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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Bell   [5 December 1838]

My dear Darwin—

Let me begin by assuring you of my most hearty congratulations and best & kindest wishes— I am rejoiced at your approaching marriage, for I know how happy you must be as a married man, if your wife be as calculated to make you so as you are to confer happiness on her. Depend on it old Lord Bacon was right when he said that Friendship doubleth our joys and cutteth our griefs in halfs,”1 and it is most especially true of that most exalted and refined and perfect friendship which marriage alone can produce & foster— But I am running on without the card— suffice it for me again to assure you of my most sincere good wishes—

The “poor reptiles” shall be thought about— I have received some of them back from Bibron2 named according to his own nomenclature—and I doubt not we shall be able to get some subjects in readiness for figuring by the time you mention—3

Your note arrived in New Broad Street4 just after Dr. Buckland, Sir Philip Egerton & Stokes had left me—& I was chagrined that I could not come to the Society—

Yours most sincerely | Thomas Bell Hornsey

Wednesday eveng


Francis Bacon, Essays, No. 27, ‘Of friendship’: ‘For it redoubleth Joyes, and cutteth Griefes in Halfes’.
Gabriel Bibron.
Bell undertook to prepare Reptiles for the Zoology. The first number, of two, did not appear until August 1842; the second was published in October 1843.
The 1838 Post Office London directory lists Thomas Bell, surgeon dentist, at 17 New Broad Street.


Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

Reptiles: Reptiles. Pt 5 of The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle. By Thomas Bell. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1843.


Sends congratulations on CD’s forthcoming marriage.

Has received some of the reptiles back from G. Bibron, who has named them. TB will get "some subjects in readiness for figuring" by CD’s date.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Bell
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 163
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 452,” accessed on 20 September 2021,

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