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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   6 February 1869

Amateur Dramatic Club [Cambridge]


My dear Father,

I have looked thro’ every number of the Philosophical Mag. for the last year & cannot find any translation of a paper by Delaunay; And Strutt who takes it in has not seen any thing and so I can do no more unless you can get another reference.1 Strutt has been here since I have been up—but has gone away today as the Fellows’ meeting is over. I asked him about the Magnetic Storm business & he seemed to consider that any effect that cd be produced by the Sun’s energy in retarding the cooling of the earth must be utterly insignificant.2

My visit to Eton was a great success; I got down there are 11.30 & went & saw Rawlins, who shewed me all the lions.3 I don’t wonder at Etonians liking the the place, it is so divine. At 2 we went to luncheon (or dinner) & there I met 3 other masters 2 of whom I knew a little thro’ Cambridge, & the 4th. was a nephew of Browning’s & of the same name.4 He is one of their shining lights & was an extremely pleasant man— he actually offered to give me a bed when I came there again.5 I had heard of him before thro’ Colvin.—6

After lunch I went & saw Browning’s house & a brother of a Cambridge man in it. And then R. & I took a loaf round Windsor Castle & I came back to London dined at Uncle Ras’7 & came on here.

I suppose Frank has written to you & told of his sprained ankle. He is just beginning to hobble about, & he is reading v. hard. Pryor seems quite indefatigable in coaching him.8

Last night Jim turned up at 8.30 & came & tea’d with me & Strutt dropt in & had tea   After tea L. & I talked such mathematics that it drove Jim away to Frank’s.9 Jim went off this mg. at 1. after loafing about all the A.M.

That letter that was forwarded to me was from Mr. Hamilton telling me that the Solicitor Mr. Hollams was willing to take me for 6 mos.10

Bristowe11 told me that I had better not go till after 6 mos. with a conveyancer. If you don’t think it giving too much bother I shd be v. much obliged if you wd write to Grove12 (at once) & ask him whether he thinks it wd be good for me to go to a Solicitors taking into consideration the fact that I am going to Equity & that in all proby. the Solicitor would treat me just like any other clerk.

I saw the bust & am just a little disappointed13

The college has paid me a scholar’s dividend. Pollock a co-fellow with me told me that he had’nt got one & so I believed him14

Yrs | G H Darwin

Feb. 6. 69


George refers to the Philosophical Magazine and to Charles Eugène Delaunay. CD was probably looking for the translation of an article by Delaunay, ‘Sur l’hypothèse de la fluidité intéieure du globe terrestre’ (Delaunay 1868a). The article had been translated in Geological Magazine as ‘On the hypothesis of the internal fluidity of the terrestrial globe’ (Delaunay 1868b). CD may have become aware of it from an article by David Forbes, ‘The nature of the interior of the earth’, that appeared in the April 1869 issue of Popular Science Review; Forbes referred to Delaunay but did not give a citation (D. Forbes 1869, p. 127). For more on Delaunay’s hypothesis of the earth’s fluid core, see Brush 1979, pp. 239–40. George also refers to John William Strutt.
Charles Lyell had suggested that the magnetic force of the sun might contribute to the earth’s heat, but James Croll had argued the amount of electrical energy would be ‘trifling’ (see letter to James Croll, 31 January [1869] and n. 8, and letter from James Croll, 4 February 1869).
See letter to G. H. Darwin, 6 February [1869] and n. 3. George refers to Francis Hay Rawlins, who was a pupil at Eton at the time.
Oscar Browning, an assistant master at Eton, was not, in fact, related to the poet Robert Browning (Browning 1910, p. 6).
Browning ran a boarding-house for Eton scholars from 1862 (ODNB).
George refers to John Hollams and possibly to Alfred Douglas Hamilton; he was considering studying law.
George may refer to the bust of CD by Thomas Woolner. CD sat for the artist in 1868 (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 November [1868]).
Dividends made up of fines, rents, and other dues were paid by colleges to fellows (Brooke ed. 1988–2004, 3: 136–7). George refers to Frederick Pollock.


Browning, Oscar. 1910. Memories of sixty years at Eton, Cambridge and elsewhere. 2d edition. London: John Lane; New York: John Lane company.

Brush, Stephen G. 1979. Nineteenth-century debates about the inside of the earth: solid, liquid or gas? Annals of Science 36: 225–54.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Delaunay, Charles Eugène. 1868a. Sur l’hypothèse de la fluidité intérieure du globe terrestre. Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des Sciences 67: 65–70.

Forbes, David. 1869. The nature of the interior of the earth. Popular Science Review 8: 121–30.

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.


Has inquired about magnetic storms. Any effect that could be produced by the sun’s energy in retarding the cooling of the earth would be utterly insignificant.

Tells of his visit to Eton.

Is uncertain about next steps to take for a legal career.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.2: 6
Physical description
ALS 8pp inc?

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6604,” accessed on 16 July 2024,

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