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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   19 November 1867

Southampton & Hampshire Bank. | Southampton

Nov 19 1867

My Dear Father,

My succession duty comes to £217. & I shall save £14.10 by paying at once.1 Times will be bad this Christmas in the banking way, or I should simply pay it off with the rent & have done with it. I have been thinking of the following plan.

As you are generous enough to pay 12 my Overend loss—namely £105—suppose you were to pay me that now, and also to invest £100 in me at 6 per Cent to be paid by this time year. I would sooner borrow the £100 at 6 per Cent, as I otherwise do not fairly save the £14.10 as discount from the succession office. & if you did not mind doing this; the simplest plan would be, to pay me £100 for Overend, & lend me £100 to paid by this time year.2

I shall have to pay you about £175 as dividend after Dec 1st.. I have heard nothing further as to Penarth.3 I am delighted to hear 1200 copies are sold, and hope you are up to your mark for London4

Your affect son | W. E. Darwin


The succession duty probably related to William’s inheritance from his aunt Susan Elizabeth Darwin, who had died in October 1866.
On 11 May 1866, the closure of a large lending firm, Overend, Gurney & Co., a joint-stock company with limited liability, led to a commercial panic in London and other financial centres, with a number of banks closing their doors and other firms temporarily suspending payments (Annual register (1866), pp. 44–5). In the event, CD gave William £200 (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to W. E. Darwin, 20 November [1867] and n. 2).
CD did not record any dividend in 1867 on his investments in the Penarth Harbour and Dock Railway Company (CD’s Investment book (Down House MS), p. 97).
No letter to William about the advance sales of Variation has been found, but see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to J. V. Carus, 14 November [1867] and n. 6. CD visited London from 28 November to 7 December 1867 (Correspondence vol. 15, Appendix II).


Suggests his father lend him the money to pay WED’s succession duty and thereby secure a discount.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 31)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5682F,” accessed on 9 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)