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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. F. Lubbock   [before 7 April 1873]1

Dear Mr. Darwin

I have been thinking much of what we spoke of: and it occurs to me that if John either has not time, or does not feel sufficiently intimate with our friend to propose anything, Mr. Hirst would do it gently, & with delicate tact. Or Mr. Spottiswoode: but I think Mr. Hirst is a nearer friend.2

Of course, I can answer for John in other ways, & will see that he writes to you tomorrow: but I do think that when it is suggested, it ought to be quietly placed before our friend that not only for his own sake, or for that of his family, but for the sake of Science, he should be above the pride which might lead him to reject what we should feel it a privilege to offer.

With thanks to you for coming, I am yrs. most truly EFL

CD annotations

Top of fourth page: ‘Spottiswoode 51 or 52 Grosvenor Pl’3


The date is established by the allusion to the subscription for Thomas Henry Huxley (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
John Lubbock, head of the bank Robarts, Lubbock & Co., William Spottiswoode, and Thomas Archer Hirst were friends of Thomas Henry Huxley. Huxley had recently been sued by a neighbour and owed a large sum in contractor’s bills. A number of Huxley’s friends were hoping to raise a subscription to relieve his financial worries (for more on the circumstances surrounding the subscription, see A. Desmond 1994–7, 2: 44–8).
Spottiswoode’s address was 50 Grosvenor Place (Post Office London directory 1872). CD evidently visited him in connection with the subscription plan on 7 April 1873 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 April 1873], and letter to William Spottiswoode, [8 April 1873]).


Is trying to persuade "our friend" [T. H. Huxley?] to accept a gift.

Letter details

Letter no.
Ellen Frances Lubbock
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 170: 17
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8833,” accessed on 17 March 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21