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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Knyvett Leighton    [3 June 1829]

My dear Charles,

I do not know whether you take much interest in the trials of strength, which are about to take place between the sister Universities,—but, if you are inclined to take this opportunity of exploring our “classic shades” I shall be most happy to be your chaperon to Henly for the boat race,1 & to the Magdalen cricket ground for the cricket match on the following day—& afterwards I will be your cicerone thro’ the lions of Oxford & its neighbourhood. I cannot promise you much fun, as I am living here in a very unsettled manner, having for some time broken up my College establishment, but I can give you board & lodging, if you will be content with Bachelor’s fare.

I hear the Cantabs are very confident of success, & there has been so much dissension among our crew & mismanagement among the directors, that I think there is every probability of your being triumphant. However I have sufficient exprit de corps to support my colours, &, if any of your betting characters are inclined to bet 3 to 1 on the Cambridge Heroes, I shall be obliged to you if you would take the bet for me as far as 5£ will go—

I trust I shall receive a favorable answer— Write immediately & tell me the day & hour you mean to come here & I will have all things in readiness for you— Yrs. very truly | F. K. Leighton. *S 2

Magd:[alen] Coll: [Oxford]



The first Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race took place at Henley on 10 June 1829. Oxford won easily.


Invites CD for the boatrace and the cricket matches, and to see Oxford. Suggests Cambridge will win, but he will bet up to £5 on Oxford at 3 to 1.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Knyvett Leighton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Magdalen College Oxford
Oxford JU 3 1829
Source of text
DAR 204: 36
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 65,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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