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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edward Cresy   18 October 1865

Metropolitan Board of Works | Spring Gardens

18 Oct ’65.

My dear Sir,

Our chairman has been asking me what I thought would be a fair allowance to his son Harry at Cambridge to cover everything.1 He has hitherto paid college expenses, bills &c himself, but Harry tells me his father from his antecedents has not the remotest idea of what is really necessary or unnecessary and the Chairman says he would much rather let Harry make his own arrangements if he knew what would be a proper & reasonable sum to allow him— Carpmael tells me he pays the bills himself & gives his son what he wants—2 It has occurred to me that having had the experience of two at Cambridge you would be able to arrive at a very sound conclusion on this knotty point—3 & from what I have the pleasure of knowing of both of them, that neither would be extravagant or in any way likely to give a wrong result—

I was very glad to see George & hope he will look me up at Christmass.4

I was very sorry to hear from him that your health was still so bad but hope you are improving again—5 I must apologise for giving you so much trouble but I know Mrs Darwin or your daughter will kindly take pen in hand & write the figures which you will advise them—6

Yours very truly | E Cresy

Charles Darwin Esq.


John Thwaites was the chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works (Post Office London directory 1865). His son, Henry John Bardwell Thwaites, matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1865 (Alum. Cantab.).
William Carpmael was a civil engineer who worked with Cresy and whose son Ernest matriculated at St John’s College, Cambridge, in October 1863 (see letter from Edward Cresy, 9 June 1865, n. 10).
William Erasmus Darwin, CD’s eldest son, received his BA degree from Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1862; George Howard Darwin matriculated at Trinity College in October 1864 (Alum. Cantab.).
CD had asked Cresy whether he would advise George on his future career (see letter to Edward Cresy, 7 September [1865] and n. 2). George had tried to visit Cresy in September 1865, but found that he was away on holiday (see letter from Edward Cresy, 10 September 1865).
For more on CD’s illness in 1865, see the letter to Asa Gray, 15 August [1865] and n. 12, and Appendix IV.
Cresy refers to Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin.


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

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.


How did CD handle his sons’ expenses at Cambridge?

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Cresy, Jr
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Metropolitan Board of Works
Source of text
DAR 161: 246
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4918,” accessed on 22 January 2021,

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