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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   25 March [1868]1

4 Chester Place | R.— Park. N.W.

March 25th

My dear William.

I hardly feel able to express any opinion on so purely a business a point, & which I presume would be much governed by custom between Partners.—2 If I understand rightly, you propose that all extra profits from the union of the two Banks shd go to A.3 until his income is increased to £500 per annum,—that is until death or retirement of senior partner, when you will share all the profits (& this will include the guaranteed £500) according to some fair scale, relatively to your present position. This does not strike me as unfair on your part, for it wd be rather hard if A were always to have the giant’s share of the gain from the union; but he might maintain that it wd not otherwise be worth his while. I shd. have thought that even in pure business affairs one partner wd regard in some degree the interest of his partner.—

You speak of coming to clear understanding; I hope you mean all to be reduced to writing between you & A & new partners; as in so peculiar an arrangement doubt wd be sure to occur. If possible I wd certainly have some experienced Barrister consider well any agreement, as one so constantly sees that various interpretations may be placed on a set of words.— I agree that it wd be worth your while to join for sake of additional partner & future greater profits & a more active concern.— I hope to God it may succeed.—

Could you delicately hint to A to bear your interest as well as his own in mind.

My dear old Fellow | Yours affect | C. Darwin

I am working like a slave to get corrections for an American Edit of the new Book which is printing in hottest haste.—4


The year is established by the address. CD stayed at 4 Chester Place, Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood’s house in London, from 11 March to 1 April 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
The letter concerns the proposed merger of the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, in which William was a partner, with the Southampton Town and Country Bank (see also letter to W. E. Darwin, 21 March [1868]). The merger took place in the following year (see Leonard 1984, p. 34).
George Atherley was the senior partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank.
The American edition of Variation was published in April 1868 by Orange Judd & Co. (see letter from George Thurber, 18–20 April 1868).


Leonard, A. G. K. 1984. Stories of Southampton streets. Southampton: Paul Cave.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Gives his opinion on a business transaction involving WED and the Southampton bank.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester Place, 4
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 126
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6050,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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