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Letter 7400

Darwin, C. R. to Sulivan, B. J.

20 Dec [1870]


Thanks BJS for his congratulations [on Leonard Darwin’s success].

CD is “as usual, always ailing and grumbling”.

Expects his new book [Descent] to “disgust you & many others”.


Down | Beckenham | Kent S.E.

Dec. 20th

My dear Sulivan

I thank you cordially for your very kind letter of congratulation &for your interesting news.f2 All my sons are an infinite satisfaction& none of them have ever given me an hour’s uneasiness.— Mythird son has just passed his examination at Cambridge for NaturalSciences, but he was unfortunate & tells me that he has done very badly& will be very low.—f3 I had not heard of Lieut Musters’s surprising Journey:no doubt I shall see some account in Journal of Geograph. Socy.f4 As formyself I keep much as usual, always ailing & grumbling, but able to do somehours work daily. I have lately been working rather too hard in theintolerably tedious labour of correcting the proofs & making uncouthEnglish rather less uncouth for my new book on man, which will disgustyou & many others.—f5 It is now nearly done, otherwise it wd. havedone for me; for my strength is at a very low ebb.—

It is enough to make one boil over with indignation to hear of thenegligence & indifference of the Admiralty in sending your son tothe coast of Africa.—f6 If you go to Southampton again, do call onmy son William: :f7 he said he intended to call on you, if he went tosee the Langtons at Bournemth.f8

We are all fairly well. With kind remembrances to Lady Sulivan.f9 Ever |My dear Sulivan | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Sulivan family (private collection)



The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe letter from B. J. Sulivan, 17 December 1870.
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 17 December 1870.
Francis Darwin took third place in first class honours in the natural sciencestripos at Cambridge University in 1870 (The Times, 19 December 1870,p. 6).
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 17 December 1870 and n. 5. CD refersto George Chaworth Musters. His paper was not published in theJournal of the Royal Geographical Society.
CD refers to Descent.
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 17 December 1870. CD refers toThomas Edward Sulivan.
William Erasmus Darwin was a banker in Southampton.
CD refers to Charles, Edmund, and Emily Caroline Langton.
Sophia Sulivan.
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