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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Leonard Darwin   11 September [1876]1

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

Sept. 11th

My dear son Leonard.

I have dreadful news to tell you. You will have heard of Amy’s safe confinement.2 Everything went on well for about 48 hours & then she was seized with convulsion. These lasted for about 18 hours, accompanied by other very bad symptoms. Yesterday afternoon the Doctors thought her sinking, but to everyone’s surprise she lasted till this morning & I saw her expire at about 14 to seven o clock this morning. She was quite unconscious all the time & never suffered pain or knew, thank God, that she was leaving for ever her husband. But this is miserably poor consolation.

I know how much you were attached to her & how strong a friendship she had for you.—3 I think she was the most gentle & sweet creature I ever knew. God knows what will become of Frank— his life will be a mere wreck. He seemed quite bewildered & dazed yesterday. Your mother keeps up her strength pretty well & has just gone over to see about the Baby.

Poor Bessy4 is quite overwhelmed by the dreadful blow.

My dear Son | Your affectionate Father | Charles Darwin

It is just decided that she shall be buried in Wales, for which I am sorry.—5


The year is established by the reference to the death of Amy Darwin, Francis Darwin’s wife, who died in 1876 (ODNB s.v. Darwin, Francis).
Amy and Francis Darwin’s son, Bernard Darwin, was born on 7 September 1876 (ODNB).
CD’s sons and Amy’s brothers had met at Clapham Grammar School (B. Darwin 1955, p. 53).
Elizabeth Darwin.
Amy was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Corris, near Machynlleth, about five miles from her family’s home, Pantlludw.


Darwin, Bernard. 1955. The world that Fred made: an autobiography. London: Chatto & Windus.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Informs LD of the death of Francis Darwin’s wife, Amy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Leonard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 211: 92
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10596,” accessed on 27 May 2022,

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