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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Alfred Wrigley   9 March 1868

Grammar School, | Clapham. S.

March 9 | 1868

My dear Sir

The last letter received from you respecting Horace, I beg to enclose—1 After its date, came the signal successes of Leonard and George.2 As I received no further intimation respecting Horace, and could discover no ground of dissatisfaction, I assumed, not unreasonably I submit, that your fourth son would continue at the school where his three elder brothers had succeeded so well.3 On receiving Mr Rouse’s letter4 I replied in nearly the following terms—

“Mr Darwin has not informed me that he will remove his son Horace from this School next Easter; or I should with pleasure reply to your enquiries.” By this I intimated that I had not received your decision on a matter which I supposed to be under consideration.

It is from no idle curiosity that I desire to learn the cause of Horace’s removal. On the one hand I have personally—both as Tutor and Master—rendered him all assistance practicable— on the other hand—he is removed at a season when his brothers have acquired high distinction; and when such removal, without cause assigned, neutralises any advantage that might accrue, and unexplained is a censure. I cannot for a moment suppose that this result is intended—but the prejudicial effect is far beyond the loss of one pupil.

I shall be much obliged by your returning the enclosed letter, which I send for the purpose of shewing that the question was, so far as I knew, under consideration—and that it was my duty to write to Mr Rouse in the terms I did until I had received your decision

Believe me My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Alfred Wrigley

Cha〈r〉les Darwin Esqre.


Which letter Wrigley sent is not clear; CD mentioned removing Horace Darwin from Clapham Grammar School in a letter to Wrigley of [September 1867] (Correspondence vol. 15).
Wrigley refers to Leonard Darwin’s success in an entrance examination for the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and to George Howard Darwin’s becoming second wrangler at Cambridge (see letter from Alfred Wrigley, 2 January 1868, and letter to G. H. Darwin, 24 January [1868] and n. 2).
The third brother who had attended Clapham Grammar School was Francis Darwin.
Rolla Charles Meadows Rouse had written to Wrigley to ask for a character reference for Horace (letter to Alfred Wrigley, 7 March [1868]). CD planned to employ Rouse as a private tutor for Horace.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Wants to know why Horace has been removed from school without any notification.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Wrigley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Clapham Grammar School
Source of text
DAR 181: 181
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5999,” accessed on 14 July 2020,

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