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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Frederick Ransome   7 February 1866

Rushmere Lodge | Norwood Lane

Feby 7th/66

My dear Sir

I am duly in rect. of your favour of yesterdays date—1 I had intended running over to Down to see you personally on the subject of your communication—but the death of another near relative prevented my doing so—

I am most unwilling to trespass longer upon your kind indulgence but under present circumstances I am compelled to ask you to allow the payment of the principal sum to be postponed a short time longer and allow me to pay you Interest thereon—

You will see by the enclosed circular,2 the very satisfactory way in which my Invention is gaining ground with the public and we have just taken the premises alluded to and are about immediately to commence the erection of important works—for which upwards of £16.000 have already been subscribed but in order to secure this desireable result I have been compelled to accept shares and debentures to a large amount—and it would be extremely detrimental to the Interests of our Company were I at the present moment to attempt to dispose of them in the open market—3

I think you will agree with me that the names of Mr. Bessemer4 and so many of his personal friends—are a guarantee for the high estimate formed of the value of our property but pending the development up to a point at which I can receive dividend upon the large Stake I hold—my Income is so limited—that it is difficult for me to spare even £100 without disposing of some of my Shares—which at the present time would be extremely undesireable—

Will you kindly consent to hold the Acce. a little longer allowing me to pay Intt thereon until I can more conveniently redeem it? and upon hearing from you to this effect I will immediately send you Cheque for Interest to present time.

Believe me my dear Sir | very faithfully yours | Fredk. Ransome

C. Darwin Esq


The circular has not been found.
Ransome had invented an artificial sandstone in 1848 (Modern English biography). He was patentee and general manager of the Patent Concrete Stone Company (Post Office London directory 1866). The company did not go into full production until 1867 (Engineering, 28 June 1867, pp. 671–2).
Henry Bessemer had invested in Ransome’s company, which was located next to Bessemer’s new steel works in East Greenwich, London (Engineering, 28 June 1867, pp. 671–2).


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.

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.


Is compelled to ask for postponement of payment of principal. His invention is gaining ground. Will pay interest until payment is made.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frederick Ransome
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Norwood Lane
Source of text
DAR 99: 26–7
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5150,” accessed on 9 July 2020,

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