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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Smith, Elder, and Company?1   17 February [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

Feb. 17th

Dear Sir

I am infinitely obliged to you for so kindly offering to ship the Box with ear-trumpet & pay the charges for me thereon.— I will give as little trouble as possible.—   I have paid the maker (W. Harrowin)2 & told him to put Trumpet in a Box & address it to

Mr Syms Covington3 Post-Office Pambala Twofold Bay Australia

To be left at your house.—

I thank you sincerely for aiding me in this little act of charity for the poor man writes to me that he cannot get Ear-trumpet which will suit him in Australia.—4

I will write to him & say that the Box will be sent by the next P. & O. Steamer after Feb. 20th, for the Box will not be in time for 20th

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully & much obliged | Charles Darwin


The identity of the recipient is suggested by a previous occasion on which CD sent an ear-trumpet to Syms Covington. The publishing firm of Smith, Elder, and Co. sent CD’s present in one of their regular shipments to their agent in New South Wales (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter to Syms Covington, 7 October 1843).
The maker has not been identified. There is an entry dated 3 February 1860 in CD’s Account book (Down House MS) that reads: ‘Ear-trumpet. 13s . 6d’.
Covington was CD’s servant and assistant during the Beagle voyage and for some years afterwards. In 1842 he had emigrated to Australia (see Correspondence vol. 2).
Covington’s letter has not been found. In a previous letter, he asked CD to send him a book on curing deafness. See Correspondence vol. 7, letter to Syms Covington, 16 January [1859].


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Arranges to send ear-trumpet to Syms Covington.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Smith, Elder & Co
Sent from
Source of text
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York (Gordon N. Ray Collection MA 13959)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2702,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8