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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Alfred Wrigley   [September 1867]1

My dear Dr. W.—

As experience in an Examination, of the same nature, as those to be ultimately passed, must be very useful to any young man, in curing him from nervousness & as a stimulus to exertion, I wish my son L. to try for W. this winter.2 From what I gather, he has small chance of success, but he assures me that he will not feel discouraged by failure.—3

I may take this opportunity of informing you that for various considerations, I wish to send H. after Xmas to a private Tutor.4 But I hope that you will not suppose that I feel dissatisfied with Clapham. On the contrary I always rejoice that my 4 sons have been under Dr. P & your care;5 & I cordially thank you for your [wonderful] K.6 to them & myself—

Believe me my dear Dr. W | Yours very f. | C. D

P.S. My son H. has a strong desire to make greater progress in Math; therefore if you can assist him in this respect. I shd. feel much obliged.—7


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Alfred Wrigley, 7 March [1868]. In the 7 March [1868] letter, CD wrote that he had written to Wrigley ‘half a year ago’ saying that he wished to place Horace with a private tutor after Christmas.
CD refers to Leonard Darwin, and probably to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. See also the letter from Alfred Wrigley, 2 January 1868, on Leonard’s success in examinations for entrance to the Military Academy at Sandhurst.
For more on Leonard’s education and academic ability, see J. R. Moore 1977.
Horace Darwin.
Horace and Leonard were both pupils at Clapham Grammar school in south-west London; their brothers George and Francis were former pupils. Charles Pritchard was the school’s former headmaster, Wrigley the current one.
K.: probably kindness.
Wrigley had been professor of mathematics at the Royal Military College, Addiscombe, Surrey.


Moore, James Richard. 1977. On the education of Darwin’s sons: the correspondence between Charles Darwin and the Reverend G. V. Reed, 1857–1864. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 32 (1977–8): 51–70.


CD wishes his son Leonard to try for University this winter and intends sending Horace to a private tutor.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Wrigley
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 31
Physical description
AdraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5660,” accessed on 11 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15