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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charlotte Wedgwood   22 September [1831]


Sept 22d

My dear Charles

I congratulate you most sincerely on your fate being at last decided, & decided as you wished it. I wish you with all my heart all the enjoyment & improvement & beautiful scenes & life of interest that you are looking forward to, & above all a safe & happy return which will be the pleasantest of the whole. I was very glad to receive your letter. I had regretted that we had been so foolish as not to ask you to write when we were so particularly wishing to know what your fate would be, so that your letter coming unasked for gave me the more pleasure. For some time after you left Maer I was in a complete fidget thinking of the chances for or against your being cut out of the expedition by it’s being offered in the mean time to somebody else which would have been the most vexatious way of losing it, & this was increased by our finding out that your letter to Mr Henslow, upon which it was possible that your fate might depend, was delayed at the Post office for a day—1 Frank to make it more secure had sent a direction with it to be forwarded immediately, but most haste worst speed, for when he called at the Office in returning to inquire whether it was safe off, one of the first things he saw was the letter itself. We calculated however when you went so immediately to Cambridge that it would make no difference as you would we thought get there the same day that the letter ought to have arrived. I am delighted that you have fallen in with a Captain Wentworth—2 such an extraordinary piece of good luck is a good omen for every else— I hope you will become real intimate friends which will double the pleasure of every thing. I wish you would not so completely set us down as your Lords of the Admiralty—when I think of your sisters my conscience is ill at ease & I shall feel guilty when I next see them—they will be very good natured if they do not bear us a grudge— I shall lay all the blame on my father & Hensleigh, & you can vouch for us that Hensleigh is the only that gave a strong opinion. I wish very much I could hear that Caroline will be returned time enough to see you or she will have more cause than any body to bear us a grudge. I am very sorry for the third year that has been added, but it is a great comfort that you can at any time if you wish it, quit the ship & return home when you meet with an opportunity. I do confess that that third year makes me tremble much more than I did before for the country parish & parsonage house where I should be very sorry not to see you established— I think it is the happiest kind of life & one which would almost oblige any one to be good, & something to oblige one to be good is what one feels the want of every day of one’s life. That it will oblige you to work is I know one of the advantages that you think this expedition will give you— I wish it may but I am very much afraid that ship board is not a good place for working & that it will require a great deal of resolution & perseverance on your part to make it so. I have an earnest desire that you should prove that you have made a good choice, as well as that we have not done you an injury, for I cannot help remembering that but for that 1st of September your family would have had you safe at home & this you see makes me grave & preachy— I wish indeed that your time would have allowed you to see us before you go, but we would not have taken a day from your week at home on any account tho you must wish you had more time before you I really believe it is better for you not to have a great deal of time between taking your resolution & acting that there may not be time for all the objections to rise up which they always do with much more than their real weight when there is nothing more for them to do but to torment one, & as it is I hope you will be too hurried & busy for this disagreeable process. I suppose you are at Cambridge now— I wonder whether you are too busy & your head too full to observe the extreme beauty of today & yesterday, yesterday particularly Wednesday every thing looked supernaturally beautiful, even the larch plantations themselves— one of your tropical moonlight nights could hardly be more beautiful & it set me wondering what it could be that made the difference between it & other sunshiny days, but I think those days never come but in Autumn. Our Welsh party who returned the day before from the Menai bridge would have given a good deal for two or three such days, however they liked their tour in spite of clouds. Miss Julia Mainwaring came here today to intreat some of us to go & help her to entertain a party of officers today she being the only lady— nobody would go but Emma, who when she found she could not get Fanny to go & keep her in countenance had great scruples lest she should appear too Lydiaish,3 however by going rather early she hoped she should appear to be staying with Miss Julia, rather than come express to meet the officers. We are going to have the great honour of a visit from Dr Holland tomorrow think of that, however that we may not be too much puffed up it must be owned that Mary Holland & his children are here, which tho he did not know, he had a pretty good guess of, but it is something to be proud of notwithstanding & I hope we shall keep clear of the reform bill which I understand his temper cannot stand. Elizabeth & I are going next week to the Bent’s at Derby for the music meeting—it will not rival Birmingham of famous memory. I shall like very much to hear from you again before you sail— tell me all little particulars about your arrangements on ship board &c. the Welsh party picked up some intelligence about you at Overton—that you will be able to go ashore for some time in stormy weather will be no small comfort I should think. All here desire to be most kindly remembered to you & have a great interest in all your plans & prospects. Once more warmly wishing you success I am ever dear Charles | Your affectionate cousin | Charlotte Wedgwood

I wonder where I shall direct to you next—


Captain Frederick Wentworth, hero of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (1818).
Reference to the flirtatious Lydia Bennet, of Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice (1813).


Sends congratulations and good wishes; feels the Wedgwoods bear much responsibility, since he would not have accepted the Beagle appointment had he not been at Maer "that 1st. of September".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charlotte Wedgwood/Charlotte Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 68
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 133,” accessed on 3 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1