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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   [13 June 1871]1

New University Club | St. James’s St.

Tuesd. | 11. PM

Dear Father,

The Test’s bill has unexpectedly got thro’ the Lords tonight2 & will get the Royal Consent on Thursd. just in time to save me all bother on the subjt as the end on the term is Tuesday.—3 It wouldn’t have been in time unless it had passed the Lords before 7 tonight & it only got thro’ at about 6.30 & is now on its way to Scotland in the Limited Mail.4 All is well that ends well

Yours affectionately | G H Darwin

Received line about my Shirt & hat.5


The date is established by the reference to the Universities Tests Act (see n. 2, below). The Tuesday before 16 June 1871 was 13 June.
The reference is to the Universities Tests Bill, which was passed by the House of Lords on 13 June 1871 (The Times, 14 June 1871, p. 9) and received Royal Assent on Friday 16 June 1871 (Universities Tests Act 1871 (Vict. 34, c. 26)). The act abolished all declarations and oaths respecting religious belief for those taking lay academic degrees or holding lay academic office in the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham. Membership in the Church of England had formerly been a prerequisite for holding any university or college office (EB).
George refers to the adjournment of Parliament for the summer recess.
Queen Victoria went to Balmoral on 17 May 1871 for about five weeks (The Times, 17 May 1871, p. 9). Royal assent to the Bill was given ‘by commission’ at the House of Lords on 16 June 1871 (The Times, 17 June 1871, p. 9). The ‘limited mail’ was a mail train that carried a limited number of passengers (OED).
The letter to George has not been found.


Reports the passing of [Universities Tests] Bill and the consequent end to a bother.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
New University Club
Source of text
DAR 210.2: 20
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7818,” accessed on 18 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19