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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Gold Appleton   24 April [1862]1

Dear Mr Darwin

I venture to send this to you by my brother Mr William S. Appleton, who leaves us for a summer trip to Old England.2 Though very young he has mature tastes & ways. He is passionately fond of antiquities and if he has the luck to see your Roman camp will be in delight.3 But he chiefly will devote himself to our national & family records with you.4 He is sure to have ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ charming summer, and I ⁠⟨⁠do⁠⟩⁠ not know a better way to see England than just the one he proposes, to hunt up odd bits & ends in out of the way places.—

We are here all impatiently waiting for the continuation of your wonderful book and I think you will find it difficult to excite a greater interest now than did the first. It was something wonderful and Endures yet—5

I am hoping to find some of the “sweet sap” to send the no longer very young people I fear. It will remind them of long ago, and of our maple fruits.6 I ⁠⟨⁠do⁠⟩⁠ not venture to write you about the war. It is a most painful calamity, but we all now firmly believe we could not have avoided it. The South in infatuation and evil-mindedness was determined to ruin us if we did not resist. We shall whip them and probably break up slavery but it requires very philosophic feelings to witness such “a struggle for life” without dismay.7

We feel we have gained at the North whatever betide a higher character and a loftier principle by our sacrifices and endurance.

My best remembrances to Mrs Darwin and the children & believe me | faithfully, | T. G. Appleton—

24th April



The year is established by the reference to William Sumner Appleton’s visit to Britain (see n. 2, below).
Appleton refers to his half-brother William Sumner Appleton who left the United States for Europe in April 1862; he spent the summer and autumn in Britain before returning home in November 1862 (C. C. Smith 1903).
The reference is probably to the earthwork known as Cæsar’s Camp, which is situated about two miles from Down at Holwood Hill, near Keston (see Page ed. 1908–32, 1: 398–9 and 3: 119–21). The earthwork was supposed by some to be the Roman station Noviomagus, and a club had been formed, called the Noviomagian Society of Antiquaries, for its exploration (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862). The site was located in Holwood Park, the estate of Robert Monsey Rolfe, Baron Cranworth, with whom the Darwins were on visiting terms (see letter from R. M. Rolfe, 28 November 1862).
Appleton’s sister, Mary, was married to Robert Mackintosh, Emma Darwin’s cousin (F. W. Gregory 1975).
In the introduction to Origin, CD had explained that the book was an abstract of a larger work that he expected to complete in ‘two or three more years’ (Origin, p. 1).
Appleton subsequently sent the Darwins a present of some American maple sugar (see letter from Emma Darwin to T. G. Appleton, 28 June [1862]). He had formerly visited Down House in October 1849 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)), and had sent a box of maple sugar for the Darwin children in 1852 (see the letter from Emma Darwin to William Erasmus Darwin, [23 April 1852], in DAR 219.1: 4).
The reference is to the American Civil War; Appleton alludes to Origin (see Concordance, pp. 725–6).


Concordance: A concordance to Darwin’s Origin of species, first edition. Edited by Paul H. Barrett et al. Ithaca, N.Y., and London: Cornell University Press. 1981.

Gregory, Frances W. 1975. Nathan Appleton: merchant and entrepreneur 1779–1861. Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Page, William, ed. 1908. The Victoria history of the county of Kent, vol. 1. London: Archibald Constable.

Page, William, ed. 1932. The Victoria history of the county of Kent vol 3. London: Archibald Constable.

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.

Smith, Charles Card. 1903. Memoir of William Sumner Appleton, A.M. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 2d ser. 17: 516–31.


Sends letter via his brother visiting England. Awaits continuation of CD’s "wonderful book", which excites much interest.

Comments on Civil War which he expects will end slavery.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Gold Appleton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Boston Mass.
Source of text
DAR 159: 111
Physical description
ALS 4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3517,” accessed on 2 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10