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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [14 June? 1877]1

Dear Father,

You will find one of these letters opened. I opened it to see what he had to say about the specimen & have thanked him for it & said you had no collection.2 I hope things are prosperous & you are having a good rest.3

Please tell mother I have read the letters to Aunt Eliz, she seemed more indignant than worried I think. I shall come up on Thursday perhaps but my bassoon man hasn’t written—4

My love to every body | yr affec son | F. Darwin

There is something abt scrofula in the newspaper5

Bernard very jolly & two teeth really through


The date is conjectured from the content of the letter. Bernard Darwin’s fifth tooth was ‘nearly through’ on 23 July 1877 (F. Darwin 1920b, p. 6), so this letter must have been written a month or two earlier, from the reference to Bernard’s first two teeth. CD and Emma Darwin were away from home from 8 June until 4 July, visiting first Caroline Sarah and Josiah Wedgwood at Leith Hill Place in Surrey, then moving on to visit William Erasmus Darwin in Southampton on 13 June (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). Francis evidently stayed in Down for the first part of their absence (see letter from Francis Darwin, 11 June 1877). A report of an inquest on a death from starvation and scrofulous disease appeared in The Times, 14 June 1877, p. 13. In 1877, 14 June was a Thursday; apparently Francis did go to Southampton on or around the following Thursday (21 June), as he wrote from Southampton on CD’s behalf to P. P. C. Hoek in a letter of [c. 24 June 1877].
The letter and Francis’s reply have not been found.
See n. 1, above.
See n. 1, above, for Francis’s visit to Southampton. Elizabeth Wedgwood, Emma’s sister, lived in Down. The letters to her have not been found. Francis played the bassoon. His ‘bassoon man’ was William Henry Stone, a physician at St Thomas’s Hospital, London (letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [3] February 1877 (DAR 219.9: 144)).
See n. 1, above. For CD’s interest in scrofula, see the letter to Agricultural Gazette, 22 March 1877.


Forwards letters.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10762F,” accessed on 24 September 2023,