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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   31 January [1881]

My dear W.

I shd. think that the Preference 5 per cent stock of the Southampton Docks would do very well, but you can settle as you think fit, for it concerns you all very much more than me.—1 I have had to refund 30£ for Duty & £50 goes to Miles, but you can invest about the £1000, only there will be so much less to divide next year.2 We had a note this morning from Leonard at Chatham, & he seems going on very well: he says that he has just invested £800!3 I am very glad that you approve of Romanes article:4 some have thought it vulgarly strong, but I & others did not think so,—though perhaps a few terms had better have been softened— I received this morning a remarkably nice letter from Wallace about the Pension—5 When you have a bit of leisure look to Petioles of Acacia & remember that I want to see the specs. & know which end was buried.6 I am now wholly rewriting my first chapter on habits & think that I shall show that worms have much bigger souls than anyone wd suppose—7

Dear. old William—goodbye | C. Darwin

Down Jan. 31.—


In 1880, CD had started distributing his surplus income each year to his children (see letter to the Darwin children, 3 January 1881). £30 duty was paid on the £1000 bequest from Elizabeth Wedgwood; £50 was paid to Samuel Miles, who was Elizabeth’s butler from 1871 (CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS)).
Leonard Darwin was an instructor in chemistry and photography at the School of Military Engineering in Chatham; his letter has not been found.
George John Romanes’s highly critical review of Samuel Butler’s Unconscious memory (Butler 1880) was published in Nature, 27 January 1881, pp. 285–7.
Alfred Russel Wallace had been awarded a civil list pension (see letter from A. R. Wallace, 29 January 1881 and n. 1).
In Earthworms, CD discussed the direction in which leaves and petioles were drawn into burrows by worms; on the petioles of Robinia pseudo-acacia (black locust or false acacia), see Earthworms, pp. 81–2.
Earthworms, pp. 8–54; on the senses and mental powers of worms, see Earthworms, pp. 19–35.


Butler, Samuel. 1880. Unconscious memory: a comparison between the theory of Dr. Ewald Hering, … and the ‘Philosophy of the unconscious’ of Dr. Edward von Hartmann. London: David Bogue.

Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.


Discusses investments,


and an article by Romanes [see 13029].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
JA 31 81
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 173
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13034,” accessed on 30 March 2023,