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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   [27 October 1861]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear William

Your jolly letter has delighted us.—2 The irons went some time since to Mr Wood.3 I gave your message to Parslow about the Prize. Town did not win any prize at Sevenoaks, but was high.—4 Tell me whether you mean to write to Mr Lutwege Fletcher.—5 Lord Hardinge is trying to unite Down & the Crays corps; & in this case you will be able to resign captaincy.6 I enclose Sir H. James: he is worth knowing; but he ought to have offered to call on you; as it is, you must call on him.—7

Mamma came home last night with bad headach but she is brisk today: she left Etty very brisk in London.—8 Aunt Catherine is here.—9 Mamma thinks 11d cheap for meat— Your House is an awful sum.—

I do not quite understand about Mr A. Mr H. you & rent of Bank.—10 I have asked Mr. Hacon about your making a will.—

I shd. think the Deed had of course be better kept in your iron-chest.— Mr. A. seems rather bitter against Mr Hacon.

In Haste | Your affect | C. Darwin


Dated by the references to Emma and Henrietta Emma Darwin’s trip to London and to Emily Catherine Darwin’s visit to Down House (see nn. 8 and 9, below).
William’s letter has not been found.
Joseph Parslow, butler at Down House, had won third prize at a Rifle Volunteer Corps musketry event held at Down on 22 October 1861 (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 October [1861]). Daniel Town was a carpenter in Down, (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862). Sevenoaks is a town eight miles south-east of Down.
Charles R. Fletcher Lutwidge. See letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 October [1861] and n. 9.
See letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 October [1861]. The ‘Crays’ are three small villages to the north of Down. Charles Stewart Hardinge was an officer in the Westerham corps of the Kent Rifle Volunteers. The small volunteer units in this area of Kent were eventually amalgamated to form the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Royal West Kent regiment. See Beckett 1982.
CD had written to the surveyor Henry James of Southampton introducing William (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 12 October [1861]).
Emma and Henrietta Emma Darwin had gone to London on 21 October 1861 and Emma returned on 26 October (Emma Darwin’s diary).
Emily Catherine Darwin, CD’s younger sister, stayed at Down House from 25 to 28 October 1861 (Emma Darwin’s diary).
William Darwin had taken lodgings at 1 Carlton Place, Southampton. CD refers to George Atherley, William’s partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, 25 High Street, Southampton, and to William Mackmurdo Hacon, CD’s solicitor. Hacon had represented the Darwins in the legal negotiations preceding the agreement on the terms of William’s contract.


Beckett, Ian Frederick William. 1982. Riflemen form. A study of the Rifle Volunteer Movement, 1859–1908. Aldershot: The Ogilby Trusts.

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.


Discusses affairs at Down and Southampton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 82
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3302,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

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