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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   6 [June 1861]



My dear William.—

I enclose the £20.1 No news about your affair.2 I wish to God there was.— We clearly cannot go to Torquay on 10th.— I had long talk with J. Lubbock, who urged Mr. ——3 to prompt action. I see, if affair progresses, there will be much negotiation & very great difficulties of all kinds. But we have a true friend & good adviser in J. Lubbock.— It seems that the great Houses of Robarts & Lubbock joined on mere verbal agreement!4 It seems that much must be left to honour & mutual good feeling; & there is this protection that partners are like man & wife & it hurts both their reputations to part.— I shall be so sorry if you lose your Welch tour:5 but all is utterly dark.—

Good Bye my dear old sensible fellow, who will be the guardian of the Family. | C. D. Second note

Since writing, I have received enclosed. Lubbock urges us to meet him at their Bank on Saturday.6 Therefore I shall go up tomorrow (Friday) to 6 Queen Anne St.—7 You come there either Friday night or in good time on Saturday morning; for I shall start at eleven oclock to go to City.

I cannot understand as —— is now negotiating with another party, why he wants to see us: but I suppose he has got some loophole to escape. Anyhow it is worth the trouble.— I was glad to hear that Mr —— is a University man—8

When we meet I will tell name & place; but I had better not break my word yet.—

I wonder whether it will come to anything!

Yours | C. D


My dear L.

Many thanks for yr note. The gentn I mentioned in my last letter has asked for a few days to think the matter over which I have of course conceded. Therefore perhaps Mr D. wd let the proposition as regards his son remain in abeyance for a few days   I am not in such great haste as Mr D. in his note supposes, but if it proceeds I shd like to have it settled by or as soon as possible after the 1st July.

As regards the years trial it wd hardly do. as it wd not obviate my reasons for taking a partner at once, the motive for which I think you are aware of. As time however is every thing what say you to the plan (under any circumstances) of Mr D. & his son meeting me on Sat in London to talk matters over, & we cd then mutually judge of each other. & he wd have more time for consideration in the event of the affair progressing.


There is an entry for this sum in CD’s Account book (Down House MS) on 6 June 1861 that reads ‘Advanced to William (private)’.
The ‘affair’ concerned the possibility of William’s joining the Southampton and Hampshire Bank. See especially the letter to W. E. Darwin, [25 May 1861].
George Atherley was a partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank. CD began to write the name but deleted it: he had promised John Lubbock to keep Atherley’s name in confidence (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 1 [June 1861]).
In 1860, the bank directed by John William Lubbock, of which John Lubbock was a partner, was amalgamated with Robarts & Co. of Lombard Street, London to form Robarts, Lubbock & Co. (Banking almanac 1860, 1861).
William had planned to go to Wales on a walking tour (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 9 May [1861]).
The enclosure is a copy in Emma Darwin’s hand of a letter from George Atherley to John Lubbock. For the text of Atherley’s earlier letter to Lubbock, see the enclosure with the letter to W. E. Darwin, 1 June [1861]. The banking house of Robarts, Lubbock & Co. was located in the City of London.
The home of CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, where CD usually stayed when in London.
Atherley was admitted pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1837.


Banking almanac: The banking almanac, directory, yearbook and diary. London: Richard Groombridge; Waterlow & Sons. 1845–1919.


Writes regarding the possibility of banking partnership for WED; second note arranges a meeting between the involved parties in London.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
JU 6 61
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 69–70
Physical description
ALS 4pp, encl 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3178,” accessed on 2 October 2023,

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