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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   9 January 1879

Bank, Southampton,

Jany 9 1879

My Dear Father.

£27.434. Consol. 4 percent L.N.W. Ry guaranteed stock at 102 1 2 worth


£6516. ordinary stock at 140 1 2 worth




£37274.16.1 present value

cost 23.592.  .

£13,662.16.1 Gain

This is a fine increase in value and must make you feel proud.1

In these days consols are considered a far readier security than New 3 percents for Bankers to hold—. Do you mind my selling the £4000 New 3s. I hold and buy £4000 Consols, I will send you the 3 months interest to make it straight.2

Things are all quite quiet & comfortable down here and the only possible danger of a run for us would be if one or two local Banks went to the dogs which is very unlikely.3

I was very glad to see that the Emperor of Prussia had confirmed your appointment to the Academy, though it shows what an autocratic country it is.4 We expect Sara5 tonight, not quite frozen I hope.

We have 3 inches of snow at Bassett.

It is Capital Horace being revived.6

Your affect son | W. E. Darwin


In February 1879, CD converted his Lancaster and Carlisle Railway stock, bought in 1850, into London and North Western Railway stock (CD’s Investment book (Down House MS), pp. 49, 130, 146).
In CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS), there is an entry under ‘Bank Received’ on 4 July 1879, ‘Consols account of W. E. Darwin’, £58 15s. Consols: consolidated annuities, consisting of several issues of stock, consolidated into one (Cordingley 1901).
On the banking crisis that took place in the last quarter of 1878, beginning with the failure of the City of Glasgow Bank, see M. Collins 1989.
CD was informed of his election as foreign member of the Königliche Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences), subject to confirmation by the emperor, in November 1878 (Correspondence vol. 26, letter from Emil du Bois-Reymond, 7 November 1878). The Times, 7 January 1879, reported that the German emperor had confirmed the appointments of CD and of Richard Owen. The emperor of Germany was Wilhelm I.
Sara Darwin was William’s wife.
Horace Darwin had been unwell but was improving (letters from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [6 January 1879] and [12 January 1879] (DAR 219.9: 188, 189)).


Collins, Michael. 1989. The banking crisis of 1878. Economic History Review 2d ser. 42: 504–27.

Cordingley, William George. 1901. Cordingley’s dictionary of stock exchange terms. London: Effingham Wilson.


Sends figures on increase in value of North Western Railway stocks. Says consol stock considered much more secure for bankers. Does not think his own bank is in danger of a run. Is glad to see the Emperor of Prussia has confirmed CD’s appointment to Academy. Is snowing at Bassett.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Bank, Southampton
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 70)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11823F,” accessed on 1 April 2023,