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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Price   17 September 1881

My Dear Darwin

I have to thank you for a very kind letter.1 If time served (to you or me) I could amuse you with many forgotten passages in our juvenile life. But, the 4 barrel discharge, Septr 1 “telum imbelle sine ictu”, near Frankwell, you surely never forgot?!2 My Son & Daur. made an attempt to call on you from Wallington lately;3 &, after being out 4 hours, & in 7 difft trains, never got within 5 or 6 miles, & nearly missed their dinner! They thot Down was the name of your house! I shd. not be surprised if you know no more of the route than they did! Pray remember me to Wedgwood; I ought to have written to condole with him, as he must be one of the many who will miss dear old Raz sorely4Multis ille bonis” &c which I hope you keep up.5 Poor Nathan Hubbersty is, I fear, in a very poor way, confined to bed, & his Wife all but blind: he & you had a troublesome journey, after you left me to die at my old home, as seemed likely; Ffestiniog, I think, puzzled you.6 I was, & am, preserved, præter spem, for some purpose; & am now working to show up the unfitness of the Revised Test for national acceptance.7 James Hildyard, in The Rock, is “perfectly astonished” at 24 men for 10 years working to so little purpose.8 I have a touch in Public Opinn Septr 3.9 Your young ones may have time to see what Old Price has to say.

Yours affecty | John Price

Chester | Sepr 17 | 1881


CD had confessed that his memory for ‘small past events’ was poor (letter to John Price, 3 September [1881]). Telumque imbelle sine ictu / coniecit: and he threw a feeble spear to no effect (Latin). Price was quoting from Virgil’s Aeneid 2: 544–5, to signify that the four-barrel discharge had little force. Frankwell in Shrewsbury was the site of CD’s childhood home, The Mount, as well as Shrewsbury School at the time it was attended by Price, CD, and Erasmus Alvey Darwin. (The school did not move to its present location until 1882.)
Elis Price and Mary Elizabeth Price. Wallington is in Surrey.
Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit: he fell lamented by many good men (Latin). Price was quoting from Horace’s Odes 1: 24.
CD had toured North Wales with Nathan Hubbersty in mid-June 1826 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (DAR 158)). Price had hoped to join them, but was so severely ill that he had to return to his parental home in Wales to be nursed by his mother (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from John Price, [July 1826]). Hubbersty died in October 1881; his wife was Eliza Caroline Hubbersty. Ffestiniog is a village in North Wales.
Praeter spem: contrary to expectation (Latin). A revised version of the New Testament was published in 1881. It had been commissioned by the Church of England convocation at Canterbury in 1870, with the aim of adapting the King James version of the Bible to the ‘present state of the English language’ and the ‘present standard of Biblical scholarship’; the committee working on the revision was international and inter-denominational (Hall 1881, pp. 80, 89).
James Hildyard had expressed this view in a letter published in the Rock: a Church of England Family Newspaper, 2 September 1881, p. 618. He signed the letter ‘Ingoldsby’, the name of his college living in Lincolnshire (ODNB). The English New Testament Company consisted of thirty clergymen, though some died and one resigned during the course of the work (Hall 1881, pp. 84–6).
A letter by John Price headed ‘Remarks on St. James’s general epistle, as revised A.D. 1881’, was published in Public Opinion, 3 September 1881, p. 299.


Hall, Isaac H. 1881. The Revised New Testament and history of revision. Philadelphia: Hubbard Bros.


Nathan Hubbersty [of Cambridge days] is very ill.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Price
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 174: 76
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13341,” accessed on 2 March 2024,