skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. H. Tindal   29 December 1879

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

December 29th. 1879

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for sending me the M.S. & for all the great trouble which you have taken. I have read the M.S with much interest, as it shows that many of Dr. Ds views were formed 20 years before they were published in the Zoonomia.1

I have had the last letter copied, which shd. there be a 2d. Edit. of my little book, I shd. probably like to publish,—that is if you will grant permission.2 But in [this case] I ought to preface it with a few remarks on the correspondence. Will you therefore add to your kindness by giving me [illeg] information on [2 or 3 words illeg] Mr Gifford & my grandfather [5 or 6 words illeg] Clive?3 Was Mr Gifford a clergyman & is Duffield near Derby?

The M.S. registered shall be posted this day.

Pray believe me Dear Sir | Yours faithfully & obliged | Charles Darwin


See letter to C. H. Tindal, 17 November 1879. The manuscript has not been found. Dr D: Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802). On the development of Erasmus Darwin’s ideas on evolution before the publication of Zoonomia (E. Darwin 1794–6), see King-Hele 1999, pp. 87–9, 297–301.
No new edition of Erasmus Darwin was published in CD’s lifetime. The letter that CD had copied was probably DAR 227.7: 14. It reads: ‘young Dr Darwin & his Brother are just arrived. I propose going with them to Shrewsbury tomorrow, where the young Doctor is going to see if Dr Owens death will make a vacancy for him— He is a very clever worthy young man, & I should have great pleasure in being of any service to him.—’ ‘Young Dr Darwin’ was CD’s father, Robert Waring Darwin (1766–1848); Robert’s brother was Erasmus Darwin (1759–99). Dr Owen: Pryce Owen. According to an annotation, the paragraph was a postscript to a letter from Robert Clive to Richard Gifford.
Richard Gifford, vicar of Duffield, near Derby, and Robert Clive, archdeacon of Shropshire. Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) was CD’s grandfather.


Darwin, Erasmus. 1794–6. Zoonomia; or, the laws of organic life. 2 vols. London: J. Johnson.

King-Hele, Desmond. 1999. Erasmus Darwin. A life of unequalled achievement. London: Giles de la Mare Publishers.


Thanks for MS as it shows many of Erasmus Darwin’s ideas were formed 20 years before he published Zoonomia. Would like to publish last letter if there is a second edition of his little book. MS will be returned registered post.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Harrison Tindal
Sent from
Source of text
Bonhams, New York (dealers) (19 October 2009)
Physical description
ALS inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12375F,” accessed on 19 April 2024,