Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

1831.)

THE OFFER REFUSED.

169

[ocr errors]

Captain Beechey,* and spent £1500 in bringing over and educating at his own charge three natives of Patagonia. He engages at his own expense an artist at £200 a year to go with him. You may be sure, therefore, of having a very pleasant companion, who will enter heartily into all your views.

The ship sails about the end of September, and you must lose no time in making known your acceptance to Captain Beaufort, Admiralty Hydrographer. I have had a good deal of correspondence about this matter (with Henslow?], who feels, in common with myself, the greatest anxiety that you should go. I hope that no other arrangements are likely to interfere with it.

The Admiralty are not disposed to give a salary, though they will furnish you with an official appointment, and every accommodation. If a salary should be required, however, I am inclined to think that it would be granted.

Believe me, my dear Sir,
Very truly yours,

GEORGE PEACOCK.

*

C. Darwin to J. S. Henslow.

Shrewsbury, Tuesday (August 30 ?, 1831). MY DEAR SIR,

Mr. Peacock's letter arrived on Saturday, and I received it late yesterday evening. As far as my own mind is concerned, I should, I think certainly, most gladly have accepted the opportunity which you so kindly have offered me.

But my father, although he does not decidedly refuse me, gives such strong advice against going, that I should not be comfortable if I did not follow it.

My father's objections are these : the unfitting me to

* For ‘Beechey'read ‘King.' I do not find the name Fitz-Roy in the list of Beechey's officers. The Fuegians were brought back from Captain King's voyage.

[ocr errors]

settle down as a Clergyman, my little habit of seafaring, the shortness of the time, and the chance of my not suiting Captain Fitz-Roy. It is certainly a very serious objection, the very short time for all my preparations, as not only body but mind wants making up for such an undertaking. But if it had not been for my father I would have taken all risks. What was the reason that a Naturalist was not long ago fixed upon ? I am very much obliged for the trouble you have had about it; there certainly could not have been a better opportunity.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

My trip with Sedgwick answered most perfectly. I did not hear of poor Mr. Ramsay's loss till a few days before your letter. I have been lucky hitherto in never losing any person for whom I had any esteem or affection. My acquaintance, although very short, was sufficient to give me those feelings in a great degree. I can hardly make myself believe he is no more. He was the finest character I ever knew.

Yours most sincerely,

My dear Sir,

Ch. DARWIN.

I have written to Mr. Peacock, and I mentioned that I have asked you to send one line in the chance of his not getting my letter. I have also asked him to communicate with Captain Fitz-Roy. Even if I was to go, my father disliking would take away all energy, and I should want a good stock of that. Again I must thank you, it adds a little to the heavy but pleasant load of gratitude which I owe to you.

C. Darwin to R. W. Darwin.

[Maer) August 31, [1831). MY DEAR FATHER,

I am afraid I am going to make you again very uncomfortable. But, upon consideration, I think you will excuse me once again, stating my opinions on the offer of the

1831.)

MR. DARWIN'S OBJECTIONS.

171

[ocr errors]

voyage. My excuse and reason is the different way all the Wedgwoods view the subject from what you and my sisters do.

I have given Uncle Jos * what I fervently trust is an accurate and full list of your objections, and he is kind enough to give his opinions on all. The list and his answers will be enclosed. But may I beg of you one favour, it will be doing me the greatest kindness, if you will send me a decided answer, yes or no? If the latter, I should be most ungrateful if I did not implicitly yield to your better judgment, and to the kindest indulgence you have shown me all through my life; and you may rely upon it I will never mention the subject again. If your answer should be yes; I will go directly to Henslow and consult deliberately with him, and then come to Shrewsbury.

The danger appears to me and all the Wedgwoods not great. The expense cannot be serious, and the time I do not think, anyhow, would be more thrown away than if I stayed at home. But pray do not consider that I am so bent on going that I would for one single moment hesitate, if you thought that after a short period you should continue uncomfortable.

I must again state I cannot think it would unfit me hereafter for a steady life. I do hope this letter will not give you much uneasiness. I send it by the car to-morrow morning ; if you make up your

mind directly will you send me an answer on the following day by the same means? If this letter should not find you at home, I hope you will answer as soon as you conveniently can.

I do not know what to say about Uncle Jos' kindness; I never can forget how he interests himself about me.

Believe me, my dear father,

Your affectionate son,

CHARLES DARWIN.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

[Here follows the list of objections which are referred to
in the following letter :-
(1.) Disreputable to my character as a Clergyman here-

after.
(2.) A wild scheme.
(3.) That they must have offered to many others before

me the place of Naturalist.
(4.) And from its not being accepted there must be some

serious objection to the vessel or expedition.
(5.) That I should never settle down to a steady life here-

after.
(6.) That my accommodations would be most uncomfort-

able.
(7.) That you (i.e. Dr. Darwin) should consider it as again

changing my profession.
(8.) That it would be a useless undertaking.]

[ocr errors]

Josiah IV'edgwood to R. W. Darwin.

Maer, August 31, 1831.

[Read this last.] * MY DEAR DOCTOR,

I feel the responsibility of your application to me on the offer that has been made to Charles as being weighty, but as you have desired Charles to consult me, I cannot refuse to give the result of such consideration as I have been able to [give?] it.

Charles has put down what he conceives to be your principal objections, and I think the best course I can take will be to state what occurs to me upon each of them.

1. I should not think that it would be in any degree disreputable to his character as a Clergyman. I should on the contrary think the offer honourable to him; and the pursuit of Natural History, though certainly not professional, is very suitable to a clergyman.

2. I hardly know how to meet this objection, but he would

* In C. Darwin's writing.

1831.]

JOSIAH WEDGWOOD'S ADVICE.

173

[ocr errors]

have definite objects upon which to employ himself, and might acquire and strengthen habits of application, and I should think would be as likely to do so as in any way in which he is likely to pass the next two years at home.

3. The notion did not occur to me in reading the letters; and on reading them again with that object in my mind I see no ground for it.

4. I cannot conceive that the Admiralty would send out a bad vessel on such a service. As to objections to the expedition, they will differ in each man's case, and nothing would, I think, be inferred in Charles's case, it were known that others had objected.

5. You are a much better judge of Charles's character than I can be. If on comparing this mode of spending the next two years with the way in which he will probably spend them, if he does not accept this offer, you think him more likely to be rendered unsteady and unable to settle, it is undoubtedly a weighty objection. Is it not the case that sailors are prone to settle in domestic and quiet habits ?

6. I can form no opinion on this further than that if appointed by the Admiralty he will have a claim to be as well accommodated as the vessel will allow.

7. If I saw Charles now absorbed in professional studies I should probably think it would not be advisable to interrupt them ; but this is not, and, I think, will not be the case with him. His present pursuit of knowledge is in the same track as he would have to follow in the expedition,

8. The undertaking would be useless as regards his professicn, but looking upon him as a man of enlarged curiosity, it affords him such an opportunity of seeing men and things as happens to few.

You will bear in mind that I have had very little time for consideration, and that you and Charles are the persons who must decide.

My dear Doctor,

Affectionately yours,

JOSIAH WEDGWOOD.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I am,

« VorigeDoorgaan »