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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Reginald Darwin   27 March 1879

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

March 27th 1879

Dear Cousin

A German has published a sketch of the life of our grandfather, which my Brother & self intend to have translated, & I mean to add a preface about his character &c &c; but my chief object is to contradict flatly some calumnies by Miss Seward.1 Now if you possess any documents about him or letters written by him, & would be so very kind as to lend them to me for a time (they shd. be returned registered) they might prove very useful, though judging from letters in my possession I fear that few would be worth publishing.—

It is very many years since we met, & I hope that you retain your health & strength.2

I am growing a very old man, but keep as yet my mental faculties tolerably clear.—

Pray believe me | Dear Cousin | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P. S | Did you ever happen to hear whether Dr. D reached his son Charles in Edinburg in time to see him die?3


CD and Erasmus Alvey Darwin were arranging a translation of Ernst Krause’s sketch of the life of Erasmus Darwin (Krause 1879a; see letter to Ernst Krause, 9 March 1879, and letter from Ernst Krause, 12 March 1879). Anna Seward had published a biography of Erasmus Darwin in 1804 (Seward 1804).
Erasmus Darwin’s eldest son, Charles, was a nineteen-year-old medical student at Edinburgh when he died from the effects of a wound received while dissecting (see Erasmus Darwin, p. 80).


Krause, Ernst. 1879a. Erasmus Darwin, der Großvater und Vorkämpfer Charles Darwin’s: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Descendenz-Theorie. Kosmos 4 (1878–9): 397–424.

Seward, Anna. 1804. Memoirs of the life of Dr. Darwin. London: J. Johnson.


Announces his intention to translate and preface [E. Krause’s] sketch of Dr Erasmus Darwin’s life. Asks whether RD has any documents concerning Dr Darwin or letters by him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Reginald Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Forum Auctions (dealers) (28 March 2019, lot 173)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11957,” accessed on 23 May 2022,