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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma and Charles Darwin   13 May 1865


May 13th. 1865

In case of my death, I desire that a yearly annuity of £50 be paid to J. Parslow for his faithful services & friendship, as long as he may live; or in case of his becoming unfit for service.—1

In case of my wifes sudden death, with no proper provision having been made for this annuity being paid, We desire our children to pay conjointly this annuity.—2

Ch. Darwin | Emma Darwin


Joseph Parslow was the butler at Down House; he began in CD’s service in Upper Gower Street, London, circa 1840 (see Browne 1995). Parslow retired in 1875 on a pension of £50 a year and the rent of his house, Home Cottage, Back Lane, Down (Freeman 1978).
The document is folded in a small envelope bearing the words, ‘Memorandum | Annuity for J. Parslow | May 1865.’


Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin. Voyaging. Volume I of a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


CD and ED bequeath an annuity of £50 to J. Parslow [the Darwins’ butler].

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin; Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.10: 26
Physical description
DS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4832,” accessed on 28 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13