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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   1 January [1881]1

Bank, Southampton,

Jan 1 1880

My dear Father,

It is a nuisance to have these bonds paid off; the simplest way is to sell them as the Manager proposes.

$10,000 = £20402

why not buy $10,000 Pennsylvania General Mortgage payable 1910 price is 127—therefore $10,000 will cost £2540 or $8000 will cost £2035 or, and will pay 434 per cent.3

Or Massachusetts state loan 5 per cent payable in gold as follows

1891—at 109

1895 at 111

1900 at 114

are perfectly safe, if they can be bought.

Metropolitan 312 per cent Stock4 is at 10512 and will only pay 314 percent.

or Baltimore & Ohio 6 per cent Mortgage payble. 1910 at 121 is I believe quite safe.

Your affect son | W. E. Darwin

P.S. Southampton Dock5

Debenture 412 per cent

Stock is at 110

The liabilities of the company are as follows.

£82 300 Mortgage Debes.

£217.700 412 per cent Deb: Stock

£1,165,625 ordinary & prefce Stock

so that the Deb: Stock should be quite safe

CD annotations

Verso of 3d page: ‘3 [circled pencil] First Mortgage | Bonds of Illinois Central R’ pencil; ‘11 [circled pencil] City of Boston Bonds | if to run about [interl] ten years’6 pencil


William wrote ‘1880’ in error; the year is established by the reference to bonds bought and sold in CD’s Investment book and Account books (see nn. 2 and 3 below).
CD had purchased Pennsylvania Central Railway bonds in 1852; these were sold in January 1881 for £2044 5s. 5d. (CD’s Investment book (Down House MS), pp. 61, 110).
CD bought ‘Pennsylvania R. General Mortgage Bonds’ for £1980 in January 1881 (CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS)).
In 1870 and 1871, CD had purchased ‘Metropolitan consolidated stock’, which paid 3 12 per cent; he purchased more in December 1881 (CD’s Investment book (Down House MS), pp. 136, 166).
The Southampton Dock Company had been formed in 1836 to build docks in the port; it continued to manage the docks until 1892, when ownership passed to the London and South Western Railway Company (Roussel 2009, pp. 12, 17).
The notes are for CD’s reply of 3 January [1881].


Roussel, Mike. 2009. The story of Southampton Docks. Derby: Breedon Books.


Discusses possible investments.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 75)
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12392G,” accessed on 4 March 2024,