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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [15? December 1875]1

Basset, | Southampton.


My dear Father,

I was thinking of adding £10 to your £10 & sending it to the Index and take one share in my name.2

It may be useless as far as propping up the Index, but if a fair number do the same it will keep it going longer.

If you think it mere waste of money judging from Abbotts letter I shall not send £10 & will return you your cheque.3

Please send me an Autograph.

Tell Leonard I went to look up Airy yesterday and found he was already gone.4

I had a pleasant day at Embley & met Frank’s friend Norman Moore5

Your affect: Son | W. E. Darwin

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Erasmus— | Malta’ pencil


The month and year are established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Darwin to F. E. Abbot, 20 December 1875; the day was probably the previous Wednesday, which was 15 December 1875.
The Index was an American periodical that was associated with the Free Religious Association and was critical of traditional Christianity (Ahlstrom and Mullin 1987, p. 60).
Francis Ellingwood Abbot was the editor of the Index. His letter has not been found. There is no record in CD’s account books of any sum being paid to either William or Abbot around this time, but CD evidently agreed to make a donation (see letter from W. E. Darwin to F. E. Abbot, 20 December 1875).
Leonard Darwin was serving with the Royal Engineers in Malta (see letter to C. E. Norton, 7 October 1875 and n. 6). George Biddell Airy was the astronomer royal, who had coordinated the British expedition to observe the transit of Venus in 1874 on which Leonard had served (see Correspondence vol. 22, letter from W. H. M. Christie, 12 October 1874 and n. 1); it is not clear why William had gone to see him.
Francis Darwin and Norman Moore had become friends when they were undergraduates at Cambridge University; Moore had visited Francis at Down in 1873 (Correspondence vol. 21, letter from Francis Darwin, [1–15 March 1873] and n. 4). Embley Park, about five miles north-west of Southampton, was the home of William Shore Nightingale. William had first visited Embley in 1861, shortly after he had become a banker in Southampton (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to W. E. Darwin, 17 [October 1861]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Asks CD whether it is worth sending money to prop up the Index.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Basset, Southampton
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 56)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10297F,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23