From J. W. Salter 14 May 1867
8 Bolton Road | St Johns Wood.
Dear Mr Darwin
You bade me apply to you if I wanted help. And this generosity has prevented me till I have tried every other means—1 Those who should have aided me for kin’s sake would do nothing when I left the Survey—except old Mr Sowerby and he could not.2 I can borrow no money— I cannot sell my English Botany nor carry it on—& serious & frequent illness prevents me doing half that I ought, even in my precarious occupation.3 And not one of my monied friends but are themselves in difficulties four men who would gladly aid me—and who had thousands, are now borrowing money.— And now I have my family engaged in schoolkeeping—my house partly let, & retrenchment in every sort— I am still heavily in debt, & have no means of getting out of it.4
I know not what I can do for you in return for any aid, unless your library wants the English Botany.— it is the only thing in my power. Pray let me send it you if you have it not.5
I dont think I should have written now, had not a dear sister, as poor as myself, been in the last stage of illness—6 I shall probably have to follow her to the grave directly—& you know what all this involves.
Aid me, if you can, & command me in any way in return.
I am, Dear Sir | Yours gratefully | J W Salter
C. Darwin Esqr.
Having tried all other sources for aid, JWS is forced to turn to CD’s generosity. His financial position is bad; frequent and serious illness prevents him from working properly.