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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Roderick Impey Murchison   3 June [1855]1

Down Farnborough Kent

June 3d

Dear Sir Roderick Murchison

I am very much obliged to you for having thought of me in this out of the way place, & for your kind invitation for the 20th at the Trafalgar Hotel: I should so much enjoy coming, that I will accept it, though I am bound to say that my health is so uncertain, that I may fail, but certainly I will come if I possibly can.2

With many thanks (& for your Card for the 9th & 23d)3 | Pray believe me | Yours sincerely & obliged | Charles Darwin


The date is conjectured from CD’s reference to an invitation for the ‘20th’. Murchison had invited a number of geologists and naturalists to ‘eat whitebait with me at Greenwich on Wednesday the 20th’ to celebrate his appointment as director of the Geological Survey (Geikie ed. 1875, 2: 192). The first such day after Murchison’s appointment in May 1855 was Wednesday, 20 June. The Post Office directory of the six home counties 1855, lists no Trafalgar Hotel in Greenwich but has a Trafalgar Tavern in Park Row. The Trafalgar Tavern was the traditional location for ‘whitebait dinners’ and much used by naval officers.
CD probably attended the dinner (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 [June 1855]).
According to Geikie ed. 1875, 2: 192, Murchison held several soirées during May and June, described as ‘bow, tea, negus, ice, and turnouts’.


Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Accepts invitation for the 20th.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13831,” accessed on 17 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5