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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles John Robinson   [1866?]1

Harewood | Ross. Herefordshire

My dear Mr Darwin,

I cannot resist the pleasure of telling you how gratified I have been to hear of your restoration to health.

Your name was mentioned the other night at dinner at the Deanery2 & my neighbour Mr. Herbert—(our County Court Judge)—in answer to my enquiries, gave me the very welcome news.3

I pay him a visit next week in order to meet your old friend Charles Whitley.4

In the few years that have passed since I last had the pleasure of seeing you I have had to endure many sorrows. The loss of my wife in her first confinement &—almost simultaneously—the death of my father & mother—have left me very solitary.5

If I am not wholly forgotten, allow me to offer my kind regards to Mrs. & Miss Darwin as well as to yourself—6 for whom I trust there are many years of health & fame in store.

Yours very sincerely, | Charles J Robinson

I have a small living (Norton Canon) in this county, where I am building a Vicarage house—restoring Church & School7 & otherwise following the ordinary imprudent course wh. my brethren adopt.


The year is conjectured from the references to CD’s improving health and to the dinner at Hereford Deanery. CD’s health had been improving since the end of 1865, an improvement he attributed to treatment by Henry Bence Jones (Correspondence vol. 13, letter to T. H. Huxley, 4 October [1865] and n. 3). Robinson’s informant about CD’s health, John Maurice Herbert, had learned the news of the good effects of Jones’s treatment ‘some few months’ before writing to CD in May 1867 (Correspondence vol. 15, letter from J. M. Herbert, 3 May 1867). The dinner at the Deanery is likely to have taken place some time before the death of Herbert’s friend, the dean of Hereford, Richard Dawes, in March 1867 (see DNB and Correspondence vol. 15, letter from J. M. Herbert, 3 May 1867).
Robinson refers to the Deanery at Hereford.
Herbert, a Cambridge friend of CD’s (Correspondence vol. 1), was a County Court judge on the South Wales circuit from 1847 to 1882 (Modern English biography). See also n. 1, above.
Charles Thomas Whitley had been at Shrewsbury School and Cambridge with CD; he was Herbert’s cousin (LL 1: 166, Modern English biography).
Robinson’s first wife has not been further identified. He later married Emma Harriet Agnes Crocker; they had four daughters by 1881. Robinson’s parents were Eleanor Rocke and Charles Frederick Robinson of Ashcott, near Glastonbury. (Biograph and Review 6 (1881): 144–6.)
Robinson refers to Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin; he had met them and CD at Ilkley, Yorkshire, in October 1859 (letter from Emma Darwin to William Erasmus Darwin, [24 or 31 October 1859] (DAR 210.6: 50)).
Robinson was vicar of Norton Canon, Herefordshire, between 1865 and 1877; on his building and restoration works see Biograph and Review 6 (1881): 144–6.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.

Modern English biography: Modern English biography, containing many thousand concise memoirs of persons who have died since the year 1850. By Frederick Boase. 3 vols. and supplement (3 vols.). Truro, Cornwall: the author. 1892–1921.


Has a small living at Norton Canon.

Will visit Charles Whitley next week.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles John Robinson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Harewood, Ross, Herefordshire
Source of text
DAR 176: 188
Physical description
4pp sketch

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4966,” accessed on 23 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14