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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. M. Hacon   16 April [1874]1

Ap 16th

Private  Hacon

My dear Sir.

My son Francis will be married in July to a Miss Ruck2 & as I am very ignorant about business affairs I much wish for your advice—what I ought to settle on Miss R. In order that you may advise me, I must state that judging from a careful estimation of my property each of my son will on the death of myself & wife, receive from 30 to 32 thousand pounds.

I think that all my property is shares only but it may fall in value   I have no idea whether Mr & Mrs Ruck can settle anything on her.3 They are not poor, but I have always heard that Mr R. holds his land on an extraordinary will, & that if he dies before his brother4 his children will inherit none.— Mrs R. land I believe is all entailed on the eldest son.5 So that they may be able to settle hardly anything on their daughter; but I hope may make some allowance this ought, I presume to make no difference on what I ought to settle on Miss Ruck.

I can see that it wd be rash to settle too large a sum on Miss R. in case of her death & having one or two children & my son marrying again. And in case my son shd die, it wd be unfair on my other children if too large a sum had been settled on his widow.— Now will you be so kind as to reflect over these circumstances & give me your advice.—

I hear it is usual for the solicitor of the Lady to draw up the settlement.— I have written to Mr Ruck to ask for name of his solicitor, & have told him, that as soon as he has given his intructions I wd ask you to communicate with his solicitor, & arrange about the affair.6

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. D

P. S I am much obliged for your note about the Land7


The year is established by the reference to Francis Darwin’s marriage to Amy Ruck (see n. 2, below).
Francis married Amy on 23 July 1874 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Amy’s parents were Lawrence and Mary Anne Ruck.
Lawrence Ruck’s only surviving brother was Adam Joseph Ruck.
The Rucks’ eldest son was Arthur Ashley Ruck.
CD’s letter to Lawrence Ruck has not been found.
The note from Hacon has not been found; see, however, the letter to John Lubbock, 3 April 1874.


CD’s son Francis is to be married, so CD is seeking advice as to how much he should arrange as a marriage-settlement.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Mackmurdo Hacon
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 97: C50–1
Physical description
AdraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9415,” accessed on 25 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22