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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   1 [and 2] August [1861]1

2. Hesketh Crest | Torquay

Aug 1st

My dear Lubbock

I sent my Boys hunting for Lepisma, but they only brought an Isopod with long tail.2 I will myself go soon & hunt, but I have had a bad day or two. By the way the cause was a too long visit to Wollaston, which at the time I much enjoyed, but paid for.3 He has a very nice little house & is working hard; but his life is sadly too solitary. He has not a naturalist to associate with. He seems pretty strong, but looks fearfully delicate.—

I pity you about S. & W. but one always feels those sorts of blunders most oneself.4

I will send 3 guineas soon to Essay Fund:5 I ought to give 5, but I feel too stingy & with my party of 18 money goes like water. My Brother, who is here, will subscribe & I daresay will give five guineas.—6

I have had another awfully long letter from my Lawyer, who says the other Lawyer does not understand him: confound them both;7 I suppose they will agree soon. The points seem to me of very little importance.

Pray do not say that if the life does not suit William you shall reproach yourself: nobody could possibly have been kinder than you have been or given more cautious advice.—

My wife & Etty are gone for a little tour of a week to the higher lands of Dartmoor8

Goodnight | My dear Lubbock | Ever yours | C. Darwin

P.S. | I grieve to say that since above was written I have had a long letter from Mr Hacon. He wants very much to see you again, & I have venture to say that he might call on you tomorrow (Saturday) or Monday & get your opinion.— My judgment being almost worthless, on these points makes the negotiations wonderfully difficult.— God knows whether Mr Hacon is too particular; but without your aid it is clear to me the whole affair will be smashed; & I cannot but fear that Mr. Atherley’s patience (& yours) will be utterly exhausted. Yet it seems that it would be madness on my part to tell my solicitor he is giving trouble for no good, as I cannot understand the force of the difficulties.—


The extended date is suggested by the postscript, which CD obviously wrote on the morning of Friday, 2 August 1861.
Lepisma is a genus of bristletails (Thysanura) commonly known as the silver-fish; it is a primitive insect frequently found under logs in woods. Lubbock was engaged in a study of the Thysanura, which he published in 1862 (Lubbock 1862).
Thomas Vernon Wollaston, a friend of both CD and Lubbock, had recently moved from London. He lived at Kingskerswell, Newton Abbot, near Torquay (DNB).
The reference may be to an error in Lubbock 1860, a paper describing fifteen new species of Entomostraca. Each of the descriptions gives the locality where the specimen was taken, often listing ‘S. lat.’ and ‘W. long.’. However, no erratum for this paper was printed.
CD’s Account book (Down House MS) has an entry dated 1 August 1861 for ‘Essays and Reviews’ to the amount of £3 3s. (three guineas). A subscription fund was being raised to defend the authors of Essays and reviews. In December 1861, two of the clergymen who had contributed essays, Henry Bristow Wilson and Rowland Williams, were tried for heresy by the Court of Arches. They were found guilty and suspended from their livings. For further information on the controversy surrounding Essays and reviews, see Crowther 1970 and Ellis 1980. See also Correspondence vol. 9, Appendix VI.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin remained with the Darwins in Torquay until 22 August 1861 (Emma Darwin’s diary).
The reference is to the ongoing negotiations to secure William Erasmus Darwin a partnership with George Atherley in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank. CD’s solicitor, William Mackmurdo Hacon, had questioned some of the contractual provisions drawn up by Atherley’s solicitor. See also letter to John Lubbock, [2 August 1861].
Emma and Henrietta Emma Darwin spent a week touring the Dartmoor area of Devon (Emma Darwin’s diary).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Crowther, M. A. 1970. Church embattled: religious controversy in mid-Victorian England. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Ellis, Ieuan. 1980. Seven against Christ. A study of "Essays and reviews". Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill.

Essays and reviews. London: John W. Parker. 1860.

Lubbock, John. 1860. On some Entomostraca collected by Captain Toynbee. [Read 7 June 1860.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 23 (1860–2): 173–91.


Has visited T. V. Wollaston, who is working hard but lives too solitary a life.

There are further legal complications with William Darwin’s partnership and CD’s solicitor wants to call on JL.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 263: 49 (EH 88206493)
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3224,” accessed on 21 July 2024,

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