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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   12 December [1878]1

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

Dec. 12th.

My dear William

I have a curious bit of news to tell you.— A few days ago a Mr Anthony Rich of Heene, Worthing, wrote to me that he with his sister were the last of his Family, & that he had always thought under such circumstances “those shd be remembered, whose abilities &c &c had been devoted &c &c for the benefit of mankind”; with more to the same effect & to my great honour.— Therefore he had bequeathed to me nearly all his property after his & his sister’s death.2 I heard from him again today with particulars. The property is not of a very inviting kind, viz a share of Houses in Cornhill, which brings in annually rather above 1,100£.—3 This will increase each of my sons share at our deaths by nearly 200£ per annum, for I shall of course likewise increase by (I think 3000£) the share to the daughters. This bequest, as you may believe, has astonished & pleased me greatly; though in a money sense it will make no difference whatever to me or your mother. Mr Rich is 74 years old & his sister a year younger.— I never before heard of a bequest to a man for what he has been able to do in Science

my dear old William | Your affectionate Father | Ch. Darwin

My best love to Sara4

P.S. I have had a copy of Mr Rich’s letter made which is gone to Erasmus & George,5 but shall be sent you.—


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Anthony Rich, 7 December 1878.
See letter from Anthony Rich, 10 December 1878. In the most recent codicil to his will, CD had increased the share for each of his children to £14,000 (see letter from W. M. Hacon, 19 March 1878). Cornhill is a street in the City of London.
Sara Darwin was William’s wife.


Writes of Anthony Rich’s bequest.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 151
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11786,” accessed on 20 March 2023,