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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to M. C. Stanley   12 November [1879]1

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

Tuesday | Nov 12

My dear Lady Derby

My eldest son has received the accompanying papers from Mr Olmstead (so distinguished for his services in the American war).2 He is very anxious to obtain some influential signatures to the petitions & Mr Darwin sends it to you in hopes that Lord Derby may be inclined to give his.3 I enclose an envelope to return it.

My husband sends by this post a short notice of his grandfather Dr E. Darwin which he has just published.4 He would be much pleased if it interested you in any degree—

Believe me | my dear Lady Derby | very truly yours | Emma Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Erasmus Darwin.
William Erasmus Darwin had sent two petitions from Frederick Law Olmsted on the preservation of Niagara falls (see letter from W. E. Darwin, [9 November 1879] and enclosure). Olmsted had served as head of the US Sanitary Commission during the American Civil War and had created a relief system to distribute medicine and clothing to the Union army (ANB). CD and Emma had also been impressed by Olmsted’s writing on the southern states of the US before the abolition of slavery (see, for example, Olmsted 1860, Correspondence vol. 9, letter to Asa Gray, 21 July [1861] and n. 13, and Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Emma Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 26 December [1863]).
Edward Henry Stanley. A note attached to this letter reads: ‘Darwin. Mrs. Nov. 13/79. (To L’y. D.) Ansd. that I never sign memorials to a public office: but entirely sympathise & will help if desired by asking a qn. in the Lds if the thing is not done.’ Stanley’s letter to Emma Darwin, 13 November 1879, is in the Library of Congress, Frederick Law Olmsted Papers: Subject File, 1857–1952; Parks; Niagara, N.Y.; 1877–1879; mss 35121, box 40; reel 36.
Lord Derby appears on the presentation list for Erasmus Darwin (Appendix IV).


Olmsted, Frederick Law. 1860. A journey in the back country in the winter of 1853–4. London: Sampson, Low, Son & Co.


ED asks MCS (Lady Derby) if Lord Derby would consider signing petitions from Mr Olmsted.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12314F,” accessed on 2 October 2023,