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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Gould   [13 April 1838]1

[36 Great Marlborough Street, London.]

My dear Sir

As I do not at all like the idea of your going to Australia with no other remembrance of me, than rat traps and saddle-bags, will you do me the favour to accept the accompanying trifle, as a very slight token of my earnest wish, that your expedition may answer your & Mrs. Gould’s expectations in every respect.2

Very truly Yours | Chas Darwin

Good Friday

N.B. | I find in my notes that the thick-billed Synallaxis, which you doubted, whether you would not make a sand-lark, is a synallaxis in habits.— so stick to your first opinion—3


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Gould, [13 April] 1838 (see Correspondence vol. 2). In 1838, Good Friday fell on 13 April.
Gould and his wife Elizabeth departed for Australia on 16 May 1838 (ODNB). Gould thanked CD for a gift of a dram-bottle (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter from John Gould, [13 April] 1838).
Gould was describing the birds CD had collected on the Beagle voyage; his descriptions were published in Birds. CD had not identified any birds he collected as being in the tropical American subfamily Synallaxinae (spinetails); in general he labelled them as ‘Certhia’ (treecreepers) in his notes (Ornithological notes, p. 220). In Birds, pp. 76, 77, and 78, Gould identified four of CD’s specimens as different species of the genus Synallaxis, and named them S. major, S. rufogularis, S. flavogularis, and S. brunnea.


Gives best wishes for Gould’s trip to Australia.

Notes on Synallaxis behaviour.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Gould
Source of text
Dr Daniel C. Devor (private collection)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 408F,” accessed on 26 June 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)