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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Cresy   15 May [1853]

Down Farnborough Kent

May 15th

My dear Sir

I am not a little ashamed of myself for all the trouble I have given you: I write now to confess my sins, & say that in despair I have given up the siphon-plan: and intend only to make an ordinary tank, of no very great diameter with pump.—1 I called at Burgess & Keys & found that the coated Hose was flat & of course wd not do for suction: & that the gutta Percha wd not stand frequent moving. Hence there was nothing left but the Leather & this would have cost me nearly £20,—a sum which I grudged, especially as it, the Leather Hose, it seems, requires care &c.— The only apology I can make for all the trouble I have given, is, that I was bonâ fide in strong earnest, when I wrote to you, on the scheme.

With thanks, pray believe me, my dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


CD recorded the expenses of the construction of a tank and of gutta percha pipes in his Classed account book (Down House MS). Isaac Laslett, the builder in Down village, was paid £32 3s. 7d. on 22 April 1853 and £40 15s. on 4 July. Gutta percha pipes cost CD £1 7s. and £1 15s. on 17 June and 18 August, respectively.


Apologises for the trouble he has given EC. CD has given up the siphon plan and intends to make only an ordinary tank with a pump.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Cresy, Edward
Sent from
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1682,” accessed on 26 March 2017,