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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   13 July [1876]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Jy 13th

My dear George

One line to say how I, & indeed all of us, rejoice that Adams thinks well of your work, & that if all goes well will present your papers to Royal Soc.—2 I know that I shall feel quite proud— I do hope & fully believe that in a few days you will be up to work again.— Dr. Clark was very nice, when here, & enquired much about you.— He gave William the very devil of an examination, & made him perform wonderful gymnastics so as to prove his brain sound.—3 He & Bessy start in a few minutes for Tunbridge Wells, there to stay till Saturday.4 Jemmy goes on Monday to lecture on his Dynam: at Birmingham.5

Frank is getting on very well with Dipsacus, & has now made experiments which convince me that the matter which comes out of the glands is real live protoplasm, about which I was beginning to feel horrid doubts.—6

Oh Lord what a set of sons I have, all doing wonders.

Ever your affect | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from G. H. Darwin, 1 June 1876.
John Couch Adams had read George’s paper on the effect of geological changes on the earth’s axis (G. H. Darwin 1876b) and had evidently also given a favourable report on George’s work on the obliquity of planets to their orbits (G. H. Darwin 1877; see letter from G. H. Darwin, 1 June 1876 and nn. 2 and 5). Adams communicated the former paper to the Royal Society of London on 13 October 1876 (G. H. Darwin 1876b, p. 271). The latter paper was published in the Philosophical Magazine.
Andrew Clark, one of the Darwin family doctors, had visited on 8 July 1876 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). George suffered from periodic bouts of illness similar to CD’s own stomach complaints and was sometimes unable to work as a result. William Erasmus Darwin was recovering from concussion suffered when he had a riding accident in May (see letter to Andrew Clark, [late June 1876] and n. 3).
William and his sister Elizabeth Darwin stayed at Tunbridge Wells for a week, after which they travelled to Leicester and eventually to Scotland, returning to Down on 31 August 1876 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Horace Darwin (Jemmy was his nickname) had designed a dead-weight rotary dynamometer, which he described at a meeting of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Birmingham on 18 July 1876. His description and figure of the dynamometer was published in the institution’s Proceedings (H. Darwin 1876).
Francis Darwin had discovered protoplasmic filaments in glands lining the cups of Dipsacus sylvestris (a synonym of D. fullonum, common teasel; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 21 June [1876] and n. 7).


Darwin, George Howard. 1877. On a suggested explanation of the obliquity of planets to their orbits. Philosophical Magazine 5th ser. 3: 188–92.

Darwin, Horace. 1876. [Description of a dead-weight rotary dynamometer.] Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings (1876): 231–4.


All rejoice that J. C. Adams thinks well of GHD’s work and will present his paper to the Royal Society.

Gives news of his other sons.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 56
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10561,” accessed on 28 May 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24