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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Salt & Son   26 November [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Nov. 26th

My dear Sir

I enclose a cheque for the amount of your account, with many thanks for all the trouble you have been so good as to take for me.—

I believe that your view is quite correct, that out of the £20,000 lent to Major Owen,1 £5000 is my own not under Trust. All my wifes share of the late Mr. Wedgwoods property has long ago been invested in the names of my brother & Mr Jos. Wedgwood; but I presume part could be transferred to me. There is £4339 in Leeds & Bradford Railway and £320 (value as formerly estimated, & now of less value) in Monmouth Canal & Railway, which could be transferred to me (for it is quite unimportant to me the value of these shares being a little under the 5000£), if the advantages to be derived from the whole £20,000 being under Trust, exceed the cost of the transference of the above shares. I have not the least idea what is the cost of such transference or on the other hand of the advantages you allude to.—2

Will you, therefore, be so good as to settle for me whether such transference had better be effected; & if you so advise me, I will at once write to Mr J. Wedgwood & my Brother.— The former will be at Shrewsbury about 10th or 12th of next month.—

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely & obliged | C. R. Darwin Mr Salt & son.


William Mostyn Owen of the Royal Dragoons, the eldest son of the Owen family of Woodhouse. CD had been a frequent visitor at Woodhouse before the Beagle voyage. The £20,000 for the mortgage was lent from ‘Emma’s trust property’ with interest at 334 per cent beginning 19 August 1850. CD’s Investment Book (Down House MS), pp. 33, 86, shows regular half-yearly payments by until 20 August 1881. After William Mostyn Owen’s death in 1868, these were made by his brother Arthur Mostyn Owen, who inherited Woodhouse.
In August 1851, the £5000 referred to was transferred to Emma’s trust fund, and various shares, including those mentioned in the letter, were transferred from the trust fund to CD, to offset this sum, and then sold (see CD’s Investment Book (Down House MS), pp. 33, 37–8, and Correspondence vol. 5, letter to Josiah Wedgwood III, 20 November 1852). However, it was subsequently decided that the £5000 had originally been part of Emma’s trust monies and not, as previously thought, CD’s, and consequently, the shares that had been transferred to CD should have remained in the names of Emma’s trustees. The mistake was rectified by further share exchanges in 1853 (CD’s Investment Book (Down House MS), p. 33).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Inquires about financial matters.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Salt & Sons
Sent from
Source of text
Shropshire Archives (SA D3651/B/47/1/35)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1372,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4