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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Josiah Wedgwood III   21 October [1852]

Down Kent.

Oct. 21.

My dear Jos.

I am sorry to trouble you about odious money matters; but Langton1 has frightened me about N. W. Railway shares2 & I am going to sell all out.3 Emma holds £920 stock & 9 shares £25 all paid up. If you do not object I shd prefer your asking my friends Mss Stokes & Hughes 28 Threadneedle St to sell (to whom I have written) & place the money to your account at Coutts, till I can make up my mind to reinvest.

If you prefer your Banker’s Broker it makes the difference of double commission: I will bear any risk in Mss Stokes breaking in interval of putting the money to your account; but of course you must do, just as you like.—

Will you kindly give the order as soon as you conveniently can. I can assure you I take this step with groans & sighs.

Your’s affectly | C. Darwin


The London and North Western Railway was the largest joint-stock corporation in Britain, which, since its foundation in 1846, had pursued an aggressive, expansionist policy. In 1852 the company engaged in a bitter dispute with other major railways over the right to serve several Midland towns, especially Birmingham and Shrewsbury, and irregular financial and political intrigues required that the company’s negotiations should go before Parliament for arbitration: the costs were taken out of the company’s profits for the early part of 1852 and stock values crashed dramatically. In November the company announced that it had merged with the Midland Railway (Railway Times 1852).
CD’s Investment book (Down House MS) records that the London and North Western Railway shares in Emma Darwin’s trust were sold on 25 October 1852 at a loss of £587. CD, who had purchased 1000 shares at a cost of £1220 in June, sold his own shares on 22 October at a loss of £205 15s. 9d.


Informs JW of his intention to sell his N. W. Railway shares.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Josiah Wedgwood, III
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.10: 17
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1488,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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