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Letter 6047

Darwin, G. H. to Darwin, C. R.

[27] Mar [1868]

    Summary Add

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    Discusses law versus engineering and business as a career.

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    Supposes ARW will have "squashed" GHD's criticisms of his notes on sterility.


Trin. Coll. <    >

Friday Mar. <27>

My dear Father,

Grove's account <of the> bar does seem rather dis<mal.> But I think that if he thought science might be a good thing for a young barrister it is somewhat encouraging and that it would not lead to any of the great prizes seems almost of no consequence. I don't think I should like to take to business, for I should prefer as far as I can see to be a poorer man & try & do something with my head than to go in for the monotonous grind of business. In comparing the bar with Civil Engineering it is <    > worth considering that <one> does get some holidays. <Al>so if business will not come <the> bar is generally a better place <for> a fresh start than Engineering <is>. But then again I suppose <one> is rather more likely to make money at Engineering than the other. On the whole I think I still incline to the bar but I don't think I will absolutely settle until I can have one more talk over it with you; I shall be leaving here early next week. I suppose you leave London about that time.

I can't imagine what Wallace can want that problem done for.— He will find something about it in Thomson & Tait art. 649  it is excessively difficult. I have worked out an easier case approximately—when the plate is square & only bends in one direction—but I can't think it will be much good to him— I thought perhaps he put it as a round plate thinking to make it easier. I send it by post to you. Has Wallace seen my ``Sterility''. I suppose if he has he has squashed it awfully.— I have just finished the animiles???? & am going to read Pan again.

I have been leading a very dissipated life lately—concerts & dinners etc. I dined at Mortlock's the banker's on Sunday— there were only Mrs. M. & two dons there.

Swettenham came up last night to finish keeping his term. My new prize Macaulay looks very gorgeous on my shelf— my other one isn't done yet. I managed to cut open my eyebrow yesterday at tennis— I was hitting a ball with my whole strength against a wall & the raquet flew out my hand & bounded off the wall & hit me just above the eye— however the only effect is that my beauty is adorned with strips of plaster.

Your affectionate Son G. H. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 6047.f1
    The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to G. H. Darwin, [24 March 1868]. The Friday after 24 March 1868 was 27 March.
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    f2 6047.f2
    CD had visited William Robert Grove to discuss the possibility of George's studying for a career in the law. In a letter to George of [24 March 1868], CD reported Grove's `dismal view of things'.
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    f3 6047.f3
    George had earlier sought advice from Edward Cresy on a career in engineering (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to Edward Cresy, 7 September [1865] and n. 2).
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    f4 6047.f4
    In his letter of 19 March 1868, Alfred Russel Wallace had asked whether George could help solve a problem in mathematical physics. The problem, which was enclosed on a separate sheet, has not been found. George refers to Thomson and Tait 1867, pp. 496--7, where the authors give complex equations for determining flexural and shearing stresses on a circular plate.
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    f5 6047.f5
    The calculation of the problem has not been found.
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    f6 6047.f6
    The reference is to the enclosure to the letter to A. R. Wallace, [21 March 1868]. George had written a critique of Wallace's argument that hybrid sterility could result from natural selection. For Wallace's reply to George's comments, see the letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 March [1868].
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    f7 6047.f7
    George evidently refers to Variation and to the chapter on pangenesis (Variation 2: 357--404).
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    f8 6047.f8
    George refers to Edmund John Mortlock and Mary Jane Mortlock. The two dons have not been identified.
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    f9 6047.f9
    Richard Paul Agar Swettenham.
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    f10 6047.f10
    George had been awarded a book prize worth £10 by Trinity College for being the Trinity scholar with the highest standing in the mathematical tripos (Cambridge University calendar 1868, p. 399). He evidently chose a work by Thomas Babington Macaulay, as well as another book, which has not been identified.
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    f11 6047.f11
    The reference is to real tennis, which is played in an enclosed court with walls.
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