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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Henry Farrer   15 January 1869

3 Gloucester Terrace | R.P

15. Jan/69

My dear Mr Darwin

You always contrive to send something pleasant. It comes alas! in the midst of much Red Tape which leaves no time for Botany.1 New Ministers laudably attempting economies—many of them, I fear, impossible, give much trouble: almost as much, though more satisfactorily, as expensive & jobbing Ministers.2

Would Mrs Darwin or Miss D. kindly give me one line to say whether I shall send the beautiful French Book your son so kindly lent me back to Cambridge   I heard with much regret that an accident had kept him there.3

Believe me | Most truly yours | T H Farrer

C Darwin Esq FRS


CD’s letter to Farrer has not been found. Farrer was the sole permanent secretary of the Board of Trade (ODNB).
Parliamentary elections had taken place in November 1868; re-elected member John Bright became president of the Board of Trade on 11 December 1868 (The Times, 12 December 1868, p. 6).
Farrer refers to Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin. George Howard Darwin had sent Farrer Traité générale de botanique descriptive et analytique (Le Maout and Decaisne 1868) from Trinity College, Cambridge (Correspondence vol. 16, letter to T. H. Farrer, 26 November 1868 and n. 3).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.


Red tape leaves no time for botany.

New ministry laudably attempting economies.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Gloucester Terrace, 3
Source of text
DAR 164: 51
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6556,” accessed on 28 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17