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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   [7 September 1881]1

6 Q. A. St.

Wednesday p.m.

Dear Father,

I got down to York well eno’, tho’ not very flourishing. I found that Horace & I had a room togr. at the hotel. F. Balf. & Dohrn were there & we had a pleasant dinner. Next morning I strolled round the minster & afterwards went down to the Section room. Our paper didn’t come on till noon.2 I felt so tired before I began that I hardly knew how I shd. get on, but when once I was up all that went. I spoke it all without any preparation & altho’ I omitted whole acres it took 34 of an hour. I did better than I expected tho’ I felt it might have been better. However I was complemented afterwards in a way wh. makes me think it was a success, & no one left the room & numbers came in so that during the latter part there was quite a large audience. We didnt get much good out of the discussion as there was a tremendous crush of papers to follow.

Horace & I started this morning at 7 & I got here at noon to find a lot of letters & things to do.3

I have just been at Herries & I find the land at Lincoln is part of the Cleatham estate.4 There is a curious old memorandum of no value which I have brought away & will show you on Sat.

I am going to stay on till Sat. Sir W. T. will be here tomorrow & Wm. & I must meet on Friday night to settle as far as we can before he goes.5

Pray remember me to Mr. Rich.6

Your affec. son | G H Darwin

My cold is bad still tho’ improving a little bit.7


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to G. H. Darwin, 8 September [1881]. In 1881, the Wednesday before 8 September was 7 September.
George Howard Darwin and Horace Darwin were in York to attend the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; they dined with Francis Maitland Balfour and Anton Dohrn, and George visited York Minster. Both Horace and George were members of the British Association committee appointed for the measurement of the lunar disturbance of gravity; George’s report on behalf of the committee was published in the Report of the 51st meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at York, pp. 93–126 (G. H. Darwin 1881c).
George was an executor of the will of CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, who died on 26 August. George was staying at Erasmus’s house at 6 Queen Anne Street, London.
Herries, Farquhar, Chapman & Co. were a banking firm at 16 St James’s Street, London (Post Office London directory 1878). Erasmus Alvey Darwin had inherited properties in Lincolnshire from his father, Robert Waring Darwin, but it was unlikely they were part of the Cleatham estate because that had not been owned by the Darwin family since 1762 (Worsley 2017, pp. 40 and 71).
William Thomson. William Erasmus Darwin was Erasmus Alvey Darwin’s other executor (see letter from G. H. Darwin, 28 August 1881). William and Sara Darwin were about to leave for a trip to the Continent (in a letter dated 14 September [1881], Emma Darwin thanked Sara for her postcard from Rheims (DAR 219.1: 147)).
CD and Emma Darwin visited Anthony Rich in Worthing from 8 to 10 September 1881 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
George had been so unwell with a sore throat the Sunday before he went to the British Association meeting that he feared he could not ‘cook himself up enough to go’ (letter from Emma Darwin to Ida Darwin, [6 September 1881] (DAR 258: 632)).


Darwin, George Howard. 1881c. On an instrument for detecting and measuring small changes in the direction of the force of gravity. Report of the 51st Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at York (1881): 93–126.

Worsley, Peter. 2017. The Darwin farms: the Lincolnshire estates of Charles and Erasmus Darwin and their family. Lichfield: Erasmus Darwin Foundation.


Gives an account of the reception of his paper at York [BAAS meeting].

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St, 6
Source of text
DAR 210.2: 92
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13321,” accessed on 26 March 2023,