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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Johnson   31 January 1868


Jan 31 | 1868

My dear Darwin,

I see by the Papers that one of your sons has greatly distinguished himself at Cambridge.1 I know how great the pleasure of this must be to you—& I cannot help writing a line to tell you how glad I am & how much I congratulate you. The natural-hereditary talent of your family is not extinct, but is cropping out in a new direction.

I dare say you know that I have lost a dear Son (Herbert)   He was just ready to go in for his moderations & did so—but could not do what he ought—being at the time too ill to attempt it— if I had only known it.2

I dare say you are still working at your various & interesting pursuits Geology, Zoology &c   You have acquired for yourself a world wide reputation. It must be very pleasant to look back upon your former days of travel.

I hope you are better. Will you never come to Shrewsbury.— where there is now no one of your name?3

Yours | very | sincerely | Henry Johnson


George Howard Darwin was second in the final examination for the mathematical tripos at Cambridge (Cambridge University calendar 1868).
Herbert Johnson matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford in 1864 (Alum. Oxon.). Moderations are the first public examination taken in certain faculties of Oxford University for the degree of BA (OED).
CD’s elder sister, Susan Elizabeth Darwin, was the last member of CD’s immediate family to live in Shrewsbury. She had continued to live at The Mount, the family home, until her death in October 1866.


Alum. Oxon.: Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1500–1886: … with a record of their degrees. Being the matriculation register of the university. Alphabetically arranged, revised, and annotated by Joseph Foster. 8 vols. London and Oxford: Parker & Co. 1887–91.

Cambridge University calendar: The Cambridge University calendar. Cambridge: W. Page [and others]. 1796–1950.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Congratulations on George Darwin’s success at Cambridge

and CD’s world-wide reputation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Johnson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 168: 68
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5824,” accessed on 2 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16