EAD wants changes made and shelves built to improve the laboratory at the Mount [Darwin residence]; sends drawings and will bring chemical instruments, a book, and his record of experiments done in his chemistry course.
He has now been matriculated.
I am going to honour you again by writing, & first of all, I think it would be
an improvement in the Lab: to have some more shelves fixed up.
The places I have thought of are, 1
[DIAGRAM HERE] I have drawn a picture of what I mean, & have put some bottles on the shelf to ornament it.
It is to extend from wall to wall, so that the shelf of y
sent up to me, & I will spend it in chemical instruments.— I have ordered a small goniometer (an instrument to measure angles) so that we shall be able to seperate the different crystalls in your cab: I have not yet procured any of the minerals you mentioned. Hensleigh has promised me a bit of asphaltum which he obtained at Teignmouth. I dont think you have any, it is a kind of bitumen very light, will burn, & is of a snuff colour.—
I have bought a book which will be very useful. there are directions for
finding out the names of minerals &c. &c. & the rules are not
very difficult.— I dare say I shall be able obtain some
specimens of rocks for you, for Professor Sedgwick said that at
the Gog Magog hills (about 4 miles distant) there were a vast number of
specimens, which I shall certainly some day go & explore.— I am
attending Professor Cumming's Lectures on Chemistry which are
very entertaining. I have written all his experiments down as far as we have proceded,
which we shall be able to try over again This is y
[DIAGRAM HERE] aa the seats c.c. 2 large tables
He has 3 men to assist him so that we get over a good deal of ground in an hour. he lectures every day, all this term. I think my vacation & your holidays will about fit, as my term divided, a few days ago i.e. half the term is over.—
I have just been to chapel, in wh: respect we are better off than you, as we are only
obliged to attend 7 times a week. Some evenings preceding St
Give my love to Massie, Pearson, J Lawson, & all others. I remain your affectionate brother | E. Darwin. *S 2
- f1 3.f1In the Autobiography, pp. 45--6, CD wrote: `Towards the close of my school life, my brother worked hard at chemistry and made a fair laboratory with proper apparatus in the tool-house in the garden, and I was allowed to aid him as a servant in most of his experiments. He made all the gases and many compounds, and I read with care several books on chemistry, such as Henry [Henry 1810] and Parkes's Chemical Catechism [Parkes 1806]. The subject interested me greatly, and we often used to go on working till rather late at night. This was the best part of my education at school'. CD's tutelage in chemistry lasted from 1822 to October 1825, when the brothers entered Edinburgh University.
- f2 3.f2Apparently a reference to a fund set aside for laboratory expenses. On the cover of the letter, perhaps in CD's hand, is written:
5. 2. 6 44. 17. 6 2 6.
- f3 3.f3Possibly Phillips 1816. The third edition (1823) is preserved in CD's library at Down House.
- f4 3.f4Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology.
- f5 3.f5James Cumming, Professor of Chemistry.
- f6 3.f6By signing the matriculation book undergraduates swore to observe the laws, statutes, and privileges of the University. It is the statutes, many of which were obsolete, to which Erasmus refers.
- f7 3.f7Probably Francis Leighton of Shrewsbury, admitted pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1821 (Alum. Cantab.).
- f8 3.f8Edward Massie, Henry Pearson, and John Lawson were schoolfellows of Erasmus and CD at Shrewsbury School (Shrewsbury School Register).