RECORD: Haliburton, Sarah Harriet née Mostyn Owen. 1882.11.12. [Recollection of Darwin in a letter to Francis Darwin]. CUL-DAR198.85. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 4.2021. RN1

NOTE: Sarah Harriet Mostyn Owen (1804-1886) was the eldest daughter of William Mostyn Owen (c1.770-1849). She was the romantic interest of Darwin before the Beagle voyage. When Darwin was departing on the voyage, she pinned a lock of her hair to a letter to Darwin.

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.


[p.s] I shall like to be affectionately remembered to Caroline Wedgwood when you write to her

Bridge House


12th Nov[ember]

My dear Mr. Darwin

Your kind letter was very gratifying to me, for while memory lasts, the name of Darwin, will always be most dear to me –I have been looking up all the letters I can find, & I fancy there may be one or two more in a sealed up box, now at my Bankers –You will, I think, see that the letters I send though invaluable to me, are not calculated for publication, being full of allusions, which would not interest the public mind –

As to my youthful recollections of Charles Darwin, the same observations would apply –I have a wonderfully vivid recollection of some of our by gone days, he was the quietest of us all, my father especially, who believed he could do no wrong, not even when, having offered a reward of [illeg], when a certain Beetle found among [illeg], my younger brother trampled to death a whole bed of them – he had the most hearty laugh I ever remember, & had the knack of interesting us in his pursuits – Very great was our sorrow, when he departed on his Beagle Expedition but my father lived to see him return, & I believe read every word of his Narratives –

So upright, so modest, so simple minded, oh, when shall his like be seen again –

But these recollections, precious as they are, to those who loved him, would not be understood by the outside world –

I know you will kindly return me these letters, at your leisure. Should I find any others, I will send them, I have so often been asked for autographs, that I have given away scraps of his letters –

I hope you will be pleased with your new winter abode, & I also hope we may continue to meet somewhere & somehow, next Spring –

Will you thank your son for his letter, what I think I have answered to you, & believe me always yours affectionately


S. H. Haliburton

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

File last updated 25 September, 2022