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Letter 7346

Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, Francis

18 Oct [1870]


Sends a cheque to pay off FD’s debts. Warns him of the dangers of overspending his income and advises him strongly to keep accounts.


The Moat | Tunbridge

Oct 18.

My dear Frank

I enclose cheque for 115£:f2 I expected of course to have to aidyou as you were so much longer than usual at Cambridge, but the above israther more than I expected; & what is worse I do not see how you can holdout for this quarter with only £46.5.0.—f3 But never, for God’s sake,conceal debts from me, & tell me now, whether you owe any more: tellme this & think deliberately when you acknowledge the cheque toDown, where we return on Thursday morning.f4

As you have not kept accounts it is of course impossible for you knowhow you have overspent your income.— Let me urge you to make a point ofconscience (& then I know it will be done, i.e. if I can persuade you thatit is a duty) to keep accounts.— You cannot be sure about paying yourdebts if you do not, nor can you tell how to economise & spend your incometo best advantage. I have never known a man who was too idle to attend to hisaffairs & accounts, who did not get into difficulties; & he who habitually isin money difficulties, very rarely keeps scrupulously honourable, & Godforbid that this shd. ever be your fate.— If you once got into habitof attending to your money, & this implies keeping accounts, you wd.feel it very little trouble. My father,f5 who was the wisest man I everknew, thought it the duty of every man, young & old, to keep an accountof his money; & I very unwillingly obeyed him; for I was not always sobothersome an old fellow as I daresay I appear to you.—

We have been to LeithHill & came here yesterday & have enjoyed ourselves; though mammais not very well to day.This is a wonderfully curious & pretty place.f6

Your affectionate Father | Ch. Darwin

DAR 211: 6



The year is established by the references to the Darwins’ holidayat Leith Hill Place and Ightham Mote (see nn. 4 and 6, below).
CD listed the amount for ‘F[rank]’ under ‘Boys’ in his account book(CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS)).
Francis had been at Trinity College, Cambridge since 1866; hegraduated in 1870 (ODNB), taking third place in first class honoursin the natural science tripos in December(The Times, 19 December 1870, p. 6).
The Darwins returned to Down on Thursday 20 October 1870 (‘Journal’(Appendix II)). No letter from Francis acknowledging the cheque has been found.
Robert Waring Darwin.
The Darwins were staying at Ightham Mote, a moated medieval manorhouse, which is in fact closer to Sevenoaks than to Tunbridge; they had leftDown on 13 October, going first to Leith Hill Place (‘Journal’(Appendix II)).
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