8th November 1834

In a letter to Catherine Darwin dated 8 November, CD wrote: "Capt FitzRoy has for the last two months, been working extremely hard & at same time constantly annoyed by interruptions from officers of other ships: the selling the Schooner & its consequences were very vexatious: the cold manner the Admiralty (solely I believe because he is a Tory) have treated him, & a thousand other &c &c has made him very thin & unwell. This was accompanied by a morbid depression of spirits, & a loss of all decision & resolution. The Captain was afraid that his mind was becoming deranged (being aware of his heredetary predisposition). All that Bynoe could say, that it was merely the effect of bodily health & exhaustion after such application, would not do; he invalided & Wickham was appointed to the command. By the instructions Wickham could only finish the survey of the Southern part & would then have been obliged to return direct to England.

The grief on board the Beagle about the Captains decision was universal & deeply felt. One great source of his annoyment, was the feeling it impossible to fulfil the whole instructions; from his state of mind, it never occurred to him, that the very instructions order him to do as much of West coast, as he has time for & then proceed across the Pacific. Wickham (very disinterestedly, giving up his own promotion) urged this most strongly, stating that when he took the command, nothing should induce him to go to T. del Fuego again; & then asked the Captain, what would be gained by his resignation. Why not do the more useful part & return as commanded by the Pacific. The Captain, at last, to every ones joy consented & the resignation was withdrawn."

No comments: