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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   21 March [1868]1

4 Chester Place | R. P.   N.W.

March 21.

My dear William

I will mention your note to no one, not even to Mamma.—2

I agree that you could not ask Lubbock.—3

I first thought of Hensleigh W. who has acted as arbitrator, was Barrister & Magistrate & formerly Chairman of Price’s candles, Bread Coy &c.—but being a near relation would be I suppose fatal.4

Could you & Mr Atherley ask Henry Bonham Carter: he is Barrister & I think Secretary of a great Insurance Coy.—5

By far the best man would be George Norman, as Director of Bank of England & of high standing; but then I doubt whether I could ask such a favour.—6 If the arbitrator has to go into accounts I certainly could not.— If he & co-arbitrator were to meet in London & to agree over a statement previously admitted by both parties as correct, then I presume the trouble to the Arbitrators would not be great, & I think I could ask it, as an extraordinary favour.

I will keep subject in mind; but I do not think it likely that any other name wd occur to me.—

I hope to God it may succeed.— Let me hear how things go on— —

Yours affecty | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 25 March [1868], and by CD’s stay at Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood’s house in London from 11 March to 1 April 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
William’s note has not been found, but probably concerned the terms of a possible merger of the bank in which he was a partner (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 25 March [1868] and n. 2). CD had asked if he could speak ‘under sea[l] of secrecy of the affair’ with Emma Darwin (letter to W. E. Darwin, [15 March 1868]).
John Lubbock was a partner in the family bank, Robarts, Lubbock & Co. (ODNB).
Hensleigh Wedgwood read for the chancery bar, but never practised; he was police magistrate for Lambeth from 1832 to 1837 (DNB). Price’s Patent Candle Company had premises in Battersea, south-west London; the Bread Patents Company was in 10 Paternoster Row, London (Post Office London directory 1868).
George Atherley was William’s partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, Southampton. Henry Bonham-Carter was called to the bar in 1853, but gave up practice in 1861; he was managing director of the Guardian Fire and Life Assurance Company (ODNB).
George Warde Norman was a resident of Down and a family friend of the Darwins (Freeman 1978).


DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Suggests possible arbitrators to act in a business transaction involving WED.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester Place, 4
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 125
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6037,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

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