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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley   28 December 1878

Dec. 28th 1878

My dear Darwin

I have just been paying a visit to one of those solid admirers of yours of whom I wish there were more in the world—and you may like to know what manner of man he is— I am talking of Mr Rich of Hene who wrote to me some two or three months ago, telling me what he meant to do and making divers inquiries about you and your belongings—1

So I gave him the information he wanted and, if you will believe it, abstained from pointing out that there was another person to whose merits & deserts he appeared to be shamefully insensible!2

Our little correspondence ended in a promise on my part to go & see Mr Rich— In fact there was something about his letters I liked and my curiosity was greatly excited to see the man who had strayed so eccentrically into the paths of wisdom—

Well he is an alert, bright-eyed little man with a long beard & croaky voice—very frank & straightforward and with a sort of abrupt courtesy & kindness, that’s rather taking

He has built himself a bachelor house with all comforts and good store of books Here he lives alone & sometimes speaks to nobody but his servants for a week. Never goes out anywhere by reason of an inconvenient ailment   However as his family appear to have made a point of all living to 80 or 90 your reversion may be distant—3

He seems to have had a loose-ended sort of life—spending many years in Italy & studying art4—and he is about as pronounced a heretic, theologically morally & politically as I have met with—which you will allow is saying a good deal for him   But the man is a gentleman in the best sense of the word and pleasant for an heir to think of—

Don’t trouble to answer this which is mere gossip with an addendum of best wishes to you & yours for the New Year

Ever | Yours very truly | T H Huxley

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘6’ pencil circled pencil


Anthony Rich, whose home was at Chappell Croft, Heene, Worthing, had bequeathed properties he owned in London to CD, in recognition of his contribution to science (see letters from Anthony Rich, 7 December 1878 and 10 December 1878).
In the event, Rich did bequeath his house and library in Worthing to Huxley (see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 2: 286–7).
Rich died on 4 April 1891 at the age of 87, having outlived CD by nine years; his London property went to CD’s heirs (Alum. Cantab., Freeman 1978).
Rich had lived in Italy from 1842 to 1849 (Alum. Cantab.).


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Describes Anthony Rich, whom he has visited.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.12: 8
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11808,” accessed on 5 March 2021,