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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Adam Sedgwick   13 October 1868

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Oct 13 1868

My dear Professor Sedgwick

I have been deeply gratified by your kindness in remembering me & sending your congratulations on my son’s election as a Fellow of Trinity.1 This certainly is a very great honour to him & a source of much pleasure to me. I often think of the Geological tour in N. Wales, when you allowed me to accompany you, & which was so great a pleasure & advantage to me.2 You, also, during my expedition in the Beagle sent me several encouraging messages, the actual words of some of which I still remember.3 With these recollections & feelings you will believe how deeply I have been gratified by receiving your letter.

I am very sorry to hear that you suffer from so many serious complaints; but considering how often you were formerly unwell you seem to me a wonderful instance of prolonged vigour of mind & body. As for myself I am always an invalid, & fear that I shall never see Cambridge again, though from the many happy days spent there I shd much like to do so.

With the most sincere respect pray believe me | your obliged friend | Charles Darwin


See letter from Adam Sedgwick, 11 October 1868 and n. 5; for more on CD’s geological tour with Sedgwick, see Peter Lucas 2002a and Herbert 2005, pp. 38–47.
Sedgwick’s letters to CD while he was on the Beagle have not been found; however, CD’s sister Susan sent CD an extract from a letter from Sedgwick to Samuel Butler: ‘He is doing admirably in S. America, & has already sent home a collection above all praise.— It was the best thing in the world for him that he went out on a Voyage of Discovery— There was some risk of his turning out an idle man: but his character will now be fixed, & if God spare his life, he will have a great name among the Naturalists of Europe’ (Correspondence vol. 1, letter from Susan Darwin, 22 November 1835).


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

Herbert, Sandra. 2005. Charles Darwin, geologist. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.


Thanks AS for congratulations on George Darwin’s Trinity fellowship.

Reminiscence of his geological tour of North Wales with AS and the encouraging messages received during the Beagle voyage.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Adam Sedgwick
Sent from
Source of text
Mrs Romney Sedgwick (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6418,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16