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Darwin Correspondence Project

To B. J. Sulivan   16 May [1880]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

May 16th

My dear Sulivan

I have received from the U. States a book, giving an account of the adventures of 2 Missionaries in Patagonia, at the time when the Beagle was surveying. One of the missionaries was the Rev Titus Coan, who has done grand work in the Sandwich Islds.—2 The book has us, & therefore I send it by this Post to you, for the chance of your liking to read it.—3 Will you kindly return it some time, as some of our relations want to read it.—

Many thanks to you for sending me several numbers of the Missionary Journal.— I sincerely hope poor Mr Bridges will recover his health in this country.—4

Bishop Sterling is a relation of my son-in-law, Mr Litchfield.—5

Ever yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from B. J. Sulivan, 20 May 1880.
Titus Coan’s Adventures in Patagonia details his and William Arms’s efforts as missionaries in Patagonia from 14 November 1833 to 25 January 1834 (Coan 1880). Coan was a missionary in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) from 1835 to 1882.
Coan had referred to CD’s and Robert FitzRoy’s observations in Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and the Falkland Islands, giving emphasis to the attempt to establish the missionary Richard Matthews in Tierra del Fuego in 1833 (Coan 1880, pp. 269–86).
Thomas Bridges’s ill health, and his departure for England with his family on 17 October 1879, was reported in the South American Missionary Magazine, 2 February 1880, pp. 34, 37–8; improvements to his health were reported the following month (ibid., 1 March 1880, p. 52).
Waite Hockin Stirling, bishop of the Falkland Islands, was Richard Buckley Litchfield’s cousin by marriage; Stirling was married to Louisa Jane Phinn, daughter of Litchfield’s aunt Jane Phinn.


Coan, Titus. 1880. Adventures in Patagonia: a missionary’s exploring trip. With an introduction by Rev. Henry M. Field. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.


Lends BJS Titus Coan’s Adventures in Patagonia [1880].

Thanks him for copies of the missionary journal.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Sent from
Source of text
Sulivan family (private collection)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12608,” accessed on 26 May 2022,