RECORD: Butler, Thomas. [1828-1837]. [Recollections of Darwin] In Silver, Arnold ed. 1962. The Family Letters of Samuel Butler, 1841-1886. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, p. 209.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe 10-12.2010. RN2

NOTE: Part of this recollection is reprinted in Thomas Glick, What about Darwin? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University press 2010.

[page] 209

[Thomas Butler to his son Samuel, 9 May 1882]

Lady Powis was staying at Barmouth and used to ask me to dinner every now and then and the Darwins hated that kith and kin because [Edward Herbert] Lord Powis was almost the only great man of the neighborhood who employed [the physician Dr. Thomas] DuGard, so Darwin used to jeer me about going to Lady Powis', and I took offence not seeing why I should not go when she made her little dinners pleasant. I never saw him again after that summer [1828] till he came back wasted to a shadow after his return from the Beagle expedition, when I traveled with him and [Robert] Southey in a stage coach from Birmingham to Shrewsbury. After that I never saw him again. Probably I was at Langar. I remember one day at Barmouth he had gone alone to shoot sea birds at Craig y Dewin Mt. Towyn and there was a beast of a black bull on the opposite side of the Barmouth river that made it really unsafe for foot passengers. Darwin however was on a pony and had a gun and a guide and on returning with a headache so that he could hardly sit his horse. The guide exclaimed, If you please Sir I think there is the bull! However he was half a mile off and they struck off the other side the sand hills and he let them alone. He put a bullet into his gun but said he could not have seen to shoot owing to his headache. Did the bull understand his coming greatness?

Thomas Butler (1806-1886) was an English clergyman.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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