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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [13 October 1881]1

L. H. Place


My dear Father,

I return the valuations; we have looked at it again, and it is quite right as to the calculations.2 I think as regards the division of the Trust money I should have reckoned that your £10,000 would be divided in the proportion of 7. to 12. This would reduce the daughters shares by about £450.3

There is one thing that will reduce Bessy’s share below Henrietta’s, namely that Henrietta’s Trust fund of £5000 N. E Stock will be reckoned at £5000 while it is really worth £5700—4

Please do not reply

We had a very pleasant visit at Cambridge, but I am afraid household matters were worrying Ida rather.5 We find Aunt Caroline very well and full of talk.6

There is one clerical error in your circular about the division of your property.

You say that the total is £282,000 including the Trust fund; it should be excluding the Trust fund.7

Goodbye dear Father | Your affect son | W. E. Darwin

I hope all bothers like that of Mrs Pearce you will hand over to us & decline to look at.8

I was very sorry to miss Mother & Bessy


The date is established by 13 October 1881 being the only Thursday between William going to Cambridge on 8 October 1881 (see letter from W. E. Darwin, [7 October 1881] and n. 2) and his letter of 20 October 1881, when he writes from home.
William had asked for the two valuations of CD’s property in his letter of [7 October 1881]. He had calculated CD’s financial status in September prior to CD’s making a new will (see letter to G. H. Darwin, 8 September [1881]), but later, worried that he might have made a mistake, asked George Howard Darwin to help him check the calculations (see letter from W. E. Darwin, [7 October 1881]).
William was looking at a later version of CD’s circular to his children concerning their future inheritance (see n. 7, below). This version has not been found, but for the earlier draft, see the letter to the Darwin children, 16 September 1881.
Elizabeth Darwin and Henrietta Emma Litchfield. According to CD’s Investment book (Down House MS), p. 134, CD settled £5000 of North Eastern Railway debenture stock on Henrietta on her marriage.
William and Sara Darwin had visited Horace and Ida Darwin in Cambridge. Ida was eight months pregnant.
Caroline Wedgwood; William’s letter was written from her home, Leith Hill Place in Surrey.
This had been correctly stated in the earlier draft of CD’s circular for his children (see letter to the Darwin children, 16 September 1881).
Elizabeth Pearce was Erasmus Alvey Darwin’s housekeeper at the time of his death; she was having difficulty in finding work (letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, 2 October [1881] (DAR 219.9: 273)). Pearce had also been a servant at Down House and kept in touch with the Darwins. On 13 September 1881, Emma Darwin wrote in a letter to Henrietta Litchfield, ‘Mrs Pearce is come & I must go & do a bit of friendship’ (DAR 219.9: 270). The bother relating to Pearce probably related to her estranged husband, James Pearce (see letter from G. H. Darwin, 15 October 1881 and n. 6). On 7 January 1882, CD recorded a payment of £26 under the heading ‘Annuity for year by George to Bessy Pearce’ in his Account books–banking account (Down House MS).


Discusses division of Trust. Is concerned Bessy’s portion will be smaller than Henrietta's. Had a pleasant visit in Cambridge. There is a clerical error in the division of CD’s property.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Leith Hill Place
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 103)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13340G,” accessed on 4 June 2023,