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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Maurice Herbert   2 January [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

Jan. 2d.—

My dear Herbert

I thank you sincerely for your most friendly letter.—2 I shall have to send at end of week to Athenæum3 & will there get the volume of Poems, which Mrs. Herbert & you have so kindly sent us, & which I have no doubt we shall like much.4 My wife desires to be most kindly remembered to Mrs. Herbert, & she has often regretted that we have been so completely separated. Some few months ago I was looking over a few old & valued letters which I keep, & amongst others there were some of yours & which were so pleasant that they quite warmed my old heart.5 I began a letter to you on the strength of old remembrances, but as I was interrupted I afterwards destroyed it, having nothing particular to say, except what I am sure you will believe, that I shall keep to my dying day as unfading remembrance of the many pleasant hours (especially at Barmouth) which we have spent together.—6

My health will, I fear, never be fully reestablished, & though anyone would think me a strong man, this is very far from the case; & hence I never go from home, so that I much fear there is little chance of our being able to visit you at Rocklands,7 though I am very Sure it would give us much pleasure.— If ever you have time to spare when in London it would give us real pleasure, if you could pay us a visit here.—

With our united very kind remembrances to you both, My dear Herbert | Your old & affecte. friend | Charles Darwin


The year in which the letter was written is conjectured from an 1855 watermark (Carroll 1976).
The letter has not been found. Herbert had been one of CD’s close friends during their undergraduate days at Cambridge University. See Correspondence vol. 1.
CD used his London club as an address for the delivery of books and parcels.
The volume of poetry has not been identified. In 1877, Herbert edited a book of his wife’s poems entitled Poems by the late Mary Anne Herbert (London).
For the extant correspondence between CD and Herbert, see Correspondence vols. 1 and 2.
In the summer of 1828, CD spent two months with Herbert and Thomas Butler in Barmouth on an ‘Entomo-Mathematical expedition’ (Correspondence vol. 1, letter to W. D. Fox, [30 June 1828], and Appendix I).
Herbert’s home in Herefordshire. Since 1847, Herbert had been a county court judge on the Herefordshire, Radnorshire, and Monmouthshire circuit (Alum. Cantab.).


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

Carroll, P. Thomas, ed. 1976. An annotated calendar of the letters of Charles Darwin in the library of the American Philosophical Society. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources Inc.

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


Thanks JMH for book of poems.

Recalls early days together. He cannot visit due to health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Maurice Herbert
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.121)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1814,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6