skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   1 June [1861]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 1st

My dear Lubbock

Many thanks for your note.2 I told William that if the proposition came to anything, he would have to join immediately, & I left the acceptance entirely to his good sense, & he agreed. I am sure he would work hard, for througout life whatever he has done, he has done energetically. He would go down to Southampton at any time, direct from Cambridge; though perhaps it would be best for him on the road to see you & come here. This term ends about 20th & no doubt he could get leave of absence for rest of term; & then he will have kept all his terms, & next year he probably could run up for three days & take his degree, for he has a natural wish (though in fact useless) just to take a degree after having completed his time & worked pretty hard.3 You can, if you like, forward this note to Mr Atherley;4 & I pledge my word not to mention Mr Atherley’s name to anyone, not even to my son William, until the affair has progressed

Dear Lubbock | Ever yours truly | C. Darwin

P.S. | I think if the affair progresses the best plan will be to send to William per Telegraph to come to London & I would meet him there & have some talk with him & then he could go down to Southampton.


Lubbock’s letter has not been found.
William left Cambridge without a degree in the summer of 1861. Having met the residency requirement of attending three terms for three years, he entered for the mathematical tripos examination of 1862 and gained a degree (Historical register of the University of Cambridge; F. Darwin 1914, p. 20).
George Atherley was a partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, Southampton.


Darwin, Francis. 1914. William Erasmus Darwin. Christ’s College Magazine 29: 16–23.

Historical register of the University of Cambridge: The historical register of the University of Cambridge, being a supplement to the Calendar with a record of university offices, honours, and distinctions to the year 1910. Edited by J. R. Tanner. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1917.


William Darwin can go to Southampton any time should the banking proposition come to anything. CD is sure he would work hard.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 263: 42 (EH 88206486)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3172,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9