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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   4 February 1878

4 Feb 78

Dear Charles

I send you Georges Tithes as well as your own.1

Effie in speaking of the enchanted slate said “now I know Uncle Charles would rather believe he did it himself in a dream than that it was done by the spirits” & that seems the best solution at present.2

Your EAD


An entry for ‘Tithe Rent Charge’, dated 6 February 1878, in CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS) records a cheque for £4 12s. 10d. The payment was for tithes for CD’s property at Castle Morton, Worcestershire. CD and each of his five siblings had inherited one sixth of a ‘Castle Morton trust’ from their father, Robert Waring Darwin, in 1837. The trust was evidently related to a property of their grandfather Josiah Wedgwood I in the parish of Castle Morton (Robert Waring Darwin’s Investment book, Down House MS). After the death of CD’s sister Catherine Langton in 1866, her share was inherited by CD’s son George Howard Darwin (letter from E. A. Darwin, 8 July [1880] (Calendar no. 12648)).
Effie (Katherine Euphemia) Farrer was CD’s niece; she shared the interest of her father, Hensleigh Wedgwood, in spiritualism and later joined the Theosophical Society (Wedgwood and Wedgwood 1980, pp. 324–5). The ‘enchanted slate’ refers to the alleged communication of spirits by writing on slate tablets; for a famous case of fraud with slate tablets, see Correspondence vol. 24, letter from G. J. Romanes, [after 23 September 1876].


Calendar: A calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821–1882. With supplement. 2d edition. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Wedgwood, Barbara and Wedgwood, Hensleigh. 1980. The Wedgwood circle, 1730–1897: four generations of a family and their friends. London: Studio Vista.


Sends CD’s and George’s tithes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B103
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11346,” accessed on 8 March 2021,