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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   29 December 1878

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

Dec. 29th 1878

My dear Huxley

Your letter surprised me almost as much as Mr Rich’s first one; & part of it gave us all a real good laugh.1 I thank you most heartily for writing & so kindly, for we were dying with curiosity to know what sort of man Mr Rich was. We inferred rightly from the very nice & delicate letters which he wrote, that he was a thorough gentleman, & that was all which we could make out.— It seems a great shame that he should leave his fortune to me, who am well provided; but I told him in my first letter that I was what might be called a rich man, & that the knowledge of this might alter his intention, but it has not done so: I told him, however, that I had 5 sons & that two of them were too great invalids ever to gain any income, so that I was very glad of an addition to my fortune.—2 I have offered to go to an inn at Worthing in the spring with my wife, & thus see him, for he told me in answer to an invitation that he could not come here.3

Altogether it is an extraordinary affair, but as he consulted so good & true a friend as you have ever been to me, it does seem quite so strange as it appeared at first.— It has pleased me greatly in many ways & especially on my childrens account, for it is improbable that I myself should ever receive his property.4

My dear old friend | Ever yours | Charles Darwin


CD died on 19 April 1882; Rich died on 4 April 1891. Rich’s bequest went to CD’s heirs (Freeman 1978).


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


About Anthony Rich, who has decided to leave his fortune to CD [and later also to make a bequest to THH]. CD’s account of what he wrote to Rich.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 329)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11809,” accessed on 5 March 2021,