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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Varenne Reed   12 January 1863

Hayes Rectory | SE

Jan 12. 1863

My dear Mr Darwin

I am much obliged to you for your cheque which reached me safely.1 I am very sorry to hear you consider Horace unfit for School for years!2 & for his own sake, but I quite miss them when they do not come and shall therefore be delighted to have him as often as he is able.3

With our united best wishes | I remain | yours very sincerely | G V Reed

G V R | Jan 12./63 | £13〃2〃6


Reed, rector of the nearby parish of Hayes, Kent, tutored the younger Darwin boys before they attended Clapham Grammar School. A payment of £13 2s. 6d. for ‘Two Boys’ is recorded in CD’s Classed account book (Down House MS), dated 9 January 1863; it represents the fees for Leonard and Horace Darwin from 6 October 1862 to 6 January 1863. Although Leonard had started at Clapham Grammar School in January 1862, he was sent home in June suffering from scarlet fever, a condition from which he was convalescent throughout the summer and autumn. Consequently he returned to Reed for the remainder of the year (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Charles Pritchard, 17 June [1862]). See also Moore 1977, and the letter from Emma Darwin to William Erasmus Darwin, [3 February 1862], in DAR 219.1: 70.
CD’s letter to Reed has not been found. The Darwins’ youngest son, Horace, had been ill for much of the previous year (see Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242); Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Henry Holland, 26 March [1862]; and the letter from Emma Darwin to William Erasmus Darwin, [7? April 1862], in DAR 219.1: 51). See also Leonard Darwin’s ‘Notes on Horace Darwin’, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company Archives, box 3. In January 1863, Horace was 11 years old.
Horace accompanied Leonard to be tutored by Reed between October 1862 and January 1863 (see n. 1, above). However, according to CD’s Classed account book (Down House MS), he was not tutored by Reed again until after Easter 1864. The next payment to Reed was made on 16 August 1864 when he was paid £12 12s. for the period 19 April to 19 July 1864.


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

Moore, James Richard. 1977. On the education of Darwin’s sons: the correspondence between Charles Darwin and the Reverend G. V. Reed, 1857–1864. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 32 (1977–8): 51–70.


Sorry CD considers Horace Darwin unfit for school.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Varenne Reed
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Hayes Rectory
Source of text
DAR 176: 78
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3912,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11