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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Howard Darwin   6 February [1869]1

Feb 6

My dear George

Perhaps you wd. like to read enclosed letter from Croll. & you can some time return it.— What he means by Gravitation & Heat I do not understand.2

Sir J. Lubbock has been calling here, & he seemed to regret that you had not accepted the Eton proposal, as a grand opening for making a great school scientific; but he agreed that without you felt a decided taste for the work, it wd. not answer.—3 He thought scientific masters wd soon occupy as high & as profitable a place as the classical masters.

Yours affect | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from James Croll, 4 February 1869.
CD evidently enclosed the letter from James Croll, 4 February 1869. Gravitational heat is energy released when masses aggregate, converting their original potential energy into heat energy (see Thomson 1862a). See letter from James Croll, 4 February 1869 and n. 5.
George had recently visited Eton and evidently had been considering a teaching position there (see letter from G. H. Darwin, 6 February 1869). John Lubbock had been a pupil at Eton from 1845 to 1848; he was later critical of the emphasis on classics to the exclusion of other subjects (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 16–17). At Eton, physical science was introduced for the Fifth Form in 1869 (Lyte 1911, p. 529).


Hutchinson, Horace Gordon. 1914. Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.

Lyte, H. C. Maxwell. 1911. A history of Eton College (1440–1910). 4th edition. London: Macmillan.


John Lubbock regrets GHD did not take the Eton post. JL thinks scientific masters will soon occupy places as high and as profitable as classical masters.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 4
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5843,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17