To G. H. Darwin [24 March 1868]1
4 Chester Place NW
I have just returned from Grove—2 He takes a dismal view of things; says his own son & two sons-in-law get no business tho’ clever men but admits that all professions are bad.3 As everyone says business depends on connection with attorneys & these will sometimes not employ a junior rather than introduce a new man. Yet he allowed that hard work & good fortune together did pretty often bring forward a man (give him a good position) He thought attending specially to science might possibly help a young barrister, but he was very strong that being a fellow of Trin: wd be much more useful.4 For high positions such as judges he thought having attended to any special branch of practise was actually injurious & that he himself wd. have been a judge many years ago had it been otherwise but this seems to me looking m. too far ahead.5 He maintained that science in the abstract was not in the least valued, & he did not believe that I shd. have any influence in getting my sons such a place as a magistracy or commission. But I hope this is too despondent a view. Men who intend to practise in Chancery almost all enter at Lincoln’s Inn; those who go circuits generally enter at Temple, but he thought there was no objection in the latter case to enter at Lincoln’s Inn; & if you decide for Lincoln’s Inn he offered to enter you.6 Grove said that some degree of dash & quickness was requisite for the circuit & that quiet hard working men could succeed in Chancery & that it was an advantage to avoid the expence & trouble of circuits. I do not know what on earth to advise about the whole question of the law. You must settle for yourself. I suppose you wd. not like to think of entering on business. It is a very bad lookout but you must decide on what appears the least disagreable to yourself. I wish I cd have written a pleasanter letter.
Your affect Father | Ch. Darwin
World is better. Sothern tomorrow.7 Monday Pops most other days this week8
CD relays the advice of Sir W. R. Grove on the dismal prospects of a law career.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6044,” accessed on 24 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6044