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Letter 1786

Darwin, C. R. to Price, John

29 Nov [1842–55]

    Summary Add

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    Not able to assist JP as he knows no schoolmaster in the area.

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    Cannot answer zoological question but thinks the two Serpulae are distinct.

Transcription

Down | Bromley | Kent

Nov. 29th

Dear Price

I shd have answered your letter of the 12th sooner, had I not lately been much engaged.— I am sorry to say that I am not likely to be able to assist you in the manner you point out, as I do not happen to know any schoolmaster in this part of the country.

Nor can I answer your Zoological question, but I shd suppose your two Serpulæ were distinct: it is now certainly known, that animals of quite distinct species & even genera, inhabit & form serpula-shells, which in external form are indistinguishably alike.

Yours very truly | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1786.f1
    The date range is inferred from the address, which CD used from September 1842, when the family moved to Down, to May 1846, when he began to use `Down, Farnborough, Kent'. In October 1855, the address was again changed to `Down, Bromley, Kent'. The reference to not yet knowing any schoolmaster near Down also suggests that the letter was written before 1850, when William Erasmus Darwin reached school age.
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    f2 1786.f2
    Price had been a friend of CD and his brother Erasmus Alvey Darwin at Shrewsbury School and at Cambridge University. He was a private tutor in Chester.
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    f3 1786.f3
    Serpula is a genus of sedentary polychaetes, commonly known as fanworms.
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