J. P. Thom [of Home News] must change his position because of his health. Asks if CD can help find him a new situation.
Sudbrook Park | Petersham
My dear M
We were all relieved & made happy by M
The Sedentary life in a damp office in the City has so completely undermined his health that he is obliged to give up his employment, & has no prospect of meeting with a suitable one in this Country—so that as a last resource he is going to Queensland—at the age of 33—to spend the remainder of his days amongst Cows & Sheep (he scarcely knows one from the other) in a strange Country—where he has not even a friend; I feel for him deeply
There are many persons to whom the services of such a man would be valuable— for his abilities are excellent—& he has the highest testimonials as to character, whilst both his appearance & manner are prepossessing— It has struck me as just possible that you may know of some place to fit him. He has been trying to get into the Constabulary but has not the proper interest to give any hope of success— he tried for the Secretaryship to an Hospital & found that there were Six hundred Candidates!!— An Inspector of Schools he once thought of, but of that there is no chance, from the Government Interest requisite— Could you speak a good word for him in some influential quarter? he would do you no discredit I believe in any way, for he is really a superior & meritorious man?
We have felt a good deal of anxiety about M
My best love to M
Always Sincerely & affectionately Yours | Mary Butler
- f1 3838.f1Dated by the references to Christmas, to Sudbrook Park (see n. 2, below), and to J. P. Thom's difficulties (see n. 6, below).
- f2 3838.f2CD first met Mary Butler at Edward Wickstead Lane's hydropathic establishment at Moor Park, near Farnham, Surrey, in February 1859; they met again in October 1859 while attending Edmund Smith's hydropathic establishment at Ilkley Wells, Otley, Yorkshire (see Correspondence vol. 7), and again in April 1860, when Butler visited Down House for a week (Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242)). In 1862, Lane took over a hydropathic establishment at Sudbrook Park, Petersham, Surrey (Metcalfe 1906, pp. 56--7; Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862). Lady Elizabeth Drysdale was Lane's mother-in-law, and lived with him (Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 184). No letters from Emma Darwin to Butler have been found.
- f3 3838.f3CD made the acquaintance of J. P. Thom in the course of hydropathic treatment at Lane's establishment, and considered him a `very sensible nice young man' (Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. D. Fox, 24 June ).
- f4 3838.f4Robert Bell is reported to have edited the colonial newspaper Home news `with assiduity' (DNB).
- f5 3838.f5Mr Tennant and Mr Smyth have not been identified. Mr Tennant is also mentioned in the letter to Mary Butler, 11 September  (Correspondence vol. 7).
- f6 3838.f6CD's Account book--banking accounts (Down House MS) records payment on 1 January 1863 of £20 under the entry `Mr Thom Present'. See also Correspondence vol. 11, letter from J. P. Thom, 14 January 1863.
- f7 3838.f7Mr Davenport has not been identified. Emma had been encouraging CD to grow a beard (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 4 [July 1862]). The condition referred to by Butler may be eczema, from which CD had begun to suffer earlier in the year (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 [June 1862]).