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Darwin Correspondence Project


To Dear Friend1   1 January 1822

January 1st. 1822

My Dear friend

I think it is a most abominable thing, the minute Erasmus went out of the room, they began abusing him for being out of temper, you must know that he is not well, and that he hath got the rheumatism, and very pale, and particularly Maryan1   of couse you know how peevish Maryane is when she is unwell2   but just the reverse I think Erasmus very good humered   to day he came back from enquiring about his ticket, on purpose, because he thought I should like it, the reason was because he was going to draw for Cam bell Bible,3 and I must now conclude

so therefore your

Note this day I received this ye cabinet4


CD refers to his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, his sister Marianne Darwin, and probably to one or more of his other sisters, Caroline Sarah Darwin, Susan Elizabeth Darwin, and Emily Catherine Darwin. According to CD’s later reminiscences, Erasmus suffered ill health from childhood (Autobiography, p. 42).
The words ‘a big lie’ are interlined at this point in a different hand.
The reference is probably to an edition of the English translation of the New Testament by George Campbell (G. Campbell trans. 1789; G. Campbell et al. trans. 1818).
The words ‘Note … cabinet’ are written between the first and second entries in the ‘Memorandum book’ and are separated from them by faint lines. This suggests that CD kept the memorandum book in a new box, possibly the same cabinet in which he later kept mineral samples (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from E. A. Darwin, 14 November 1822).

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Dear Friend
Source of text
Ursula Mommens, Memorandum book, Darwin Archive, CUL
Physical description


Erasmus Alvey Darwin has rheumatism; his sisters complain of his bad temper but CD thinks him very good tempered. CD has received a new cabinet. [This is the first of six entries written in a "Memorandum book" comprising four sheets folded into a gather and sewn together in book form. The entries are in the style of letters addressed to an unnamed friend and are dated between 1 and 12 January 1822, shortly before CD’s thirteenth birthday. As they were written straight into the memorandum book, it is clear that they were never sent through the post, but were either to an imaginary recipient, or intended to be read by someone in the household, possibly CD’s youngest sister, Emily Catherine Darwin (Catherine).]

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1F,” accessed on 13 February 2016,