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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   [9 December 1858]


Thursday Evening

My dear Gulielmus.

Go & have at once a good & deliberate look at my old rooms & if you then prefer them make the change, though it is a confounded bore that money shd. have been wasted over papering &c.— I much misdoubted whether at time you had chosen wisely. I think what you say about your present stairs being idle & noisy a real & good reason for your changing. I know well, far too well, what temptations there are at Cambridge to idleness; so I am sure these ought to be avoided. I do hope that you will keep to your already acquired energetic & industrious habits: your success in life will mainly depend on this.— So much for preachment, but it is a good & old established custom that he who pays may preach; & as I shall have to pay if you move, (as I rather advise) so I have had my preach.1

Mamma is gone to London about her false teeth & returns tomorrow probably with Aunt Susan.2 At Christmas we shall have all Hensleigh, Uncle Eras. I hope, & all the Leith Hillites, & we shall in that case be 21(!) gentlemen-souls in the House & 31 souls of all kind!3

I go to London for 3 days next Tuesday & take Etty who will return the following week. On Monday 20th I have to attend Magistrates meeting4 & Georgy comes home, so will you sleep that night in London & bring Etty home next day.— I shd. not suppose that you will go to Shrewsbury this vacation: & is it not very short? I am glad you are going to Rugby; I presume that you will have a stay in London during the vacation.—

I think it would be pretty to write to Wilson again;5 but you might I shd. think wait till vacation-time. If you change rooms, try & get all paid at once. Remember to let me hear in time if you want money for journey &c. I have been rather bad of late, & hence have been a worse correspondent, even than usual: Mr. Williams has ordered me a jolly prescription of two glasses of wine at dinner & he wished me to take three!6

GoodBye | My dear old man | Your affect. Father | C. Darwin


William did choose to change his rooms in Christ’s College to those formerly occupied by CD.
CD refers to Hensleigh and Frances Mackintosh Wedgwood and their children; Erasmus Alvey Darwin; and Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, Josiah Wedgwood III, and their children. Josiah Wedgwood and his family lived at Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, Surrey.
CD had been appointed a county magistrate in 1857 and continued to serve until the time of his death (J. R. Moore 1985, p. 467). According to the Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859, the magistrates’ meetings for the Bromley area were held at Locks Bottom, Farnborough, on the third Monday of every month.
William Greive Wilson had been William’s tutor.
‘Williams, E. A. Esq Surgeon Bromley’ is listed in CD’s Address book (Down House MS). Williams and Morgan were surgeons in Bromley High Street (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859).


Moore, James Richard. 1985. Darwin of Down: the evolutionist as squarson-naturalist. In The Darwinian heritage, edited by David Kohn. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press in association with Nova Pacifica (Wellington, NZ).


Approves of WED’s moving into CD’s old rooms [at Christ’s College]. Gives fatherly advice on Cambridge’s temptation to idleness. Christmas plans.

Health poor of late.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 92: A18, A25–8
Physical description
ALS 7pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2379,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

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