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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   3 April 1868


April 3 ’68

My dear Father,

I still have very good hopes of the joining coming to something; in case every other difficulty should be got over; we want to have a good opinion as to whether we can get into difficulties supposing the senior partner goes mad soon after we join, i.e. we want to know something about the provisions (if there are any) in the laws of partnership in cases of lunacy.1

Would Geo. Allen be a good man to put the case before, & if so how could we do it professionally, so as not to give him the trouble of considering the matter for nothing.2

Can you think of anyone else?

I will write about Malvern on Sunday.3

I am certainly better.

Your affect son | W. E. Darwin


CD had been advising William in regard to the proposed merger of the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, in which William was a partner, with the Southampton Town and Country Bank (see Correspondence vol. 16, letters to W. E. Darwin, 21 March [1868] and 25 March [1868]). The merger took place in 1869 (see Leonard 1984, p. 34). There were no specific provisions regarding lunacy in partnership law until the Partnership Act, 1890, section 35a (53 & 54 Vict. c. 39).
George Baugh Allen, a cousin of Emma Darwin (Freeman 1978), practised as a special pleader (a member of an Inn of Court who devoted himself mainly to the drawing of pleadings, and to attending at Judges’ chambers (OED).
William was undergoing the water cure at Great Malvern (letter from H. E. Darwin to G. H. Darwin, [March 1868], DAR 245: 281).


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

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


Discusses how they might enquire about any provisions in the laws of partnership concerning lunacy.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 32)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6089F,” accessed on 2 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)