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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   [10? September 1862]1

Cliff Cottage [Bournemouth]


My dear William

As I am not a metereologist, my advice is not good for much. Observations made in so inland a county would, I shd. think be valuable.— on the other hand, observations have been accumulated in very many cases to a useless extent, chiefly because they have been made without reference to any theory.— I shd. fear if the instruments were not compared with some standard instruments, they would be of no scientific value.

The observations would be of much more value, if the necessary corrections have been calculated, e.g. the height of Barometer corrected for temperature.— The address of the London Metereological Socy. might be found in the Directory, & a letter might be written to Secretary,2 asking him whether the Socty. would like to possess the observations, describing their nature.

Possibly Mr Glaisher of the Royal. Observ. Greenwich would answer a letter on this subject.—3 This is all the advice which I can give

The patients are going on capitally.—4 I hope you will come soon here again5 | Good Bye | C. Darwin


The date is conjectured from the references to the health of Emma and Leonard Darwin (see n. 4, below), and to William having visited Cliff Cottage, Bournemouth, where CD, Emma, and Leonard stayed in September 1862. According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), William first visited them there on 6 September, and again on 12 September; the intervening Wednesday was 10 September. However, William visited them again on 20 and 27 September.
The British Meteorological Society was located at 25 Great George Street, London; the society’s secretaries were James Glaisher and Charles Vincent Walker (Post Office London directory 1861).
James Glaisher was head of the magnetic and meteorological department at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (DNB).
Leonard and Emma Darwin were recovering from scarlet fever (see letter to John Lubbock, 2 September [1862] and n. 4).
See n. 1, above.


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.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Gives advice as to whether certain meteorological observations would be worth making.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 104
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3704,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

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