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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   11 October [1866]1

Q A.

Oct 11

Dear Charles

Caroline was going to have an examination of the Plate list as it almost seems as if there were 3 tureens or else Susan forgot all about the matter.2 She says that of course if it cannot be cleared up the Tureen belongs to you. The other matters I have attended to. £100 is left to each of your children except William & Henry will write to him about the Deeds of Claythorpe being sent to him.3

I took possession of all the letters & papers in the Bureau as I considered that they belonged to us as Exōrs & an immense big box they fill— Caroline wishes to have a letter or two of Dr D—4 I will keep them for a time for the chance of having energy to look at them & then you can have them— There is a pedigree among them, & there is also a pedigree among Susan’s papers which Caroline was going to copy & then send to George.5 There were in Susan’s desk a pair of scissors & smelling Bottle marked with the names of Henrietta & Lizzy which I pointed out to Charles.6

I never saw anything so miserably ill as Caroline is looking   She is tired of her present doctor & I recommended Paget & she is going to consult him— She seems to suffer most severe pain—7

Yours affec.| E D


I asked Henry to send you Richmonds pictures of self & Emma.8


The year is established by the reference to Susan Elizabeth Darwin and her estate (see n. 2, below).
Susan Darwin had died on 3 October 1866 (letter to J. D. Hooker, [4 October 1866], n. 1). In an earlier letter discussing the disposal of Susan’s effects, Erasmus mentioned that a soup tureen might already have been sent to CD (see letter from E. A. Darwin, 7 October [1866]). In a codicil to her will, Susan had bequeathed a silver soup tureen to Caroline Sarah Wedgwood. No other tureen is mentioned in the will (will of Susan Elizabeth Darwin, Probate Registry, York).
William Erasmus Darwin, CD’s eldest son, inherited the farm at Claythorpe, Lincolnshire. Susan had inherited the property from her father, Robert Waring Darwin, who had purchased another farm, for CD, at Beesby, near Claythorpe, in 1845 (see Correspondence vol. 3). Henry Parker was one of the executors of Susan’s estate (see letter from E. A. Darwin, 7 October [1866] and n. 5).
‘Dr D’ is probably a reference to Erasmus Darwin, but may refer to Robert Waring Darwin. CD and Erasmus Alvey Darwin were the executors of Robert Waring Darwin’s will (will of Robert Waring Darwin, Department of Manuscripts and Records, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth).
CD’s son George Howard Darwin was interested in genealogy and collected information on the family. See letter from E. A. Darwin, [before 20 February 1866] and n. 2.
The references are to Henrietta Emma and Elizabeth Darwin. Erasmus probably meant to write ‘Henry’ instead of ‘Charles’.
Caroline’s health had suffered after the death of another sister, Emily Catherine Langton (see letter from E. A. Darwin, 19 February [1866] and n. 6). The reference is to the surgeon James Paget.
George Richmond made portraits of CD in 1839 and 1840, of Emma Darwin in 1840 and 1842, and of Erasmus Alvey Darwin in 1850 (Lister 1981, p. 156; see also frontispieces to Correspondence vols 1 and 2).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Lister, Raymond. 1981. George Richmond: a critical biography. London: Robin Garton.


Disposal of Susan’s effects. Legacies to CD’s children. EAD has taken the letters and papers and asked Henry [Parker] to forward the George Richmond pictures of CD and Emma.

Caroline looks "miserably ill".

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St
Source of text
DAR 105: B48–51
Physical description
ALS 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5238,” accessed on 27 May 2022,

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