T. Whitley    [19 July 1831]1



My dear Whitley

My conscience smote me much on receiving your letter.— The reason I did not write sooner, was that I kept on hoping that I might have come in propriâ personâ.— I am at present mad about Geology & I daresay I shall put a plan which I am now hatching, into execution sometime in August, viz of riding through Wales & staying a few days at Barmouth on my road.—2 Even if I was to come there, I should not be of much assistance to Mr. D. B. or indeed Mr. D B to me, as I much suspect his pronunciation.3 I get on very slowly with Spanish. the number of words is quite terrifying & the number of meanings to each word is still more discouraging.—4 I must contrive to pay you a visit, & as for Lowe, the number of facts he must have picked up, must be worth any thing.—5 I heard a Coachman the other day call a broken-winded, spavined horse, a “faggot of misery”. I thought to myself, the man must be a friend of Lowes. I heard from Watkins yesterday6 he says, he finds them so devilish familiar at home, that he is obliged to take a little tour in order to protect himself.— He intends seeing Grey & Cavendish at Tremadock, & most likely Barmouth.7 I should like much to meet him there With Lowes assistance, we might have a good deal of instructing conversation.—

You do not deserve even so long a letter, as I have written. You do not even mention how you like Barmouth, whom you have there, what you do &c &c &c.— I think I shall most certainly see you in August8 till then, believe me dear Whitley | yours Chas Darwin.—


The Tuesday before the date of the postmark. CD apparently held on to the letter before posting it.
CD went on a brief geological tour in North Wales, part of it in the company of Adam Sedgwick,in August 1831 (see letters from Adam Sedgwick, 4 September 1831 and 18 September 1831).
Not identified.
CD studied Spanish in July 1831 in the hope of carrying out a natural history excursion to Tenerife.
Henry Porter Lowe was an undergraduate at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He and his younger brother Robert Lowe were in Barmouth in August 1831 (Martin 1893, 1: 19–20). See also Barrett 1974,p. 149.
Frederick Watkins was a friend of CD at both Shrewsbury School and Cambridge.
William Scurfield Grey and George Henry Cavendish were mutual friends of CD and Whitley at Cambridge.
CD apparently visited Whitley in Barmouth. See letter to Charles Whitley, [9 September 1831].


He is "mad about Geology" and plans to ride through Wales in August with a few days at Barmouth.

Some humorous gossip.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Thomas Whitley
Sent from
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 102A,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7 (Supplement)