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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the Darwin children   16 September 1881

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

Sept. 16. 1881.—

(Circular for my children.)

It seems to me adviseable that you all should know, as far as may be, what property you will have after your mother & my deaths. After due deliberation it seems to me fit not to give sons & daughters equal shares. My father left his property as 12 for Boys to 6 for girls, & this was approved of by Mr Salt, a very sagacious solicitor.1 Your grandfather J. Wedgwood, left as 12 Boys to 8 girls, & this is the scale adopted by Mr. Norman.—2 I have taken an intermediate scale of 12 to 7. Your mother’s property is divided equally between boys & girls, & so has been your Aunt Catherine’s.3 William4 estimates my own property (including Erasmus’ share, & Land)5 at £282,000 excluding £35,000 trust. According to the scale of 12 to 7, & including your mothers property & that from Aunt Catherine, each of my sons will have about £53,000, & each daughter about £34,000. The current prices, on which my property has been valued by William yield between 312 & 334 per cent.

Lastly I have resolved to divide at once Erasmus’ property in accordance with the above scale of 12 to 7. This property, (excluding the land near Lincoln & the house in Q. Anne St, which I keep for myself)6 is valued by William at £76,250.

I shall continue to divide the overplus of my income as before, but on the scale of 12 to 7.7 I shall however, probably give away more for scientific purposes, so that a less sum will probably be divided amongst you.—

Charles Darwin


Robert Waring Darwin’s estate was inherited by his two sons, CD and Erasmus Alvey Darwin, and his four daughters, Marianne Parker, Susan Elizabeth Darwin, Caroline Wedgwood, and Catherine Darwin. Thomas Salt was a solicitor in Shrewsbury.
Josiah Wedgwood II left his estate to his four sons, Josiah Wedgwood III, Hensleigh Wedgwood, Henry Allen Wedgwood, and Francis Wedgwood, and his three surviving daughters, Emma Darwin, Elizabeth Wedgwood, and Charlotte Langton. Mr Norman was probably George Warde Norman.
Catherine Langton (née Darwin), in her will, dated 9 January 1866, left her dividends to her husband, Charles Langton, and asked that the remainder of her property be sold in order to pay for bequests to her family, friends, and servants.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin, who died on 26 August 1881, had bequeathed half his personal estate and all his real property to CD (see letter from G. H. Darwin, 28 August 1881).
Six Queen Anne Street was Erasmus’s London home; he also had land in Lincoln (see letter from G. H. Darwin, [7 September 1881]).
CD had previously divided his overplus so that each of his daughters received two-thirds of the amount allotted to each of his sons (see Correspondence vol. 27, letter to the Darwin children, 21 February 1879).


A circular letter on the distribution of his money at death and the division ofErasmus’ estate.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13340,” accessed on 16 June 2024,