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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Higgins   19 June [1852]

Down Farnborough Kent

June 19th.

My dear Sir

I beg to acknowledge & thank you for the Balance of £183 ’ s 4 . d 11 now placed to my account at Mrss Robarts & Co.—1

I should be much obliged if you would be so good, when you have leisure, as to let me hear what you think about my future prospects in regard to Rent. Now that wheat is not quite so low as it was & considering the prices of other products, fifteen per cent seems to me a large reduction, bearing in mind that the Farm buildings are new & that no timber or game is preserved. If the land when purchased was let at a very high rent, of course my remarks are not applicable.— As far as I can hear, 15 per cent is an unusually large reduction. I should like to hear what reduction the great landowners, namely, Ld. Yarborough2 & Mr Christopher3 in your district, have actually made.—

Although I am on principle a free-trader, of course I am not willing to make a larger reduction than necessary to retain a good tenant; on the other hand I shd be very sorry to press hardly on a tenant. Whatever reduction is to be made, I shd. think, (subject to your better judgment) had better, at least before long, be permanent on account of charges on the rent.

Nevertheless I must yet hope that agricultural produce will rise, for I believe prices on the continent, quite irrespectively of protection or free-trade, are below the average.—4 Pray do not until quite convenient trouble yourself by answering this. I will forward your answer to Miss Darwin5 who is interested on this point.

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Your’s very faithfully | Charles Darwin

J. Higgins Esq


The rent paid by CD’s Beesby farm tenant less £5 subscription to Beesby school. The sum of £188 4s. 11d. was recorded on 19 June 1852 in CD’s Classed account book (Down House MS). See also letter to John Higgins, 7 June 1851, and Correspondence vol. 4, letter to John Higgins, 9 May [1850].
Charles Anderson Worsley, Earl of Yarborough.
Robert Adam Christopher, M.P. for north Lincolnshire.
Following the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the abolition of duty on foreign cereal imports in 1849, agricultural prices suffered a decline.
Susan Darwin, who also owned property in Lincolnshire.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Discusses his account and rent reduction. Comments on agricultural prices.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Higgins
Sent from
Source of text
Lincolnshire Archives (HIG/4/2/1/54)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1483,” accessed on 9 May 2021,

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