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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   18 May 1823


May 18th. A.D. 1823

Dear Bobby.

If you come at ye time you propose To Wit ye 17th., you will not be able to see anything, for every body will be gone down except a few reading men. The best plan I think will be for me to come down (30th.) & then we will come up for a couple of days or so by ye 1st. of July when the Commencement will take place, that is to say when ye Noblemen & such like take their degrees & every thing is very gay. The difference of expense in staying up till ye 17th. & going down & up, will be rather in my favour, not to mention ye ride. If this plan is not approved of, you must bring up a good supply of money, for by that time I shall not have so much as a brass farthing to buy some broth with when you come starving off ye coach. If it is approved of, you must in your answer to this letter in close a ten pound note to frank me down.1 N.B. both case are ye same to me so suit your own fancy. I have got a few Devils toe nail’s2 for you which are common enough here abouts. P.S. If you come up in July you will fall in with ye Newmarket meeting which inter nos is not half such good amusement as ye Shrewsbury Races. Hensleigh & I went over ye other day in a tilbury & we found it rather stupid, but I have been since on a good horse & found four miles of beautiful turf no mean galloping. It was also some amusement listening to the legs (i.e. black)3 who are upon ye course in swarms, willing to ease ye Cantabs of as much money as they please.—

I have Witherings Botany4 in 4 vol. apropos, I wish you would ask my Father if I shall bring him a copy of “Donns Catalogue of Plants,”5 as there is a new Edition by Linly6 & I have some idea he told me to get him one, th⁠⟨⁠ou⁠⟩⁠gh I am not at all sure.

Vale⁠⟨⁠as⁠⟩⁠. E. Darwin

P.S. Write soon or I will smak your b— —m.

2nd PS. Dont come up in ye boots you had last Christmas.

Tell me what day ye speeches are.7


‘To facilitate the coming and going of (a person)’ (OED).
A local name for a Belemnite.
Withering 1796. William Withering, physician and botanist, was well known for his introduction of the foxglove into the pharmacopoeia.
Donn 1823. A copy of this edition is preserved in Darwin Library–CUL. It has few annotations by CD; a large number are in another hand, probably that of his father, for whom botany was a hobby.
John Lindley. CD’s copies of several of Lindley’s works are preserved at Darwin Library–Down.
A reference to Speech Day at Shrewsbury School.


Donn, James. 1823. Hortus Cantabrigiensis; or an accented catalogue of indigenous and exotic plants cultivated in the Cambridge Botanic Garden. 10th ed., with numerous additions and corrections, by John Lindley. London.

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.

Withering, William. 1796. An arrangement of British plants; according to the latest improvements of the Linnaean system. 3d ed. 4 vols. Birmingham.


Discusses plans for CD to visit Cambridge.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Cambridge ⁠⟨⁠5⁠⟩⁠2
Source of text
DAR 204: 6
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6,” accessed on 29 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1