skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   [29 September 1826]

4 Chapel St West. Curzon St.

My Dear Bobby,

From shere want of employment I write to tell you my plans about lectures1 which I have fixed much to my own satisfaction. Luckily I have none very early, Dr Chambers2 on Practice of Physick from nine to ten alternate days: as much time as I like in the dissecting rooms till one. From 1 to 2 demonstrations by Cæsar Hawkins3 & from 2 to 3 Mr Bell4 on Anatomy &c. In the evening on alternate days Mr Brodie5 on Surgery This gives me two hours one day & four the next which I think I shall be able to go through with.

I am ashamed to say that I have already given up my thoughts of graduating next spring, but it is by Dr Hollands6 opinion who is just at present my oracle.

I find that John Bull & the Age7 are published the same day & hold precisely the same opinions only that ye Age is ten times the most scurrilous of the two & I have therefore taken in that alone. Do you approve?

As soon as you get to Edinburgh if it does not prove too troublesome I’ll match the London climate against yours and see which has most drizzle. To make a fair estimate we’ll consider a London fog equivalent to a Scotch mist.

Liston8 has of course been very popular amongst you rustics. I was at the Hay-market on Tuesday & heard several exclamations at the thinness of the house in consequence of his departure. I was reminded of you also by a s⁠⟨⁠nu⁠⟩⁠ffy old gentleman who in the most interesting part of the play unfortunately dropt all his snuff and was obliged to leave instantly.

Tell Hubbersty I delivered his parcel and also ask Price if he knows Fred. H— —’s address as I should be glad to have it and tell him to write to me if he is a Christian I have sold my insects for two thirds & am to have some of Smiths Botany9 in exchange— I yesterday saw a cryptogamic work but instead of engravings the actual dried plants. They were as dear and very much inferiour to engravings in my humble opinion

Good Bye. | E. D.


Erasmus had enrolled in the Great Windmill Street School of Anatomy, London.
Charles Bell taught anatomy at the Middlesex Hospital and the Great Windmill Street School of Anatomy. His Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting (Bell 1806) first aroused CD’s interest in the subject (Descent, Introduction, p. 5). A copy of the third edition (Bell 1844), is in Darwin Library–CUL.
Benjamin Collins Brodie.
Henry Holland, a successful, fashionable London physician. A distant relative and friend of the Darwin family.
The Age was founded in May 1825. It called itself ‘the leading weekly Conservative journal’ and rivalled John Bull in scandal-mongering and popularity. Publication ceased in October 1843.
John Liston played regularly at the Haymarket Theatre from 1805 until 1830. His most famous part was that of ‘Paul Pry’ at the Haymarket, 13 September 1825.
James Edward Smith’s English botany (Smith 1790–1814) dealt with all known British plants except the fungi.


Bell, Charles. 1806. Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme.

Bell, Charles. 1844. The anatomy and philosophy of expression as connected with the fine arts. Preface by George Bell, and an appendix on the nervous system by Alexander Shaw. 3d edition, enlarged. London: John Murray.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Smith, James Edward and Sowerby, James. 1790–1814. English botany; or, coloured figures of British plants, with their essential characters, synonyms, and places of growth. 36 vols. London: the author [Sowerby].


Describes the lectures at medical school in London.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chapel St West, 4
H SE 29 1826
Source of text
DAR 204: 16
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 34,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1