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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   6 October [1858]


Oct 6th

My dear William

I enclose £20.— Please acknowledge it by return of Post.—1

This evening all your goods will be sent off by Snow per Railway to care of Porter Christ. Coll.—2

You will have to give 5s or 7/6 to servants at Mr Wilson’s.—3

Mamma with Lizzie have just started for a lark of a night in London:4 I think Mamma has got much more larky since we run two horses. It is certainly wonderfully pleasanter & the new harness looks gay beyond anything. The man now does very well with the black & I will not part with her.—

Tomorrow morning Franky begins to go to Mr Reed’s, a great event for him.5

Your feat of so soon finishing my Journal is very grand.6 Uplifted coral-islet or atolls have been examined & do consist of circular ring of hills with a flat central plain.—7 With respect to Galapagos, I suppose all the productions came, many of them very long ago, from America; & hence their general American character; but that they have since been modified by my principle of Natural Selection.—

Thanks about Donkeys, look when you are in Cambridge & about striped Horses.—

How curious we shall be to hear all about you when settled at Cambridge. Phillipe Peters8 was here the other evening to take home a gang of children from a party, & he remarked that most men seemed to prefer rooms in College to Lodgings.—

Farewell | My very dear old man | Your affect Father | C. Darwin

I am just going to call on Mr Phillips, who has come to reside at Down Hall.—9 Mr Lloyd is going to let his House.10


CD recorded the £20 paid to William in his Account book (Down House MS) on 6 October 1858. The cover associated with the letter indicates that it was sent via registered post (DAR 92: 19).
George Snow ran the weekly carrier service between Down and London.
William was preparing to leave the home of his tutor, William Greive Wilson, for Christ’s College, Cambridge. The Michaelmas term began on 11 October 1858.
An entry in Emma Darwin’s diary on 6 October 1858 reads: ‘came to London with Lizzie’. Elizabeth Darwin had been unwell during September (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 [September 1858]).
Francis Darwin, aged 10, was being sent for tutoring to George Varenne Reed, rector of Hayes, Kent, near Down. Reed had previously tutored George Howard Darwin. See J. R. Moore 1977.
William had evidently asked CD about the structure of uplifted coral islets. CD had not discussed this point in his discussion of the formation of coral reefs (Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 465–82).
Phillip Hall Peters. Members of the Peters family are occasionally mentioned in letters from Emma Darwin to William. In February 1859, she wrote, ‘Mrs Peters’ mother is dead so I think they will go as they are very much in debt in the village’ (DAR 210.6). They are not listed in the Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859. Emma reported in 1860 that the Peters family had moved back to Down ‘looking as impudent as ever’ (DAR 219.1: 32); in the 1861 census the family comprised Elizabeth Peters, a widow aged 51, her sons William Peters, 23, brewer, and Philip Hall Peters, 21, working at the War Office, and her daughter Mary Matilda, 14, as well as her married daughter Elizabeth Lydia Edwards, 26, and Elizabeth’s husband, William Walker Edwards, 36, a physician (Census returns of England and Wales 1861 (The National Archives: Public Record Office RG9/462/73/7–8). Mrs Peters’s mother was Elizabeth Veale (Somerset parish records, 1538–1914 \P\com.d/2/1/2 (, accessed 6 September 2022) transcribed as Veil); she died in February 1859, aged 75 (London Church of England parish registers DL/T/041/027 (, accessed 6 September 2022)).
William Waker Phillips lived at Down Hall farm (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859).
Oliver W. Lloyd lived in Petley’s Cottage, Down (ibid.).


Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Moore, James Richard. 1977. On the education of Darwin’s sons: the correspondence between Charles Darwin and the Reverend G. V. Reed, 1857–1864. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 32 (1977–8): 51–70.

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.


Sends £20. Family news.

Answers WED’s questions about CD’s Journal of researches: Galapagos "productions" all came from America, but "they have since been modified by my principle of Natural Selection".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 92: A19–21
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2334,” accessed on 19 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7